Alfalla claims victory in first-ever iRacing playoff race at Darlington

first_imgThree-time NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series powered by iRacing Champion Ray Alfalla claimed victory in the first-ever NPAS playoff race at Darlington Raceway for his third win of the 2017 season. The dominating performance vaulted Alfalla into the championship lead as he chases an unprecedented fourth championship in iRacing’s most prestigious oval series.Michael Conti came home second, nearly 1.9 seconds behind Alfalla. Ryan Luza finished third to nearly keep pace with Alfalla in the championship. Logan Clampitt was fourth and Brian Schoenburg came from 24th on the grid to finish fifth, barely beating Bobby Zalenski as the two crashed across the start/finish line.Zack Novak led the field to the green after winning his fourth pole of the year and led the first 29 circuits. However, it was Luza with the long run speed early in the race, and he passed Novak down the backstretch on Lap 30 to gain control of the race. Shortly thereafter, a caution brought the field to the pits for the first time in the evening with Luza maintaining the lead off pit road.MORE: NASCAR-sanctioned drivers compete in iRacing series Then on the ensuing restart Luza made an uncharacteristic mistake that likely cost him a chance at contending for the win when he changed lanes before the start/finish line. The preemptive move earned Luza a drive through penalty, putting him a lap behind.Back at the front, Bobby Zalenski took over the lead when Luza pitted with Alfalla tracking him closely in second. As the run wore on, Zalenski was able to keep Alfalla at bay, but Luza was able to un-lap himself, which would prove important in his rally back to the front.Unable to catch and pass Zalenski on the track, Alfalla turned to pit strategy as he ducked in earlier than Zalenski on Lap 70. With Zalenski staying out until Lap 72, Alfalla made up several seconds on the former leader as they both worked through traffic on their far fresher tires.Alfalla finally cycled to the lead on Lap 89 due to an extended pit sequence with Conti less than a second behind. Zalenski rode in third, still quite a distance behind the leaders despite his two-lap fresher rubber. Alfalla, in fact, began to pull away from everyone as he asserted himself as the driver to beat. The only chance the field looked to have would be a caution or a mistake by Alfalla on pit road.The rest of the field got their wish on Lap 142 when Josh Berry spun and crashed off Turn Two. Alfalla was first off pit road and with everyone having enough fuel to go to the finish, the race was on. For the first 20 laps Conti could maintain touch with the leader but slowly but surely Alfalla started building a gap and was not challenged on his way to the win.Alfalla’s victory allowed him to jump Luza and into the NPAS points lead with two races remaining until the final cut in the playoffs. Alfalla leads Luza by three points and Zalenski is nine markers back. Clampitt holds the final transfer spot, five points behind Zalenski and nine in front of Novak, who struggled to a 17th-place result.Chicagoland Speedway plays host to race two of the NPAS playoffs as all eight title contenders are within 14 points of the final transfer position. Alfalla was definitely the car to beat at Darlington, but if Luza can stay penalty-free Alfalla, Zalenski, and the others will likely have their hands full by the end of the night. Can Alfalla go 2-for-2, or will one of the other seven contenders find the winner’s circle in a bid to upset the favorite? Find out in two weeks on iRacing Live!last_img read more

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Eddie Vedder Releases “Cartography” Solo Single, Nick Zinner Remix [Listen]

first_imgEddie Vedder has released a solo instrumental track as part of Sub Pop‘s Singles Club Vol. 5 entitled, “Cartography”. The new track released on Monday also appears on the soundtrack for the 2019 documentary on the late Robert F. Kennedy, Return to Mount Kennedy, which Vedder also scored.In addition to releasing his version of “Cartography”, Vedder also shared a remix version of the instrumental courtesy of Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner. All proceeds raised by the new track will go to benefit the national voting rights organization Fair Fight.Vedder added about his new release in a press statement,Listening to the speech delivered by Bobby Kennedy in regards to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago, you are reminded that once again we are at a moment in time when our society can and must do better. Voting is our most powerful form of nonviolent protest.Listen to the two versions of the new release below.Eddie Vedder – “Cartography”[Video: Sub Pop]Eddie Vedder – “Cartography” (Nick Zinner RFK remix)[Video: Sub Pop]Vedder has been in the headlines more frequently as of late as the Pearl Jam singer continues to raise awareness for voting ahead of the November elections. Last month Vedder and Pearl Jam bandmate Jeff Ament launched pro-voting meet-and-greet sweepstakes, and just last week Vedder joined Instagram to promote the ease of mail-in voting.[H/T Pitchfork]last_img read more

