RTA receives grant to improve rail crossing safety

Operation Lifesaver announces the award of $162,500 for public awareness and safety education projects at 11 transit agencies. OLI's safety campaign slogan, “See Tracks? Think Train!”

 RTA receives grant to improve rail crossing safety

Sep 17, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC -- Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) today announced the award of $162,500 in grant funds for public awareness and safety education projects at 11 transit agencies across the United States. The local transit agencies and state Operation Lifesaver programs will work together to produce educational projects featuring the OLI safety campaign slogan, “See Tracks? Think Train!”

The ongoing campaign’s message is that whether driving or walking, when people see tracks, they should use caution and be alert for approaching trains. The campaign will increase public awareness of transit surroundings and help people pay attention in potentially dangerous situations.

RTA's effort

In Ohio, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will improve grade crossing safety along its 15.3-mile light rail system.

“We are planning a safety advertising blitz that will launch with a media event at Shaker Square. We want safety to be at the forefront of the minds of our customers, motorists and employees,” said Joe Calabrese, GCRTA CEO and General Manager. “We want to eliminate the unsafe turns vehicles make outside of the intersections, which cause them to get stuck on GCRTA tracks.”

Background on grants

“These grants assist local agencies with their educational safety campaigns and are important for reaching drivers, pedestrians and transit riders in their own communities,” said OLI President and CEO Joyce Rose. “We thank the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for helping us promote the availability of the funds and we especially thank the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for providing the funding.”

“The Federal Transit Administration is pleased to partner once again with Operation Lifesaver on this crucial campaign to raise awareness about the need for safety around transit,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “As more and more communities around the nation choose to build light rail, streetcars, and other transit services that operate alongside pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, we must continue to educate the public on the importance of putting safety first.”

The grants range between $7,500 and $20,000 and require each agency to provide a 25 percent match. The educational campaigns must use OLI-approved materials and logos and be coordinated through a state OL program. A team of U.S. Department of Transportation and APTA safety and education professionals evaluated the applications based on criteria such as key safety messages and target audiences, evaluation methods and timelines.

Materials will be developed this fall, and the creative safety campaigns will launch by spring 2015.

About Operation Lifesaver Inc.

Operation Lifesaver's mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety.

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