‘Meerkat’ enhanced warning device to reduce risk at level crossings
To reduce the number of accidents that occur at Britain’s level crossings, Network Rail has agreed to a new type of warning technology.
Costain, the smart infrastructure solutions company, has been commissioned by Network Rail to develop a new type of enhanced warning technology. This is expected to help reduce the number of incidents at passive footpath and bridleway level crossings across Britain.
Currently approximately five people per year are killed at level crossings in Britain, with hundreds of reported near misses. The new enhanced warning devices, which detect an oncoming train and provide an audible and visible warning to alert users, will have a significant impact on public safety at level crossings.
Andrew Wyllie CBE, Chief Executive at Costain, said: “Maintaining safety on the rail network is an important focus and the award of this contract demonstrates how smart infrastructure solutions can help save lives.”
The contract will see Costain’s team work closely with Network Rail to develop the technology. The first units are expected to be installed by August 2019. Work has already begun regarding the design and development of the Meerkat solution.
Once developed and approved, the Meerkat contract details the technology will be installed at sites across Britain over the next five years.
Allan Spence, Head of Passenger and Public Safety at Network Rail, said: “This is an important project which will help further reduce level crossing risk across the network. Meerkat will give users information on whether it is safe to cross and allow us to replace hundreds of Victorian ‘whistleboards’ – helping line side neighbours as well as improving safety.”