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The Ups and Downs of EMS

first_imgThat’s a RapFire Department New York (FDNY) paramedic Farooq Muhammad, EMT-P, is full of surprises. His latest feat, a rap video titled “EMS Anthem”–a follow-up to the highly acclaimed EMS rap, “Call 911″–debuted May 21 at this year’s FDNY EMS Week EMT/Paramedic Competition. “It took a lot of time and effort to sit down, think of the lyrics, rehearse them and record at the studio,” says Muhammad. “But it’s something I can pull off, so why not use those skills in a way that can get EMS the recognition it deserves, not just FDNY EMS, but EMS all across the country.”In both videos, Muhammad portrays a day in the life of a New York City EMS provider. “Anthem” depicts Muhammad going about a regular day, responding to an asthmatic patient, a pedestrian struck, a cardiac arrest, a shooting victim and a chest pain patient.“Putting to music lyrics that reflect what it is we as EMS professionals do and making it personal with an FDNY flavor instantaneously instills a feeling a pride,” says John Peruggia, chief of EMS for FDNY. Thumbs Up to Muhammad for using his creativity to promote his personal mission: to show the public what EMS does and to reinforce to providers the value of their jobs and their bravery in performing them.Saving One of Their OwnAs chief executive officer of Gunnison Valley (Colo.) Hospital (GVH), Randy Phelps has spent countless hours and dollars supporting the hospital’s EMS department. In the early morning hours of March 20, those efforts paid off for him as three of his EMS medics saved his life.Minutes after Phelps’s wife called 9-1-1, police officers and GVH medics arrived to their Gunnison home. The medics found Phelps in cardiac arrest, resuscitated him, transported him to GVH and assisted in his airlift to a hospital with a special cardiac unit. Bryan Hess, GVH’s EMS director, says his team didn’t initially know who their patient was, but after a short time, they recognized his face.As for how Hess and the medics are using the intra-office life-saving situation to their advantage, Hess says he doesn’t have much to ask for.  “He’s been really supportive of my department,” Hess says, citing Phelps’ work in getting grants and approval of new equipment for their ambulances.A few weeks later, Phelps returned to work. “It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that the efforts of countless people can save a life, because they certainly saved mine,” says Phelps. Safety FirstFollowing a statewide trend, ambulance crews in Wausau, Wis., are limiting the use of lights and sirens on calls to avoid traffic collisions when lives aren’t in jeopardy. Although some calls demand lights-and-siren responses, not all calls require the same level of urgency. Interim director for the Wisconsin EMS Association Todd Williams says lights and sirens are meant to alert other motorists to move out of an ambulance’s path. Although emergency departments must adhere to the Department of Transportation’s rules of the road, they also have the ability to set their own policies regarding acceptable speeds for lights-and-sirens responses, Williams says.The patient’s care is a priority, but the safety of emergency responders and motorists comes first, says Schofield (Wis.) Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Rob Bowen. “If we can’t get there safely, we can’t do the patient any good,” Bowen says.Thumbs Up to Wausau crews for taking the long view when it comes to safety. JEMS This originally appeared in the July 2010 issue of JEMS as “Last Word: The ups and downs of EMS.” About TimeTIME Magazine’s annual list of the most influential people has the usual assortment of world leaders, scientists and celebrities. But in 2010, a paramedic joined its list as one of the world’s top heroes.Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive singled out Toronto paramedic Rahul Singh and his GlobalMedic NGO, writing in TIME that they “greatly restored my faith in the fellowship of humanity.” Just days after January’s earthquake, Singh and other GlobalMedic volunteers arrived in Haiti. Singh is most proud of making about a million liters of water potable per week in addition to offering first aid. “I think it is cool, but it’s not a personal honor,” Singh says. “Although I am the one on the list, it’s not my actions, it’s the combined actions of all the men and women that do emergency work and volunteer for our service to go overseas to save lives.”The honor is rewarding to Singh, however, because it raises the profile of paramedics, who are often overshadowed by firefighters and police officers.GlobalMedic currently has volunteers providing medical aid across the globe. They’re even clearing mines and ordnance in the Gaza Strip, Angola and Chad. Soon they’ll be in Afghanistan.last_img read more

