Tag Archives: Operation Lifesaver USA

USA: Operation Lifesaver announces grants to state programmes

12 Aug

LXinfoImage782-OLrailsafetyeducationlogoOperation Lifesaver in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) , announced more than USD 200,000 in grants to 13 State Operation Lifesaver programmes for a variety of level crossing safety public education projects, in conjunction with the nonprofit safety group’s ongoing “See Tracks? Think Train!” public awareness campaign.

The grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in California, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. These state programs will use the funding to spread “See Tracks? Think Train!” safety messages via television, radio, billboards, sporting events and movie theatre advertising;  create eye-catching displays for public education at large events; and target students, school bus drivers, Spanish-speaking populations and the news media to raise awareness about the dangers near tracks and trains.

“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, operation Lifesaver’s President and CEO. “Through our partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, these grade crossing safety education activities will help us reach critical audiences in many of the states where these incidents are most prevalent.”

The Federal Highway Administration, a national partner and advisor of Operation Lifesaver, provides the funding for this new grant programme, which complements similar grant programmes with the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

LXinfoImage1235-See tracks think train“Our rail safety partnership with Operation Lifesaver is very important to FHWA, and we are proud to be a part of the “See Tracks? Think Train!” educational campaign. Safety is our number one priority at FHWA,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau.

Projects funded by the FHWA grants include:

  • California Operation Lifesaver will initiate a campaign with billboard and bus advertisements featuring the “See Tracks? Think Train!” safety message in key locations in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties during September, which has been designated Rail Safety Month across the state.
  • Operation Lifesaver Georgia will air the “See Tracks? Think Train!” radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) throughout the state.
  • Illinois will work with Metra Commuter Rail to place “See Tracks? Think Train!” banners on the outside of commuter rail cars and on electronic signs in the Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago.
  • Indiana will target communities along the Jeffersonville to Indianapolis rail corridor with outreach to schools, truck driver and driver education organisations, “See Tracks? Think Train!” radio PSAs on iHeart Radio stations, signage at crossings, and law enforcement safety blitzes.
  • Michigan’s project involves creating and distributing a booklet detailing crossing safety laws, including the “See Tracks? Think Train!” graphics and message, to law enforcement agencies, judges and prosecutors across the state.
  • Minnesota plans a multi-faceted approach that will incorporate “See Tracks? Think Train!” PSAs and messages at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul, the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth, the Minnesota State Fair, and at an event with the Minnesota Towards Zero Deaths Coalition, among other venues.
  • Ohio will conduct targeted “See Tracks? Think Train!” billboard, online and radio advertising in communities along rail corridors experiencing increased freight rail traffic.
  • Oregon will reach professional truck drivers by distributing safety brochures and visor cards through the state’s Department of Transportation; in addition, they will air radio and television PSAs on Spanish language stations across the state.
  • South Carolina will target schools throughout the state in close proximity to train tracks with a plan to distribute “See Tracks? Think Train!” materials and PSAs to students and school activity bus drivers.
  • Texas will conduct a 60-day digital truck stop ad campaign at truck stops targeting CDL drivers of tractor-trailers and large trucks along Texas freight corridors in the South and Southeast.
  • Utah will purchase “See Tracks? Think Train!” TV and movie theater ads to combat dangerous driver behaviour at level crossings, and distribute posters to school districts and trucking companies.
  • Wisconsin conducted a statewide Rail Safety Week effort using the “See Tracks? Think Train!” radio and billboard ads that included safety blitzes, social media and other events.

The 13 approved grants were awarded through a competitive process. Selections were made by a panel of safety experts using criteria including successfully leveraging the federal funds with private partnerships, targeted messaging and frequency of highway-rail collisions.

