Wildlife and railway conflicts have so far received relatively little attention across Europe, however, with growing investments in rail infrastructure and the development of high-speed railways, the is also a growing demand for ecologically adapted solutions in rail facilities and train traffic. Due to a lack of knowledge and experience, railway - wildlife issues are often dealt with in the same way as issues related to roads, although there are some relevant differences in design, operation, maintenance and traffic that require special attention and tailored solutions.
For example, railway infrastructure is often owned and managed by private companies with clear economic interests rather than by governmental agencies. Train-animal collisions cannot be addressed by reducing vehicle speed or increasing driver awareness; local adjustments in railway level and curve-radius are strongly limited; and options to physically integrate railways in the landscape are fewer than in roads. On the other hand, railways may provide better opportunities to install fauna measures or adjust verge habitats for plant and animal wildlife than what is possible in roads.
During the IENE 2014 international conference, a workshop on Rail and Wildlife was held with a specific focus on animal-train collisions. Participants pointed out that the problem may have been considerably underestimated so far. The participants expressed strong interest to collaborate, share knowledge and data and to create a special IENE Working Group for promotion of railway related questions.
Now, in the IENE 2016 conference, we activate this working group and intend to initiate concrete collaboration with rail authorities and develop an action plan for joint activities. The workshop is open for anyone interested in the topic.
Participants of the IENE 2014 workshop:
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international cooperation, railway