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Helicopter Blows Deer Trapped On Ice To Safety

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreLongtime Good News Network viewers will not be overly-amazed by the dramatic helicopter rescue of a deer trapped on thin ice in the middle of a frozen Canadian harbor.Ian Waugh spotted the doe and fawn struggling out on the ice and notified the Department of Natural Resources. He said the doe struggled for hours, trying to stand up on the slippery ice but she kept falling.A few hours later, Waugh spotted a DNR helicopter near the mother and the alarmed fawn ran to shore as the chopper descended. He was amazed by what happened next and captured it on camera.The solution described as “brilliant” in the CTV report was identical to the one used in two other ice rescues — in 2007 and in 2010 when an Oklahoma TV news chopper pilot saved a doe and a calf from icy peril three years apart.Watch those here.(WATCH the latest video below)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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Oakley fades to green

first_img Related Oakley has launched a special-edition eyewear collection, Green Fade. Oakley is bringing back the vibrant green colour that was featured on the brand’s first performance product in 1980 for this exclusive one-time collection. The company adds that the new range is ‘made for today’s world-class athletes who demand the very best.’Oakley adds that ‘Combining the brand’s iconic ‘80s Green colour of performance with the 21st century technology of Prizm lenses, Green Fade is a rare edition in sports eyewear.’All frames from the collection will be hand painted green and will be available in select Oakley locations and retail stores this summer.Prizm technologyThe full sun Green Fade Collection is available with Oakley Prizm lenses, a technology from the company that enhances detail for an optimized performance. It provides ‘ultra-precise colour tuning, designed for specific environments’.Product line-upThe Oakley Green Fade Collection includes performance products for competition, including EVZero, Jawbreaker, Radar EV Path, Flak 2.0 XL and RadarLock Path, and lifestyle products for life off the field, including Frogskins and Crosslink Zero RXDesignEVZero will be available with the brand’s first-ever dual Iridium lens coating that combines two Prizm lens tints on a single toric shield for a distinctive look and ‘unmatched performance’.www.oakley.comlast_img read more

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Foundation benefits from JP Morgan Chase settlement

first_img Foundation benefits from JP Morgan Chase settlement August 1, 2015 Regular News Foundation benefits from JP Morgan Chase settlementcenter_img The Florida Bar Foundation will receive $500,000 from Florida’s $22 million share of a $136 million joint state-federal settlement JP Morgan Chase entered into July 8 with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was among 47 attorneys general to help pursue the settlement over the bank’s credit card debt collection practices. Florida received the largest share of the settlement, which will also provide funds to dozens of other nonprofits providing help with legal services, financial literacy, and debt management.“We are grateful to Attorney General Bondi for directing a significant portion of these funds to The Florida Bar Foundation, which will in turn distribute them to legal aid organizations throughout Florida that help protect the rights of consumers every day,” said Foundation Executive Director Bruce Blackwell. “She has often said how strongly she believes in the work we and our grantees do, and this is yet another vote of confidence from our attorney general.”In addition to the $15.3 million to be shared by nonprofit organizations, more than 5,000 JP Morgan Chase customers in Florida will receive $4.6 million in restitution, and $1.6 million will go to the state’s general fund.Once The Florida Bar Foundation is notified about any potential restrictions on the use of the settlement funds, it will devise a system for allocating them to its grantees.last_img read more

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Study: Risk of severe COVID-19 imperils millions of uninsured

