OLI, FRA award safety grants in 16 states

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor, Railway Track & Structures; and Engineering Editor, Railway Age
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Photo: Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver, Inc., organizations in 16 states have been awarded grants that will be used to fund a variety of crossing safety and trespass prevention education efforts.

The grants, which were awarded in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), total more than $200,000 with individual awards ranging between $1,800 and $20,000. The grants will benefit OLI programs in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and South Dakota.

“We must continue to target grade-crossing and trespasser deaths with an unrelenting commitment toward zero tolerance,” says FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “Educating the motoring and pedestrian public about how to be safe near railroad tracks is a never-ending task that will help reduce risk while enhancing safety.”

OLI say the funds will support education projects being held in conjunction with Rail Safety Week, which will be observed in the U.S. and Canada from Sept. 23-29, 2018. The theme of this year’s Rail Safety Week is “Stop Track Tragedies.”

OLI Interim President Wende Corcoran said, “These grants, which fund innovative community outreach and education projects, are an important part of Operation Lifesaver’s ongoing rail safety efforts in 16 states across the U.S., in support of our mission to eliminate collisions, injuries and deaths at crossings and along rail property. We are grateful to our safety partners at the Federal Railroad Administration for their assistance, which will help raise public awareness of the need for safe behavior around tracks and trains.”

The state OLI recipients of the grants plan to use the funds for a variety of campaigns including television and radio advertising, geofencing campaigns, as well as various targeted campaigns based on geography, driving ability, occupation and other demographics. A full list of efforts can be found on OLI’s website.

Corcoran noted that the approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, with selection based on criteria such as successfully leveraging the federal funds with private partnerships, targeted messaging and the frequency of pedestrian-rail incidents and highway-rail collisions.

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