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Level Crossings: Hearing Impaired

Volume 493: debated on Friday 12 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent representations he has received on hearing-impaired people and safety at level crossings on railways; what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on safety at railway level crossings for hearing-impaired people; and if he will make a statement. (278762)

No direct representations on this subject have been made to the Secretary of State for Transport recently. However, we are aware of the concerns of disabled people with the operation of level crossings, through regular liaison with the disabled persons transport advisory committee: the Government’s statutory advisors on the transport needs of disabled people, which includes representatives of people with impaired hearing.

As part of their £10 million annual research programme, funded by the Department for Transport, the Rail Safety and Standards Board will shortly be commissioning a research project into this subject, entitled “T650-Improving safety and accessibility at level crossings for disabled pedestrians”.

Network Rail is currently planning for the next generation of level crossing designs and the Rail Safety and Standards Board’s research, which should report in 2010, aims to find out what specific facilities for disabled pedestrians should be included in order to improve accessibility and reduce risk. The disabled persons transport advisory committee was involved in establishing the scope of this project, and they, and other groups, will be involved as the work is taken forward.