first_imgEven before the pandemic, more than 18 million Americans at high risk for COVID-19 complications lacked adequate health insurance, according to a study published today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and City University of New York at Hunter College in New York City analyzed data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).They found that 18.2 million people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, or body mass index of 40 kg/m2 or higher and those 65 years and older were uninsured or underinsured. That number represents 16.9% of the US at-risk population. Underinsurance was defined as having to skip at least one doctor visit within the last year because of the expense.The authors noted that an Apr 23 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in San Francisco had estimated that 5.1 million Americans at high risk for severe coronavirus disease lacked insurance.Haunted by double disadvantagesPeople who were black, Native American or Alaskan, or non-white “other” race were significantly overrepresented in at-risk, inadequately insured categories, while Asians were underrepresented. Native Americans were at exceedingly high risk, being 90% more likely than whites to be at high risk for serious COVID-19 outcomes and 53% less likely to have sufficient health insurance.Low-income people and those living in rural areas, the states without the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, and the eight states without stay-at-home orders were also at elevated risk of insufficient insurance and poor COVID-19 outcomes.Specifically, people at high risk living in states without the Medicaid expansion were 52% more likely to have insufficient insurance than those in expansion states (95% confidence interval [CI] of adds ratio [OR], 1.43 to 1.61; P < 0.001). Likewise, high-risk residents of states without stay-at-home orders were 23% more likely than those of states that issued the orders to have inadequate insurance (95% CI of OR, 1.16 to 1.30).Thirty-seven states have adopted the Medicaid expansion, according to a May 29 KFF report. The expansion allows households with annual incomes 138% below the federal poverty level to qualify for Medicaid, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.Widening health, insurance inequitiesThe authors said that a lack of adequate health insurance and the threat of hospitalization due to COVID-19 could devastate household finances and deter people, especially those from disadvantaged groups, from seeking care. That is borne out by an Apr 28 Gallup poll that found that 14% of US residents with likely COVID-19 said they would avoid seeking care because they couldn't afford it.The authors noted that rising unemployment rates since the pandemic began have likely only worsened insurance and health disparities."Gaps in insurance coverage, and states’ decisions to reject Medicaid expansion and defer prevention measures, may hence exacerbate the damage wrought by the COVID-19 epidemic, as well as health disparities," the authors wrote.They called for policymakers to address insufficient health insurance in at-risk groups for the diagnosis and treatment of the coronavirus and institute policies to expand medical coverage during the current economic crisis.last_img read more

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Linde brings six ASUs on stream in China

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

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Natural Power Names First International Director

first_imgUK renewable energy and infrastructure consultancy, Natural Power, has appointed Pieter D’haen to the newly created role of International Director. D’haen joins Natural Power from Rame Energy plc, where he held the role of Chief Operating Officer, and prior to that as Technical Director at Seawind International.D’haen is said to bring over 12 years of global renewable energy experience to the role, through operating and growing businesses overseas. He holds an MBA from the OU Business School and has an MSc in Electromechanical Engineering.Ted Leeming, Managing Director at Natural Power, said: “Having restructured our core businesses over several years the employment of this role is extremely exciting to me as we are now in a position to expand and diversify our market leading services to existing multinational clients. This appointment also provides for increased focus into new geographic locations as well as bringing increased support to our existing core markets and agencies.”D’haen is based at the company’s global HQ at The Greenhouse in Dumfries and Galloway.“Natural Power recognises the constant flux and transformation in the renewable energy markets worldwide and through its strong growth on the international stage, is ideally placed to advise and lead its customers globally,” D’haen said.”My technical and commercial experience and skills will help to consolidate our international matrix businesses and ensure that we provide our clients with exceptional and market leading services, irrespective of the location, and to do so efficiently and sustainably.”last_img read more

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EC takes the lead in safety regulation

