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TU1103 : Operation and safety of tramways in interaction with public space

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Monday 18 March 2013

Scope of TU1103 COST Action

As an introduction to our Action’s progress and in order to reach the necessary consensus about our field of discussions, we launched during our 1st meeting a debate about the definition of safety and the distinction between safety and security, and identified what we are going to consider as being “Light Rail Transit”, as far as urban insertion is concerned. Here are the conclusions.

What do we understand by safety?

In this Action, we are not talking about security (counter terrorism, vandalism, etc), nor about health hazards due to pollution and similar. Safety deals with the risk related to accidents and injuries, and the precautions taken to reduce this risk.

Tram Vs LRT...

In the title of the Action, we use the term “trams” but in the content, we write LRT. So, the main question is, what are we going to consider here as being “Light Rail Transit”, in relation with our Action and urban insertion ?

The Management Committee decided that :

  1. Our Action will look at urban fully guided public transport systems running predominantly above the ground;
  2. The Action is concerned with all LRT systems - but not with heavy rail nor trolleybuses -, and with their operation and planned insertion within urban, suburban, and mixed zones;
  3. More precisely, our scope covers all fully guided systems which share public space with road/bicycle/pedestrian traffic; so we do not deal with metro systems (subways), which do not run in public space nor cross roads;
  4. The whole tram system, including infrastructure, is important.

In conclusion, all good ideas or bad experiences should be shared in this Action within these limits.

Collisions, rail/rail accidents & derailments

We have found a consensus to focus on tram interaction with other road users (pedestrians, car drivers, cyclists...) in urban spaces, as planned by our proposal and confirmed in the MoU.
So we will look at accidents and near misses as recorded, between LRT vehicles and other users of public space.

During the debates, the question arose whether we would include collisions between rail vehicles, or collisions with trackside equipment, or derailments…
However, for many reasons, we decided not to include these types of incident, because:

  1. This subject is wider than just trams and LRT; it also concerns heavy rail, subways and metros;
  2. We would need to verify if this subject is being or has already been treated by other groups (not only from COST);
  3. We cannot study collisions between rolling stock and derailments without looking at rail points and the signalling system;
  4. This item also concerns track design or wheel/rail interface;
  5. European standards on collision and crash resistance already exist (EN 15 227);
  6. Last but not least, the main reason is that our Action has been validated by COST Office without this subject; so we can’t change it...

Synthesis


In this Action, safety deals with risk and precautions taken to reduce the level of risk related to accidents and injuries, such as urban design insertion and measures which can be taken within the institutional framework. The Management Committee confirmed that our Action will look at urban fully guided public transportation which shares public space with road/bicycle/pedestrian traffic; therefore we will look at accidents and near misses as registered. The whole tram system, including infrastructure design and equipment management, is important. All good ideas or bad experiences should be shared in this Action within these limits. This Action focusses on the interaction between trams and other road users (pedestrians, car drivers, cyclists...) in urban spaces, but does not cover collisions between rail vehicles or with trackside equipment, or derailments. Thus, we only consider accidents which are a consequence of an urban insertion issue, so we do not take into account accidents caused by track or signalling

Partners involved in the action