Developing safety signs for children on board trains

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, ridership - young people, planning - safety/accidents


Warnings, Signs, Children, Safety, Railways


Every year a number of young children are injured as a result of accidents that occur on board trains in Great Britain. These accidents range from being caught in internal doors, through to injuries caused by using seats. We describe our efforts to design a new set of safety signs in order to help prevent the occurrence of these types of accident. The research was funded under a Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) managed UK Department for Transport research programme and was carried out in collaboration with Loughborough University. The study involved analysis of industry accident incidence data and running a set of classroom discussions with young school children (aged 5–10, n = 210). The classroom discussions initially involved showing them examples of a new design prototype sign alongside existing train signs and gathering the requirements for new designs. A second set of classroom discussions with these children was used to evaluate the new signs based on the outcomes from earlier discussions. We describe our findings alongside a set of outline guidelines for the design of safety signs for young children. A final section considers the main methodological and other lessons learnt from the study, alongside study limitations and possibilities for future research.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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