Tag Archives: FRA

USA: FRA launches updated website

17 Mar

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has today launched a redesigned website to serve as a one-stop shop to help road vehicle drivers, pedestrians, and law enforcement officers stay safe around the nation’s more than 200,000 railroad crossings and 140,000 miles of track.  The new railroad crossing portal is part of the agency’s ongoing campaign to reduce fatalities at railroad crossings and tracks to zero by building partnerships that increase education, step up enforcement, and leverage engineering.

“Railroad crossings are in nearly every city and town across America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Preventing fatalities at crossings and on tracks takes innovative solutions, increased enforcement actions, and robust safety education efforts.  FRA’s new website is an important tool to help us achieve our goal of zero deaths at crossings and along tracks.”

FRA data show that 96% of rail-related fatalities, most of which are preventable, are the result of incidents at railroad crossings and by trespassers.  That’s why the new FRA portal has more interactive features with downloadable fact sheets on safety and a resource library that is easy to navigate.  The site makes accessing information about railroad crossing safety and trespass prevention more streamlined, with a focus on education.

“Ending fatalities at railroad crossings and by trespassers is not a goal FRA can achieve with just another regulation or rule.  It will take a strong commitment from everyone – law enforcement, regulators, railroads, and motorists who drive over railroad track every day – and better education,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.  “Providing information on a clean, user friendly, and interactive website will help people stay safe around railroad crossings and tracks and get us one step closer to stopping these preventable deaths.”

Last year, FRA launched a new, comprehensive campaign to reverse the uptick in fatalities at railroad crossings.  The campaign includes partnering with Google and other tech companies to use FRA data that pinpoints the country’s approximately 200,000 railroad crossings to add crossing alerts to map applications.  FRA has also worked with local law enforcement to increase enforcement around railroad crossings.  In 2015, 244 individuals died at railroad crossings, down from 264 in 2014.

Last month, the FRA awarded nearly USD 10 million in grants for nine projects in eight states to upgrade and increase the safety of railroad crossings along energy routes.  In addition, FRA Administrator Feinberg highlighted the importance of partnerships between the states and railroads in her letter to state DOTs urging them to conduct inspections with railroads on traffic lights connected to railroad crossings.  Furthermore, funds available to states through the Federal Highway Administration’s Section 130 Program, which provides funds for the elimination of hazards at railway-highway crossings, will increase to USD350 million from USD220 million in 2016.

New York, NY: Feds launch safety review after crossing collision

3 Aug

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has launched a comprehensive, focused safety review of the New York & Atlantic Railway’s (NY&AR) safety culture and management practices. This follows FRA’s launch of an investigation into the July 8th, 2015, train-truck collision at Maspeth Avenue in Queens, New York. NY&AR has committed their full cooperation as the safety review moves forward.

The safety analysis conducted by FRA will review NY&AR’s compliance with federal regulations, its operational practices and its overall safety culture. The safety analysis team will be composed of multiple-discipline safety inspectors from FRA Region 1.

“Rail safety is a responsibility DOT shares with the operators,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “Railroads must adhere to the strict standards of safety set by FRA, and FRA must ensure and enforce compliance in order to protect lives. This safety review aims to do just that.”

FRA’s rail safety team will look at:

  • NY&AR operating departments;
  • Engineer and conductor certification;
  • Locomotive engineer oversight;
  • Grade crossings diagnostics;
  • Operation control center procedures and rail traffic controller training;
  • Human factors; and
  • Compliance with federal operating practices regulations.

“In this safety sweep of NY&AR, FRA will provide recommendations on specific areas where the railroad must improve to meet the high safety standards FRA and the country expect,” Acting FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg said.

Once the focused safety review is complete, FRA will issue a report that includes findings and recommendations. FRA will also evaluate NY&AR’s follow-up to the recommendations and determine if additional actions are necessary to strengthen safety at NY&AR

Encinitas, CA: Federal grant funding of USD 2.2 million secured

12 May

LXinfoImage1286The Federal Railroad Administration is providing a USD 2.2 million grant, half of the USD 4.4 million required to upgrade a level crossing in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in Encinitas, San Diego County. The funding to match the Federal grant will be funded from the voter approved 1/2 cent sales tax levied regionally. The grant and matched funding will be used to improve the busy Chesterfield Drive level crossing which links roads running parallel on both sides of the railway.

