Improving Safety at Railway Level Crossings



The objective of SafeRail is to improve the safety at Rail Level Crossings (RLC). In terms of accident prevention, RLC are demanding spots since two disparate transportation systems are intersecting (road, rail respectively) and none of them completely controls the situation.

Brief Description

SafeRail is a study project aiming at improving safety at Railway Level Crossings (RLC) by the use of space assets. SafeRail will question the entire life cycle of a RLC. Planning, design, authorization, construction, maintenance and operations of RLC involve many disparate organizations and companies. Every project partner provides significant expertise to the specific areas of automotive, railway, terrestrial communication and space assets as satellite navigation and satellite communication.

Benchmarks for the study are the number of accidents and fatalities occurring at RLC as published by the European Railway Agency (ERA). This study will propose technical means to reduce these figures in any thinkable way. The proposed technical solutions shall integrate into a larger, well established concept of road Safety, called the "5 Es", namely Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Evaluation.

Target users and stakeholders have specific needs which include:

  • Road Users approaching a RLC shall accordingly be informed about the specific situation
  • Car drivers, cyclist or pedestrian expect to cross safely with lowest possible delay
  • Railway Infrastructure Manager need to inspect and maintain RLCs regularly
  • Safety Councils stipulate to design infrastructure (services) to be able to cope with Human Errors
  • Rail Infrastructure Manager need to know about evolutions of road traffic density at RLCs

The expected benefit – depending on the subsystem focused on – will be:

  • Improving safety by upgrading of passive RLC into active RLC at affordable costs
  • Improving safety by increase in Road User Awareness (in-car and on-road)
  • Improving safety through support of maintenance activities

SafeRail will liaise with representative organizations for the road users and railway companies and establish user requirements. Depending on the user priorities, an integrated solution will be proposed, defining the necessary service provisions and data interfaces. 


Project Partners

  • Berner & Mattner Systemtechnik GmbH (Munich, Germany) (lead)
  • Avanti Communications (London, United Kingdom)
  • Joanneum Research (Graz, Austria)
  • TeleConsult Austria GmbH (Graz, Austria)


SafeRail was carried out under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.


  • ESA (European Space Agency) within IAP (Integrated Applications Promotion)


  • Successfully completed in 2014