Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh, on April 25 announced $214,075 in competitive crossing safety awareness grants to OLI programs in 12 states. The FHWA provided $200,000 of the total funding.
The FHWA-funded grants, which will be used for a variety of crossing safety public education projects and campaigns that will encompass Rail Safety Week, September 18-24, 2023, will be awarded to OLI organizations in California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Funding from the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh, OLI says, will supplement the Missouri Operation Lifesaver grant project.
According to OLI, the approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, with selection based on criteria such as the defined safety need, the number of highway-rail collisions in the state, and how the proposal leverages federal funds with private partnerships.
Projects funded by the FHWA grants include:
- California Operation Lifesaver will conduct a rail safety education digital ad campaign using geofencing, Connected TV (CTV) and streaming radio in the top 13 counties for grade crossing incidents to reach a range of audiences including homeless populations, commuter rail passengers, business districts, sports arenas and colleges as well as freight and passenger rail corridors.
- Indiana Operation Lifesaver plans a multifaceted crossing safety campaign aimed at commuters and communities with commuter service to include responsive digital ads on social media, transit station videos and posters, train wraps and in-train signage as well as targeted safety presentations, law enforcement safety blitzes and college-focused outreach.
- Minnesota Operation Lifesaver’s project will expand the audience and reach of the organization’s new professional driver videos by creating Spanish and Somali voice-over versions, distributing the translated videos to 650 Minnesota companies, adding the new videos to the state’s website and running social media ads with excerpts of the videos to reach these native speakers.
- Mississippi Operation Lifesaver’s campaign will run during September and encompasses billboards in key locations with proximity to railroad crossings as well as social media advertising to underscore the rail safety message for drivers and pedestrians.
- Missouri Operation Lifesaver will use funding from the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh and FHWA for an ad campaign to include display ads starting in July with support on state media networks as well as concentrated radio and social media ads during Rail Safety Week.
- New Jersey Operation Lifesaver will run a targeted digital mobile ad and geofencing/geofarming campaign throughout September to reach drivers in key counties with rail safety messaging.
- North Carolina Operation Lifesaver and South Carolina Operation Lifesaver are partnering for a combined “Heart of the Carolinas” radio ad campaign to reach Carolina Panthers football fans across the two states during home games throughout the 2023 season as well as at in-person booth events at the team’s Charlotte, NC stadium and Spartanburg, SC training facility.
- Ohio Operation Lifesaver’s campaign, which will feature streaming video public service announcements introduced by Cincinnati Bengals starting linebacker Logan Wilson, will run from July through September.
- Tennessee Operation Lifesaver will partner with the Tennessee Central Railroad Museum in Nashville to refurbish the Tennessee program’s caboose inside and out with rail safety messaging, video displays and educational information for use as a static display in the museum as well as a traveling billboard on museum excursion rides.
- Texas Operation Lifesaver’s project will focus on reaching professional truck drivers near the Port of Houston with a Rail Safety Week campaign to include digital audio safety messaging as drivers enter ports-of-call, distributing rail safety visor cards as drivers enter the port, providing safety materials to Port Terminal Railroad police and social media messaging throughout the state.
- Washington Operation Lifesaver will share the rail safety message to drivers and pedestrians in key locations throughout the state with a campaign to include digital geofencing, display ads and social media messaging from July through September as well as billboards in select locations during September.
“FHWA is proud to support the work of OLI by providing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for these and other highway rail crossing safety efforts across the U.S.,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “OLI is keeping drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians safe in areas where roads and railways intersect by raising awareness and providing education and is helping us reach our goal of zero deaths.”
“The Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh is committed to helping states share the rail safety message and save lives,” said Posner Foundation Executive Director Anne Marie Toccket. “We invite others to join us in partnering with OLI.”
“Congratulations to the winning state programs, who will use this funding on public outreach and education to help make their communities safer,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “A record number of state OLI programs applied for the FHWA competitive crossing safety awareness grants, showing their enthusiasm for sharing the rail safety education message. Our continued partnerships with the FHWA and the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh help make these critical rail safety projects possible across the U.S.”