Trespass Bowtie

We have helped the rail industry work together to construct a “bow tie”, as a way of illustrating the relationship between risk controls and the hazards they intend to prevent.

​Every year, members of the public intentionally trespass on the railway, putting themselves and others in harm’s way.  This not only endangers the person trespassing, but also has an impact on train drivers and other rail staff.  The rail industry wants to reduce the risk, through public engagement and by sharing research, case studies and current practice.

The Bow Tie approach provides a way of proactively understanding what controls are in place to manage certain hazards, and can therefore aid risk assessment.  The diagram that emerges is shaped a bit like a bow tie, hence the name.

Lynne Collis, our Lead System Safety Engineer has worked with the rail industry, involving infrastructure managers, and train and freight operating companies to develop a cross-industry Bow Tie for trespass risk.

Each control is categorised by effectiveness. We use this so that we can see where we need to strengthen the control or add others.


As a result, the rail industry now has a good visual summary of potential incident scenarios that could exist around certain trespass hazards, as well as the controls or potential controls that could be put in place to act as barriers.

The next phase is to prioritise these controls and develop an action plan for the industry which will feed directly into the Trespass Improvement Programme and support the development of a CP6 trespass strategy.

Log in or register to keep reading
Register for free individual access
  • Unlock research, articles and more
  • Get updates on RSSB’s activities





Need some help?
To talk to us about accessing RSSB content or corporate membership:
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.