first_imgThe European Commission has determined that common regulation of safety and standards is to be a crucial element in its drive to create a single market in rail transport. A draft Directive on Rail Safety is expected this year, which will have the explicit objectives of promoting open access and interoperability, as well as achieving fewer deaths and injuriesBYLINE: Michael SpackmanNational Economic Research AssociatesOUR STARTING POINT for this detailed examination of the way rail safety is regulated was the EC’s remit to ’assess to what extent different regulations or practices have an impact on railway interoperability, in particular on cross-border traffic and on the railway supply market.’The team was asked to review existing rail safety regulation regimes (RSRRs) and liability standards, assess the impact of differences, and make ’recommendations for a common safety approach to rail transport within the EU’. We were not asked to compare accident rates, although one important conclusion was that reliable comparisons are impossible with currently available data.National regulationDespite EU Directive 91/440, which requires the separation of infrastructure from train operations, in most countries the integrated nationalised railway industry (NI) remains the centrepiece. Where there is an infrastructure manager (IM), functions were often devolved back to the NI.Safety regulation lay formally with a railway inspectorate (RI) or the ministry, but the resources and the initiative remained with the NI. Even so, there were big differences in the distribution of responsibilities among operators, regulators and other institutions.Only in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain were active markets in train services encouraged. Here, the IM was usually perceived as having an inherent system safety role including management of the interaction with train operators (TOs).Some IMs had been drawn closer to government than the integrated NI was. The RI and IM might be merged, or the IM’s original functions of traffic management, safety regulation and infrastructure management separated. Only in Great Britain had the IM become a regulated, private sector monopoly, with self-regulation responsibilities for its own activities as well as those of TOs imposed as a deliberate decision rather than following automatically from its public sector status. On the contentious issue of ’profits versus safety’ our report concludes that commercial incentives are as likely to be good as bad for the level of safety – given, crucially, a sound regulatory regime. However, it was apparent that commercial pressures have created incentives to shift costs and accountability to others. It was also noted that that some forms of subsidy, such as cost-plus provision of capital, can be bad for the efficient provision of safety.The national RSRRs were compared in many dimensions, including separation of functions, punitiveness and the use of analysis.Separation of functions varied widely. External regulatory control of the four key functions of specification, compliance, investigation and prosecution were all carried out by one independent national body in four member states, and by two bodies with differing combinations of functions elsewhere.The most significant difference was the independence in some countries of accident investigation. The Report recommends independent accident investigation, without going so far as to endorse fully-fledged transport safety boards as found in the US, the Netherlands and some Scandinavian countries.Punitiveness towards organisations was strongest in Great Britain – a trend which appears to be continuing even further this year. Some other countries were more punitive to individual employees. Punitive measures were virtually unknown in the Scandinavian countries or the Netherlands.We found no suggestion that greater punitiveness improves the efficiency or effectiveness of an RSRR and noted that, to the extent that punitiveness encourages secretiveness, it can reduce safety.Investigation of the use of analysis covered questions such as the explicitness of cost-benefit trade-offs. Political pressures to deny any trade-off were omnipresent, but handled in different ways both in law and in public and professional debate.Explicit valuation of safety benefits was most widely applied in Great Britain and also much debated in Scandinavia. The trade-off may be acknowledged less formally, as in the Netherlands, or publicly denied as in most other countries – despite the fact that in about half of member states costs were formally admissible in defining legal safety obligations. European regulationStandards negotiated through the UIC are a major component of acceptance criteria throughout Europe. Railway restructuring is already changing the framework for liability insurance requirements, and there are signs of the international insurance market developing as interoperability progresses. Reinforcing these self-regulated and free market developments, EU legislation is becoming increasingly important, driven by single market policies on procurement and by the Interoperability Directives.The EC’s High Speed Interoperability Directive (96/48) is in force, and the potentially far-reaching Conventional Interoperability Directive was issued last year in draft. Technical standardisation under the High Speed directive is being led by the AEIF (Association Européenne pour l’Interoperabilité Ferroviaire) representing suppliers and operators. AEIF develops Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), which are translated into operational standards by the European standards bodies (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI).Our Report welcomes the establishment of AEIF, but expresses strong concerns about management of the large and complex administrative structure of the harmonisation process. Although harmonisation of EU railway standards focuses mainly on engineering compatibility, safety is often inseparable.A theme of the Report is that safety issues are integral with interoperability issues such as command and control. But these EU activities have had very little effect on national safety regulation regimes. The railway industry Europe-wide, including safety regulators, displayed surprisingly little curiosity about likely future European safety requirements.Impacts of safety regulationIn France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain, case studies were made of new and cross-border services, of acceptance processes for new traction, and of safety regulation for track workers.A typical response to new entrants wanting to run trains was to require full acceptance of responsibility for costs involved in persuading the IM that the service meets conditions that might be defined only loosely, including infrastructure data that the IM cannot provide. No new operators suggested this was deliberate discrimination, but most believed that established regulatory regimes were a brake on the development of new markets, and sometimes on technical innovation, to a degree not justified by safety.While the Report notes with approval that the onus for acceptance now generally lies with the manufacturer, rather than the TO, manufacturers criticised many IMs for lack of clarity about what was required, excessive