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/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 FRA, 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.