Northwestern University will host a symposium on pedestrian rail safety next week on its Evanston campus.

Organizers say the session, co-sponsored by the school’s Transportation Center and the city of Lake Forest, is a response to an increase in pedestrian train accidents and fatalities that appears to be related to increasing use of cell phones and other communications devices by persons out walking near rail lines.

The meeting will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, in room G-40 on the lower level of the Donald P. Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road. It’s free and open to the public, though advance registration online is required.

The goal of the symposium is to generate recommendations that will encourage change in pedestrian behavior and reduce the number of accidents. A recent spike in pedestrian train accidents and the increasing prevalence and speed of commuter trains and light rail vehicles, which often travel at ground level, are of particular concern.

The symposium will feature Northwestern faculty, leaders from local municipalities and railroad safety groups. After introductory speakers present data and open the discussion, attendees will break into subgroups to develop recommendations for creative means for communicating safety to the walking public.

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