Operation Lifesaver plans to announce the results of a similar grant program for rail transit safety education projects in the autumn
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USA: Operation Lifesaver launches transit safety initiative

30 Sep

LXinfoImage929-FTA logoLXinfoImage782-OLrailsafetyeducationlogoWashington, DC’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Operation Lifesaver has launched a joint Look, Listen, Be Safe! campaign to educate students and their families about streetcar safety. The campaign is aimed at helping students be safe when interacting with Washington, DC’s new Streetcar system that will begin operation later this year.

Educator toolkits featuring grade-specific lesson plans, activity sheets, posters and parent take-home letters were delivered to K-12 schools along the new Streetcar corridor throughout September. The in-school educational materials were funded by a USD25,000 grant from Operation Lifesaver to DDOT last year, as part of an ongoing partnership between Operation Lifesaver and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). DDOT was one of eight transit agencies to receive an Operation Lifesaver grant in 2013 with funding from FTA.

“Educating students and families will help make safe behavior around the new DC Streetcar system an automatic habit for citizens,” said Joyce Rose, President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver in the USA. “We are happy that our grant will help deliver this lifesaving information to these community schools.”

The DC Streetcar Educator Tool Kit materials, as well as materials from additional OLI-funded passenger rail safety projects, can be viewed on the Operation Lifesaver website at http://www.oli.org/rail-safety/transit-materials.

With support from FTA, Operation Lifesaver provides grants to state Operation Lifesaver programmes and transit agencies to support local partnerships for the development and implementation of creative safety programmes and materials to help keep those in their communities safer.

“The Federal Transit Administration is pleased to partner once again with Operation Lifesaver,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “As more and more communities around the nation choose to build light rail, streetcars, and other transit services that operate alongside pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, we must continue to educate everyone on the importance of putting safety first.”

To compete for Operation Lifesaver transit education grants of up to USD25,000, transit agencies are required to meet a 25% non-federally funded match, their proposed programmes must focus on safety education or public awareness initiatives, and they must make use of Operation Lifesaver-approved materials and logos and be coordinated through a state Operation Lifesaver programme.

Operation Lifesaver recently announced eleven grant winners in 10 states for 2014, including: Sacramento Regional Transit District, CA.; City of Atlanta, GA.; Rio Metro Regional Transit District, Albuquerque, NM.; Illinois Operation Lifesaver/Metra, Greater Chicago; Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), TX; New Jersey Transit, Greater Newark; Bi-State Development Agency (Metro) greater St Louis area, MO.; Fort Worth Transportation Authority/The T,TX; Ohio Operation Lifesaver/Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA); Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Greater Salt Lake City; and, Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ..

United States: Scott Sauer joins board of directors

30 Aug

LXInfoImage1194-Scott Sauer OL DirectorScott Sauer, Director of System Safety and Risk Management for the South-eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is now a member of the Operation Lifesaver Inc (OL)., board of directors.

With a master’s degree in environmental protection and safety management from St. Joseph’s University, Sauer brings more than 23 years of operational and safety experience in the transit industry. He is also a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and World Safety Organization Certified Safety and Security Director (WSO-CSSD). In his current role, he is responsible for all corporate safety, environmental compliance, risk management, accident investigation and emergency management activities at SEPTA.

“I have been looking forward to joining the board and giving it the transit perspective,” said Sauer. “With the advent of rail transit and now with 26 states having rail transit operations, it behoves us to get our foot in that door. I see it as an opportunity to expand our reach in that world.”

Sauer has been a part of the Operation Lifesaver fold for many years. He became a presenter (now called Authorized Volunteer) in 2006, and he served as a member of the Pennsylvania Operation Lifesaver board of directors.

“Scott is a dynamic and versatile safety professional,” said Cliff Stayton, OLI board chairman. “He brings a holistic view of safety to the team, and of course, he’s an OLI veteran and a staunch supporter of our mission. He and our other new representatives on the board are bringing new energy and new ideas to the table.”

Sauer replaces Paul O’Brien, former rail services general manager for Utah Transit Authority (UTA). O’Brien had served on the OL board since 2008 and was credited with helping to increase the number of transit volunteers who gave OL presentations. In 2009, UTA employees were responsible for 38% of all OL activities in Utah.

