Safety at level crossings is a major concern for Finnish railways. Less than a quarter of all 4,061 level crossings
are equipped with active warning devices, mainly barriers but also warning lights and bells. Especially at passive level
crossings it is entirely up to the road user to know whether it is safe to cross the railway. However, the environment
should support road users and infrastructure managers should provide conditions where safe behaviour is possible.
Perhaps the most important criterion then concerns sight distance conditions at the level crossing. A minimum
requirement is that a road user stopped before the level crossing must be able to traverse the railway in less time than it
takes for an approaching train to arrive at the level crossing from the point where the road user can first see it. Examples
of current sight distance guidelines and their reasoning in selected countries are described. A proposal for new Finnish
sight distance guidelines is made. The proposal for required sight distances consists of a minimum sight distance from the
road of 5-8 metres from the nearest rail to the railway, and a minimum distance at which a road user approaching the level
crossing must be able to see it.