It happens every three hours in the United States: a person or vehicle is struck by a train. When this tragedy occurs, lives are changed forever: for the people involved in the crash, their family, friends and community, and the train crewmembers. To raise awareness of the dangers of being on or around railroad tracks, the first U.S. Rail Safety Week is happening this year on September 24-30. This event is being spearheaded by Operation Lifesaver, Inc. in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other safety organizations. Activities are being planned each day during the week to share lifesaving messages throughout our communities, including “Operation Clear Track” on Tuesday, September 26, a three-hour exercise to raise awareness and enforce the railroad grade crossing and trespassing laws.
Washington – The Operation Lifesaver, Inc., (OLI) board of directors today (Sept. 23) announced that Joyce Rose will complete her tenure as OLI President later this year, after three years with the national nonprofit rail safety education organization.
OLI Board Chairman Bill Barringer said, “On behalf of Operation Lifesaver’s board, I express sincere thanks to Joyce Rose for her strong leadership. Under her watch, OLI experienced financial growth from increased federal funding and new contributors; launched the high-profile, ongoing “See Tracks? Think Train!”public awareness campaign; streamlined the process for becoming an Operation Lifesaver authorized volunteer; and increased the organization’s online and social media presence. Joyce leaves Operation Lifesaver with the organization well-positioned for future success.”
Said Rose, “I know that Operation Lifesaver will continue to make progress in the years to come in its core mission – educating drivers and pedestrians to make safe choices near tracks and trains. While I have greatly enjoyed working with the amazing OL team over the last three years, I am excited to pursue new opportunities assisting the transit community with meeting new federal safety requirements.”
Before joining Operation Lifesaver in December of 2012, Rose served as staff director for the Railroads Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She previously served as a professional staff member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. Before joining the House T&I Committee staff, Rose worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations from 1988 to 2001 as the professional staffer responsible for Federal transit and rail funding issues, pipelines and hazardous materials, and transportation research.
Barringer noted that the Operation Lifesaver board of directors will conduct a search for Rose’s successor.
The grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in California, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. These state programs will use the funding to spread “See Tracks? Think Train!” safety messages via television, radio, billboards, sporting events and movie theatre advertising; create eye-catching displays for public education at large events; and target students, school bus drivers, Spanish-speaking populations and the news media to raise awareness about the dangers near tracks and trains.
“The grants will fund a wide variety of projects to expand the reach of our ongoing safety campaign and further Operation Lifesaver’s mission of eliminating collisions, injuries and deaths at crossings and along rail property,” said Joyce Rose, OLI’s president and CEO. “Through our partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, these grade crossing safety education activities will help us reach critical audiences in many of the states where these incidents are most prevalent.”
The Federal Highway Administration, a national partner and advisor of Operation Lifesaver, provides the funding for this new grant program, which complements similar grant programs with the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration.
“Our rail safety partnership with Operation Lifesaver is very important to FHWA, and we are proud to be a part of the “See Tracks? Think Train!” educational campaign. Safety is our number one priority at FHWA,” said Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau.
Projects funded by the FHWA grants include:
California Operation Lifesaver will initiate a campaign with billboard and bus advertisements featuring the “See Tracks? Think Train!” safety message in key locations in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties during September, which has been designated Rail Safety Month across the state.
Operation Lifesaver Georgia will air the “See Tracks? Think Train!” radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) throughout the state.
Illinois will work with Metra Commuter Rail to place “See Tracks? Think Train!” banners on the outside of commuter rail cars and on electronic signs in the Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago.
Indiana will target communities along the Jeffersonville to Indianapolis rail corridor with outreach to schools, truck driver and driver education organizations, “See Tracks? Think Train!” radio PSAs on iHeart Radio stations, signage at crossings, and law enforcement safety blitzes.
Michigan’s project involves creating and distributing a booklet detailing crossing safety laws, including the “See Tracks? Think Train!” graphics and message, to law enforcement agencies, judges and prosecutors across the state.
Minnesota plans a multi-faceted approach that will incorporate “See Tracks? Think Train!” PSAs and messages at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul, the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth, the Minnesota State Fair, and at an event with the Minnesota Towards Zero Deaths Coalition, among other venues.
Ohio will conduct targeted “See Tracks? Think Train!” billboard, online and radio advertising in communities along rail corridors experiencing increased freight rail traffic.
Oregon will reach professional truck drivers by distributing safety brochures and visor cards through the state’s Department of Transportation; in addition, they will air radio and television PSAs on Spanish language stations across the state.
South Carolina will target schools throughout the state in close proximity to train tracks with a plan to distribute “See Tracks? Think Train!” materials and PSAs to students and school activity bus drivers.
Texas will conduct a 60-day digital truck stop ad campaign at truck stops targeting CDL drivers of tractor-trailers and large trucks along Texas freight corridors in the South and Southeast.
Utah will purchase “See Tracks? Think Train!” TV and movie theater ads to combat dangerous driver behavior at railroad crossings, and distribute posters to school districts and trucking companies.
Wisconsin conducted a statewide Rail Safety Week effort using the “See Tracks? Think Train!” radio and billboard ads that included safety blitzes, social media and other events.
The 13 approved grants were awarded through a competitive process. Selections were made by a panel of safety experts using criteria including successfully leveraging the federal funds with private partnerships, targeted messaging and frequency of highway-rail collisions.
Operation Lifesaver plans to announce the results of a similar grant program for rail transit safety education projects this fall.
WASHINGTON, DC – Operation Lifesaver, Inc.(OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced that $205,000 in grants will be awarded to 13 state Operation Lifesaver programs for a variety of rail crossing safety and anti-trespassing public education projects. Most of the projects will incorporate public service announcements (PSAs) from the nonprofit safety group’s “See Tracks? Think Train!” public awareness campaign.
The grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah; individual grant awards will range from $1,875 to $20,000.
“The grants will fund a wide variety of projects to expand the reach of our ongoing safety campaign and further Operation Lifesaver’s mission of eliminating collisions, injuries and deaths at crossings and along rail property,” said Joyce Rose, OLI’s president and CEO. “Thanks to our partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, these activities will help raise awareness of the dangers near tracks and trains in many of the top states for these incidents.”
The Federal Railroad Administration, a national partner and advisor of Operation Lifesaver, provides the funding for the grants.
“Safety is our number one priority at FRA, and we are proud to be a part of the “See Tracks? Think Train!” educational campaign and this important grant program,” said Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg.
State programs will use the grants for a variety of efforts, including “See Tracks? Think Train!” PSA placements in movie theaters, on television, radio and billboards; digital media outreach; and conducting community events and rail safety enforcement blitzes. Both rail crossing safety and trespass prevention will be addressed by the state programs managing these projects.
The approved grants were awarded through a competitive process. Selections were made by a panel of railroad safety experts using criteria such as successfully leveraging the federal funds with private partnerships, targeted messaging and the frequency of pedestrian-train incidents and highway-rail collisions.
Rose noted that Operation Lifesaver plans to announce the results of similar grant programs for rail crossing safety and rail transit safety education projects later this year.