The application for funding was made by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) which will project manage the upgrade. While the active crossing controls are being replaced, improvements to benefit pedestrians and cyclists will be made. The level crossing controls will be linked to traffic lights in the vicinity to overlay an additional control.

The level crossing works are planned to be implemented at the same time as a USD 76.7 million project to double-track the railway, with construction expected in 2016.

USA: Operation Lifesaver asks Who’s with us?

20 Mar

 

Reproduced below is the latest blog post from Operation Lifesaver in the USA

Who’s with us?

Recent high-profile crossing crashes have called attention to the need for rail safety education.

The numbers are in. And they aren’t good. 

The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) preliminary 2014 rail safety statistics show that railroad crossing collisions rose more than eight percent, crossing-related deaths increased by 15.6 percent and pedestrian rail trespassing deaths jumped by a staggering 22 percent from 2013 to 2014. The only decreases in the national numbers were for injuries from crossing incidents (14 percent) and trespassing (two percent). 

These increases may not be surprising, if you’ve been following news reports documenting a number of tragic incidents in recent months. In the U.S., a person or car is hit by a train every three hours: that stark statistic is starting to sink in with the public and the media. 

While government safety experts review the causes of these crossing or trespass incidents, we know that education plays a critical role in reducing deaths and injuries near railroad tracks. As the nation’s leading nonprofit rail safety education organization, here’s what Operation Lifesaver is doing to help bring down the numbers of incidents, injuries and deaths in 2015:

• Our network of volunteers stand ready to provide FREE safety presentations across the country, to schools, driver ed classes, trucking companies, school bus drivers, first responders, and other interested groups that would benefit from information and customized training on how to be safe at crossings and near railroad tracks.

• Operation Lifesaver provides safety resources for all at www.oli.org, including e-Learning programs for professional truck and bus drivers, safety tips for motorists and pedestrians, videos for kids, and much more.

• We are continuing our See Tracks? Think Train! public awareness campaign with a new video that is sure to capture the attention of our target audiences. 

Here’s what YOU can do to help us attack this public safety problem:

• If you are passionate about helping to reduce crossing and trespass incidents, volunteer with Operation Lifesaver in your state. 

Request a free safety presentation. 

Share our stories with your social networks.

We’re only a few months into 2015, and while there have already been several high-profile rail crossing and trespass incidents with tragic outcomes, we can still make a difference.  

Let’s join forces to ensure the 2015 statistics aren’t so grim. This time next year, let’s look at the numbers and together take pride in their decline.

Who’s with us?

USA: Crossing and trespass fatalities increase in 2014. Operation Lifesaver comments

11 Mar

LXinfoImage1235-See tracks think trainLevel crossing fatalities increased from 231 to 267 year on year, a rise of 15.6% in 2014 while collisions with road vehicles on level crossings showed an increase of 8.8% which took the 2014 figure to 2,280 which equates to a train-vehicle collision once every 3hrs 50mins. Trespasser fatalities increased from 432 to 526 in 2014, a 21.8% increase.

Operation Lifesaver has responded promptly to the release of 2014 statistics showing increase in the number of level crossing fatalities and trespass fatalities in the USA.

Joyce Rose, the President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver Inc said “The statistics show that challenges remain in our mission to educate a busy, distracted public about the need for caution at train tracks,”

“These preliminary 2014 statistics demonstrate the continuing need to raise public awareness through our national ‘See Tracks? Think Train!’ campaign,” Rose continued. “Operation Lifesaver, in partnership with major freight railroads, commuter and light rail systems, state and local law enforcement, and transportation agencies, will be expanding the campaign and developing new educational materials to encourage Americans to make safe decisions around tracks and trains,” she concluded.

