Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Increasing safety for track-side workers

Railway maintenance personnel work in relatively dangerous conditions and, while working to ensure passenger safety, they put themselves at risk. A prototype European track-warning system can help improve the safety of track-side workers.
Increasing safety for track-side workers
Railway maintenance personnel keep commuting safe and secure for train passengers. Although there are mechanisms in place to guarantee these workers' safety, more needs to be done.

Supported by the Transport priority of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the project 'A railway automatic track warning system based on distributed personal mobile terminals' (ALARP) is studying, designing and developing an innovative Automatic Track Warning System (ATWS) to enhance the safety of track-side workers.

The prototype ATWS system is designed to warn workers about approaching trains, maintenance events and objects on the track that could put them at risk, as well as nearby emergencies. It can also keep track of their location and alert them to possible escape routes when necessary. The ALARP system comprises various components: a track-side train presence alert device and a network of low-cost and wearable wireless mobile terminals. The latter may be in the form of a bracelet or watch.

During the first phase, ALARP laid the foundations of the system, including the risk analysis, and definition of the ATWS requirements and constraints. The project also completed the initial prototypes for the alert device and the mobile terminal.

Results from the ALARP project, which is due to end in 2013, will help enhance the safety of rail transport workers, reducing the number of fatalities and injuries.

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