Reducing the Risk of Suicide or Trespass on Railways: Developing Better Interventions through Understanding Behaviors of People

Suicide and trespass are major problems for railway operators in Great Britain, leading to around 250–300 fatalities per year, as well as associated major disruption to the rail network. The European Union project RESTRAIL (REduction of Suicides and Trespasses on RAILway property), composed of a broad consortium of experts and rail operators from across Europe, is attempting to tackle these important issues. This paper presents an overview of two parts of the project that are being led by research in the United Kingdom; understanding observable behaviours prior to suicide and trespass incidents and the development of a methodology for the evaluation of preventative measures against suicide and trespass. Solving the problems of railway suicide and trespass is difficult. Opportunities for interventions, based on a better understanding of the behaviours displayed by people leading up to these incidents, are discussed.

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