USA: Feds push for more awareness raising and enforcement

11 Mar

As part of its ongoing effort to improve safety at railroad grade crossings, the Federal Railroad Administration has announced the first step in a new, multi-faceted campaign aimed at strengthening enforcement and safety awareness at grade crossings.

The first phase of this effort calls upon local law enforcement agencies to show a greater presence at grade crossings, issue citations to drivers that violate rules of the road at crossings and consider rapid implementation of best practices for grade crossing safety.

The next phase of FRA’s efforts to improve safety at grade crossings will aim to employ smarter uses of technology, increase public awareness of grade crossing safety, including distracted driving, improve signage, work closer in partnership with states and local safety agencies, and call for new funding for greater safety at grade crossings.

“Recent accidents in New York and California are important reminders of our shared challenge to both educate the public about grade crossing safety, and to enforce appropriate behavior around railroad operations,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Grade crossing and trespassing accidents are serious challenges to maintaining public safety. Every three hours of every day, someone is hit by a train in the United States and we must do all we can to heighten public awareness, strengthen enforcement efforts and pioneer new technologies to better secure public safety.”

There are 250,711 grade crossings in the United States; about 51% of those are public-at-grade crossings. Only half of all public grade crossings have automatic-warning systems and only a third have flashing lights and gates. Approximately 15% of all grade crossings are grade separated – the safest of all crossings – meaning railroad traffic is completely separated from vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

States and localities have traditionally played the most significant role in determining the type of warning system present at grade crossings, with most system decisions determined by traffic levels. Upgrades to existing grade crossings are also the responsibility of states and local communities. Under federal law and regulations, railroads are responsible for inspecting, testing, and maintaining highway-rail grade crossings. The FRA issues and enforces regulations on crossing safety, issues guidance on best practices and conducts research on ways to improve crossings safety.

Additionally, the federal government provides more than $287.9 million annually to states to help improve and enhance safety at public grade crossings.

“The reality is that while the overall number of deaths and injuries from grade crossing incidents has come down significantly over the last two decades, this remains a serious problem. We can and should be doing everything we possibly can to keep drivers, pedestrians, and train crews and passengers safe at grade crossings,” said Sarah Feinberg, Acting Administrator at the Federal Railroad Administration. “In addition to this renewed outreach to law enforcement, FRA will take a fresh look at our grade crossing programs and activities.”

Facts on grade crossings:

    • 239 people were killed and 763 people were injured in grade crossing incidents in 2014.
    • In Fiscal Year 2014 the top ten states with the most grade crossing accidents in ranking order include: Texas; California; Illinois; Indiana; Georgia; Alabama; Louisiana; Ohio; Florida; Tennessee.
    • The FRA, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and State Departments of Transportation have worked together with railroads to close more than 18,000 grade crossings nationwide since 2008.
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USA: Updated compendium of state rules and standards published

24 Apr

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has this week released an up-to-date look at the rules and regulations that help police the Nation’s roughly 250,523 highway-rail grade crossings. The Sixth Edition of the Compilation of State Laws and Regulations Affecting Highway-Rail Grade Crossings gathers the laws and regulations of the 50 states and the District of Columbia that address level crossings into one easy-to-use document.

Each chapter presents a different subject area and contains an introductory overview of the subject area. Subject areas covered include: Crossing Consolidations and Closures and Crossing Treatment Procedures; Private Crossings; Blocked Crossings; Active, Passive and Train Borne Warning Devices; Driver Action; Slow, Low, and Special Vehicles; Trespassing; Vandalism; Vegetation Clearance; and Photographic Monitoring and Enforcement.

The Compilation of State Laws and Regulations Affecting Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, (Sixth Edition) can be viewed here. http://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0693.

In an effort to reduce printing cost we will not be printing these. The Compilation of State Laws and Regulations Affecting Highway-Rail Grade Crossings are available in:
Universal Web Version
Downloadable PDF Version
Apple iPhone App (Anticipating a release date of May 1st, 2014. The app is currently undergoing final testing and awaiting Apple approval)