Both Sauer and O’Brien’s OLI board service results from their active participation in and recommendation by the American Public Transportation Association.

“Our representatives on the board come from all facets of the transportation industry, including major freight rail and short lines, engineering, rail supply, government affairs and state Operation Lifesaver programs,” said Joyce Rose, OL President and CEO. “We have made great advancements into the rail transit community and we want to go further. Scott’s appointment helps us to do that.”

Sauer’s first official business will be the board’s November 13th, 2014 meeting in Washington, DC, at which the directors will decide future goals and activities of OL.

Delaware: Operation Lifesaver appoints State Co-ordinator

29 Jul

Drew McCaskey, Operation Lifesaver State Co-ordinator for Delaware

Drew McCaskey, Operation Lifesaver State Co-ordinator for Delaware

Operation Lifesaver has announced the appointment of Drew McCaskey as the State Co-ordinator for Delaware Operation Lifesaver. McCaskey is a marketing coordinator and web manager for DART First State and the Delaware Transit Corporation, a division of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

“Drew has been part of the Operation Lifesaver fold for quite some time,” Joyce Rose President of Operation Lifesaver in the United States said. “He’s been an advocate for transit, handles many OLI-related requests already and brings a wealth of communications experience to the table. So it’s a natural progression for him to come aboard as Doug Andrews, our previous Delaware state coordinator, transitions to his next career endeavour.”

McCaskey has more than 30 years of contracting and engineering experience including the design and construction of transportation systems and has managed projects such as rail station design improvements and construction of rail electrification systems. At DART, he is responsible for creating media campaigns to increase public awareness of transit safety issues, which is a key responsibility of Operation Lifesaver state coordinators.

He also has extensive experience in non-profit management, including five years of service as the New Jersey state public relations representative for Lions Clubs International. He is a civil engineering graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and founder of the Serving Others Ministry.

“Operation Lifesaver’s mission is more critical now than ever,” said McCaskey. “I am thrilled to join the organization in a formal capacity, though I have participated in many OLI presentations and media campaigns. My life commitment is to continually serve others, so I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
Drew can be reached by reached at Drew.McCaskey@state.de.us and @LionDrew on Twitter.

United States: OL & FRA release grants to state programmes

2 Jul

Georrgia, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina billboard

Georrgia, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina billboard

Utah press advert

Utah press advert

North Dakota billboard

North Dakota billboard

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Today, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced more than $200,000 in grants to 12 State Operation Lifesaver programs for a variety of rail crossing safety and anti-trespassing public education projects and public service announcements around the country.
Operation Lifesaver organizations in Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin will use the grants to establish programmees and broadcast public safety messages on television, radio and in cinemas; erect billboards on distracted driving; target outdoor sportsman and Spanish-language speakers and create new rail safety products and presentations.

“Our state coordinators proposed some very exciting initiatives to help further Operation Lifesaver’s mission of eliminating collisions, injuries and deaths at crossings and along rail property,” said Joyce Rose, OL’s president and CEO. “These projects will go a long way toward increasing the number of eyes and ears that receive our message. When you see one, tweet us at @olinational. We want to hear from you.”

The FRA, a national partner and advisor of OL, provides the funding for these grants.
“Safety is our highest priority,” said Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator. “While the number of grade crossing incidents over the last decade decreased by nearly 34% nationally, fatalities at highway rail crossings and trespassing continue to constitute a 95% of all rail-related deaths. The FRA is committed to working with our partner Operation Lifesaver to continuously improve safety at highway-rail grade crossings.”

