Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Study on the structural and operational safety of railway transport systems

The European Commission, DG III, has published an open call for tender for a study on the structural and operational safety of railway transport systems at European level.

The study is connected with the establishment of trans-European transport networks and in particular the proposal for a Directive (OJ No C 134 of 17.5.1994) on the interoperability of the European high-speed train network.

The study aims to assess, in the general context of the interoperability of trans-European networks, the implications for the European railway industry of the implementation of safety measures concerning rolling stock, whether passive (structural) or active (software) safety measures.

The first stage will provide, on the basis of an analysis of risks and their consequences, a detailed description of the approach to safety in the main networks of the Union. It will describe the organization from a technical and legislative point of view and also in terms of an assessment of conformity and industrial structure, in order to point out the organic and functional links between the parties involved. The aim is to emphasize differences in the approach to, and implementation of, safety measures in the countries in question, the role and strategy of the parties involved and the obstacles to be removed to establish general safety guidelines at European level and assess their economic impact. A comparative analysis will be carried out for other sectors (e.g. nuclear and civil aviation) which already appear to have achieved a high degree of safety and interoperability.

The second, more strategic, stage should make it possible to:

- Reveal the general level of consistency with regard to safety, including all subsystems to be considered, illuminated by the practices of the reference structures selected (e.g. nuclear or civil aviation);
- Put forward recommendations for the practical implementation of a railway safety policy by the European Union;
- Lay particular stress on the steps perceived as critical with regard to safety of European railways through regulatory, technical, industrial, social, financial, etc. aspects.

For general policy questions, reference should be made to the White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, "The challenges and ways forward into the 21st century" (COM(96) 700 final). Due consideration will be given to current work on trans-European transport networks and Directives 93/38/EEC and 91/440/EEC.

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