Operation Lifesaver Issues Funds to State Rail Programs

National advocacy organization Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, has issued $200,000 in competitive crossing safety awareness grants to rail safety programs in 10 states.

[Above graphic by OLI]

The FHWA-funded grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The grants will be used for a variety of crossing safety public education projects and campaigns that will encompass the “See Tracks? Think Train!” week-long safety campaign September 23-29 this year.

“These grant funds allow Operation Lifesaver State Programs to expand public outreach and educational efforts, further enhancing safety within their communities,” noted OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh in a statement.

[Editor’s note: The OLI is also concurrently promoting safety awareness when performing work near railroad tracks as well.]

OLI said state safety outreach projects funded by the FHWA’s grants are:

  • Funding a digital railroad crossing advertising campaign in California; targeting 13 counties that have the highest number of incidents and near miss incidents at railroad crossings.
  • Supporting advertising campaigns in Illinois to promote grade crossing safety education from September to November using digital public service advertisements or PSAs, signage on locomotives, streaming videos, and digital display ads. The campaign will include in-person training sessions for key audiences as well as community events in the City of Chicago.
  • Funding a two-month digital campaign in Indiana this September that will include safety messaging through audio, video, and social media, as well as via printed materials distributed in the Indianapolis area; an effort that includes “positive enforcement events” at Indianapolis Colts home football games. Artificial intelligence will be used to maximize campaign performance and attract social media influencers, expanding reach for the project’s rail safety education message, OLI said.
  • Funding for a radio and digital advertising campaign in Missouri targeting drivers and agricultural road users statewide from May through September with an additional campaign in seven counties that account for 70 percent of railroad crossing incidents statewide.
  • Support for an outreach campaign in Western New York with crossing safety messaging that includes bus advertisements, a digital ad campaign, and a crossing safety event from August through September.
  • PSAs in Ohio that feature radio personality Bill Cunningham to air on Cincinnati’s top radio station during Cincinnati Reds baseball pregame radio shows from July through September, also reaching listeners in neighboring states.
  • Support for a campaign in Pennsylvania that will target the top 11 counties in the state for crossing incidents with a digital “Over-the-Top” crossing safety campaign as well as interactive internet display ads from June through September.
  • Funding for projects in South Carolina that target the city of Columbia and the greater Richland County area by sharing railroad safety messaging with college students and other motorists through ads on pizza boxes as well as partnering with local bars to educate the community through giveaways in the months of August and September.
  • Support for a rail safety education campaign in Tennessee that targeting males aged 18 through 40 with audio, video, and social media ads in major metropolitan areas during September and October.
  • Funding a September-long effort in Texas that targets visitors to the annual State Fair with a robust campaign using display ads on websites and connected televisions. Additional advertisements will appear in DART transit stations and trains as well as digital billboards across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

OLI said it awarded those grants 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.

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