Examples of the projects funded by the FRA grants include:
• Four Operation Lifesaver programmes, in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio, banded together to place billboards along highways near major rail corridors that caution drivers against using any electronic devices while driving. This behaviour is often a major factor in vehicle-train collisions. The billboards will supplement radio public service announcements (PSAs), buttressing the rail safety message.
• Louisiana’s sugarcane season is in full swing, and the state’s Operation Lifesaver programme has developed PSAs, publications, signage and presentations aimed at farmers, truck drivers, and mill workers involved in the sugarcane harvest, to heighten awareness of railroad crossing hazards and the dangers of trespassing on railroad tracks.
• Utah Operation Lifesaver partnered with its state Division of Natural Resources to purchase advertising space in publications targeting hunters, fishermen and recreational vehicles drivers. North Dakota Operation Lifesaver, now contending with booming commercial truck traffic due to oil extraction from Bakken shale, will use graphic images and messages in a variety of formats targeting professional truck drivers.
• Some projects target younger audiences, such as in Maine, which will provide middle school students with rail safety puzzles. Others, such as in Oregon, will ensure that the large Latino community hears the rail safety message on Willamette Valley’s Spanish-language radio station.

The 17 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 ability of the program to quickly roll out an initiative over the summer.

Operation Lifesaver plans to announce the results of a similar grant programme for rail transit safety education projects in early August.

Washington, DC: US Senate confirms Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation

28 Jun

LXinfoImage1176-Anthony Foxx, Secretary of TransportationThe US Senate has unanimously confirmed former Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new Secretary of Transportation Thursday, June 27, 2013, succeeding Ray LaHood. Mr Foxx has a track record of recognising the importance of an effective transport system and is seen as being pro-rail. he appointment has been welcomed by the rail industry, trades unions and pro-rail lobbyists.

Operation Lifesaver has congratulated Anthony Foxx on his confirmation as Transportation Secretary and said “Secretary Foxx has been a strong defender of transportation safety and as Mayor of Charlotte worked steadfastly at keeping pedestrian and driver safety at the forefront while meeting the growing demands for public transit, passenger and freight rail services.”

“We trust that he will continue to champion safety at the national level, and we look forward to productive cooperation between Operation Lifesaver and the Department of Transportation. We are confident that safety will continue to be an important part of the Department’s initiatives. We pledge our full support on issues that further [Operation Lifesaver’s] mission of eliminating collisions, injuries and deaths at railroad crossings and on rail property.”

“We also bid a fond farewell to Secretary Ray LaHood, with whom we’ve had a valuable working relationship. We wish him all the best as he enters the next chapter of his distinguished career.”

United States: FRA launches new smartphone app

18 Jun

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on June 18th, 2013 announced the launch of an iOS smartphone mobile application, the Rail Crossing Locator, which provides the public with easy access to safety information about the nation’s more than 200,000 level crossings.

“Safety is our highest priority, and at the Department of Transportation, we believe that giving people better information leads to smarter and safer travel,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “With the Rail Crossing Locator, individuals can use a mobile app to access information wherever they are to improve neighbourhood safety and make better personal travel choices.”

The Rail Crossing Locator app works by prompting users to enter a specific location, which then allows them to locate level crossings in their area and retrieve important information, such as the physical characteristics of a crossing and the type of traffic control devices used. The app allows users to report information about level crossings to the FRA to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information is available. This new app is free through Apple’s App Store and can be used on any iPhone or iPad.

Over the past decade, level crossing incidents have declined by 34%, and deaths resulting from these events have fallen 30%. However, while the total number of incidents has been trending downward, collisions at level crossings remain a challenge to safety. Last year alone, level crossing collisions accounted for nearly 20% of all reportable rail accidents and incidents and represented nearly one-third of all rail-related fatalities.

“While we’ve made significant progress in the reduction of highway-grade crossing incidents over the last decade, much more work remains to be done,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “This technology will be one more tool to help us reach our goal of zero fatalities.”

The continuing decline in crossing incidents, injuries and fatalities is attributable to on-going multifaceted public education efforts, engineering approaches to improve level crossing safety and enforcement efforts carried out by FRA, railroads, states, localities with education initiatives through these and other partners, often under the Operation Lifesaver umbrella.