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Cross border railway operations: Building safety at cultural interfaces


 As legislation is now introduced to ensure the interoperability of railway systems across European countries, the issue of safety culture has become a subject of considerable interest to the rail industry. It is recognized that different cultures exist in organizations that will be increasingly required to interface with each other and that these organizational cultures have a direct impact on safety. To approach this challenge proactively it is required to develop a method that identifies culture differences that will affect safety. The method should further assist the various railway undertakings, infrastructure managers etc to implement counteractive measures in order to control this new risk related to cultural interfaces. The project Safety Culture at Interfaces (SCAI) is currently developing tools to improve safety culture at interfaces for the International Union of Railways (UIC). The SCAI project covers the development of a method for managing cultural interfaces and piloting of the method in three railway undertakings. Moreover, we want to explore whether cultural interfaces can be exploited as a source of impulses to share best practices and thus improve operational safety. This paper presents the method which is based on a scenario approach where different cross border scenarios are identified. Such a scenario could be the situation when track work is carried out near a border crossing, and trains from several railway undertakings are approaching. The scenarios are analyzed by a group of people representing the various railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, and the traffic control. Basically the method will act on a bottom-up level where specific safety culture issues are resolved by the involved parties, but the method is also expected to identify more general issues that have to be resolved at e.g. a European level (harmonizing of rules, reporting systems etc).


Academic lecture





  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security

Presented at

Rail Human Factors Conference


York, England


13.10.2003 - 15.10.2003



View this publication at Cristin