costs, or refusal to be proactive in seeking solutions. Examination of 14 cross-border freight and passenger flows revealed, as expected, that most obstacles arise from differences in traction power supplies or signalling, but safety regulation issues were important. Where traction crosses a frontier, the safety norm is ’levelling-up’. Each regime requires all of its conditions to be met, in addition to the conditions required by neighbouring regimes, although many of these standards could be harmonised to give worthwhile savings at minimal engineering costs (panel p490).The case study of track workers was designed to probe decision rules for trade-offs between safety and other factors, some risk being accepted in all countries. The Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain explicitly accepted the trade-off; France, Italy and Germany had formulae which legitimised a pragmatic solution while denying the acceptance of avoidable risk. Sweden was unable to agree on a response.Scope and styleThe study of safety regulation identified two sets of stylised characteristics. The first separates safety decisions, where acceptance of avoidable risk is denied, from operational decisions; approaches risk assessment in terms of a small range of options; merges political and technical judgement; and reaches decisions by specialists in private. The second considers all factors are together; looks at a wide range of options; distinguishes clearly between political and technical factors; and follows due process.While all applauded the second in principle, some partners in the study team felt that traditional regulation had tended towards the first style. (Britain had seen a deliberate move by British Rail and then Railtrack from the first style to the second, followed by a swing back in recent years.) To achieve international harmonisation, the study reviewed many approaches including common standards, mutual recognition, and self-regulation. The conclusion was that no single approach merited a dominant role. Many were needed.Conclusions and RecommendationsThe report’s conclusions follow the four main themes of Due Process, Cost Effectiveness, Information, and Management at the European Level.Due ProcessThe shift from monopoly nationalised industries to a dynamic international railway market has serious implications for the management of safety regulation. With much wider competition in equipment supply and train operation, transparency and the other features of due process (clear documentation, consistency, specified substantive decision rules, the provision of reasons for decisions, and rights of independent appeal) become much more important.Without due process, acceptance procedures, in particular, act as serious obstacles to market entry and to innovation. The study concluded that due process was already largely applied in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain, and partly so in Finland and Austria, but that it could be extended in all Member States. A universal failing was the lack of specified substantive decision rules.The Report recommends that the EU, through legislation, should encourage the railway safety regulation regimes of Member States to follow due process.Cost EffectivenessA central concern of the Report is the need for the inescapable trade-offs between safety and other aspects of quality of service, such as speed, reliability and cost, to be handled efficiently. This it sees as a precondition for the railway industry to develop, with competitive pricing and without unsustainable demands for public subsidy.The political difficulties are extreme, and not all project partners agreed on the arguments for valuing safety benefits mainly on the basis of people’s considered preferences about risk.The Report concludes that that there is scope for a considerable further development of quantitative analysis, and it includes a discussion of individual risk, tolerability limits and societal concerns. It also notes that the AEIF has been mandated to accompany its draft TSIs with, in principle, an assessment of the estimated costs and benefits of the technical solutions examined. In practice, this is not effectively achieved. It also proposes two areas for research. One is into the methodologies used across European industrial safety regulation. The other is a systematic study of international differences in rail safety regulations or procedures which it may be cost effective to remove or reduce, and of the associated costs and benefits and timescales.The study’s remit precluded any appraisal of the outputs of the Interoperability Directive processes. However, the authors came to feel some unease about whether these were producing standards which will best serve the long term interests of the industry.With limited awareness in member states of the processes, and the low profile of cost effectiveness, it was not clear that alternative ERTMS options, for example, had been fully considered. The process seemed to be driven by engineering factors alone, with an implicit presumption that cost effectiveness was the preserve of other activities, such as competition policy. The debate in Britain about TPWS versus ATP was seen in Brussels as belonging to another world.The Report recommends that EU policy should be designed to steer European railway safety regulation towards stronger analysis of costs and benefits and explicit substantive decision rules.InformationSafety information flows and availability were poor in many areas. Some member states do not publish reports on major accidents, and information about accident investigations is often not available to all those in Europe to whom it would be useful.Statistical data lacks standardisation in many areas – for example, in the handling of contractors’ employees. It is also becoming increasingly difficult for the UIC to collect standardised data as the old order of national railway monopolies breaks down. Within national railway industries there is a widespread problem of inadequate knowledge by the IM about the infrastructure for which it is responsible, and the dissemination of data where it is known.There is very limited internet access to EU working documents; indeed the culture is not sympathetic to exposing documents until they are final. This contrasts with the use of the web by the World Bank, for example.The Report recommends research into the means of developing safety performance and other safety-related data, and European requirements for the maintenance and provision of infrastructure data to actual and prospective train operators or suppliers.Management at the European LevelThe continuing reform of safety regulation, and of railway regulation generally at the EU level, involves powerful established interests, both within member states (such as the still powerful railway NIs), and centrally (such as the standards institutions). It therefore needs to be strongly managed.The Report concludes that this needs in particular an industry body, which is much stronger than the present AEIF structure, established to implement the interoperability directives. It sees many tasks for this body, some extending beyond safety but seen as necessary for the effective development of safety regulation:last_img read more

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