- European Rail Safety Network

ERRAC - The European Rail Research Advisory Council

In general, the European railway system is regarded as an intrinsically safe Transportation system since it is not guided and controlled by the driver but by the infrastructure in terms of the track and by a safe signaling system. Only in the rare cases of failures of these systems imposed by external sources may the occupants be injured.

The industry experts continue to work towards the achievement of the ERRAC 2020 goals.

The European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) is an advisory body to the European Union (EU), representing Member States, the railway manufacturing and supply industries, rail operators, infrastructure managers, users, academia, environmental and urban planning organisations, and the EU. Its primary mission is to establish and carry forward a Strategic Rail Research Agenda (SRRA) that influences all stakeholders in the planning of research programmes, particularly at a national and EU level. The SRRA provides an outlook for innovations in the railway industry to meet the demands of Europe's citizens over the next 20 years. It focuses on five thematic areas:

  • Interoperability.
  • Intelligent mobility.
  • Global rail safety and security.
  • Environment.
  • Innovative materials and production methods.

It is anticipated that the successful realisation of ERRAC's SRRA will have the direct safety benefits reported in Table 2.1. These targets should also be met whilst fulfilling the Railway Business Scenario 2020, which anticipates the rail mode capturing twice the freight and passenger market share, and three times the freight and passenger volume compared with the 2000 levels.

Safety Measurement Present Situation (2000) Impact of present measurements (2020) Impact of ERRAC measurements (2020)
Number of European Railway Passenger Fatalities per Year 150 130 (-10%) 75 (-50%)
Total Number of European Railway Fatalities per Year 900 500 (-30%) 200 (-75%)
The target impact of ERRAC's Strategic Rail Research Agenda (SRRA) on the European Rail Safety scene.

This web site fits primarily into the "global rail safety and security" theme and is designed to facilitate cross industry collaboration and continuance of the Network of Excellence established by the thematic network Trainsafe. It also be of relevance to other areas by promoting. For example, a new energy absorbing structure might use innovative environmentally friendly materials and/or production methods.

The aim of this Network of Excellence is to promote and enhance the safety of the rail system. This is achieved by bringing together rail operators, suppliers to the rail industry, and academia in order to:

  • Encourage information exchange on safety-related issues such as technological innovation, and standards, specifications and codes of practice.
  • Identify, prioritise and initiate future research activities.

This website is seen as the tool for such communication.

Networking in whatever manner is necessary because the European railway system is undergoing some major changes:

  • The separation of infrastructure management activities from those of train operation.
  • The opening-up of the rail network to new entrants.

As such, there is a real danger of critical knowledge being dispersed and lost through the fragmentation of the industry. This will put increased pressure on a rail network already faced with new challenges in terms of interoperability, intermodality and the harmonisation of standards. Furthermore, the European Rail Research Advisory Council's (ERRAC's) "Strategic Rail Research Agenda" presents some challenging targets for passenger and freight capacity increases by 2020 (doubling of market share, tripling of market volume) whilst simultaneously delivering safety improvements. TRAINSAFE provides a mechanism for addressing these issues by providing a platform for communication, co-ordination and discussion at a European level in order to raise the overall levels of safety within the railways.

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