In order to achieve a continuously high safety level, transparency, identification of problem areas and an increased trust between the different Member States the Safety Directive prescribes the development and monitoring of safety targets. The development of Common Safety Targets (CST) assures a short term control of safety performances and a long term convergence of safety performance in Europe, through the use of common ways of measuring and assessing safety performance on a macro level.
Common Safety Targets are presented in the Safety Directive as the safety levels that must at least be achieved by different parts of the railway system in relation to different groups of individuals that are using the railways or being exposed to risks arising from railway traffic indirectly. The Common Safety Targets must ensure that safety performance does not decrease in any of the Member States, which is why the Agency has set up a scheme to target and evaluate both the national performances, through the use of National Reference Values (NRV), as well as that of the EU as a whole through the CST.
The Safety Assessment team, within the European Railway Agency, worked from September 2005 to April 2008 with representatives of the sector to draft its recommendation on the methodology to calculate, set and assess the achievement of the NRV and CST. This recommendation has then been turned into an EC decision by the Commission. The methodology has been carried out, for a first time, in 2009 by the Agency in order to calculate the CSTs and NRVs. From 2009, the Agency has assessed, each year, the achievement of the NRV and the CST and reports the results to the Commission. In 2011, the second set of NRVs and CSTs were established by the Commission Decision and this second set has been a reference for the assessments performed from 2012 onwards. By 2015, the ERA shall present to the EC recommendations on the amendments of the assessment method and establish the new set based on values reported to ERA within CSIs.