WIT Press

Limits And Opportunities Of Risk Analysis Application In Railway Systems


Free (open access)





Page Range

133 - 144




440 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


R. Licciardello, A. Baldassarra, P. Vitali, A. Tieri, M. Cruciani & A. N. Vasile


Risk analysis is a collection of methods widely used in many industrial sectors. In the transport sector it has been particularly used for air transport applications. The reasons for this wide use are well-known; risk analysis allows us to approach the safety theme in a stochastic – rather than deterministic – way, it forces us to break down the system in sub-components. Last, but not least, it allows a comparison between solutions with different costs, introducing de facto an element of economic feasibility of the project alternatives in the safety field. Apart from the United Kingdom, in Europe, the application of this tool in the railway sector is relatively recent. In particular, Directive 2004/49/EC (the \“railway safety directive”) provides for compulsory risk assessment in relation to the activities of railway Infrastructure Managers (IMs) and of Railway Undertakings (RUs). Nevertheless, the peculiarity of the railway system – in which human, procedural, environmental and technological components have a continuous interchange and in which human responsibilities and technological functions often overlap – induced the EC to allow wide margins of subjectivity in the interpretation of risk assessment. When enacting Commission Regulation (EC) No 352/2009 which further regulates this subject, a risk assessment is considered positive also if the IM or RU declare to take safety measures widely used in normal practice. The paper shows the results of a structured comparative analysis of the rail sector and other industrial sectors, which illustrate the difficulties but also the opportunities of a transfer towards the railway system of the risk analysis methods currently in use for the other systems. Keywords: railway risk assessment, comparison with road and industry.


railway risk assessment, comparison with road and industry