Further, NJ Transit will be piloting “gate skirts” at the Aberdeen-Matawan NJ Transit rail station, providing a second physical barrier to thwart trespassers who often “duck” under the crossing gates at this specific location. Aberdeen-Matawan is one of four stations of enforcement focus (including Walnut Street in Montclair, Convent Station in Morris Township and Radburn Station in Fair Lawn) with a high rate of trespasser activity; all of whom will be the subject of increased, visual police enforcement through this initiative.
“As our engineers, conductors and police officers will tell you, children are not the only ones guilty of making such poor choices — their parents are often the ones setting the example,” said Executive Director James Weinstein. “That’s why this Committee elected not to sugarcoat the message, and elected to speak honestly and directly to parents and children through these substantive actions and tough new advertisements. I commend the Commissioner and the Committee for taking these important steps — which will ultimately save lives.”
At the direction of Commissioner Simpson, the Committee was tasked with developing strategies in the areas of Engineering, Enforcement and Education in order to ramp up safety across the State’s rail network, particularly in areas where trains travel through densely populated neighborhoods.
Immediate actions implemented included the implementation of the Trespasser Intrusion Program (T.I.P.), requiring locomotive engineers, train crew members and other field personnel to identify and report patterns of trespasser activity to enable law enforcement officials to respond appropriately. A new educational video entitled “It’s Your Choice” was also created for use in the education program, which includes first-person testimony from impacted NJ Transit employees as well as surveillance footage taken from the four railroad crossings cited above for enforcement purposes.
Additional educational tactics implemented included the creation of a safety message, safety tips and a YouTube video for the njtransit.com home page; utilizing social media tactics to influence teens and young adults; issuing safety alerts via My Transit, which sends travel information directly to customers’ emails or web-enabled mobile devices; and creating a safety bumper sticker to place on all NJ Transit non-revenue vehicles. With today’s release of the new public service announcements, all of the original proposed educational tactics have been successfully implemented.
Committee representatives are currently working on additional initiatives that will be unveiled in the coming months. This includes further development of a Safety Summit involving community leaders, and representatives from groups such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Scout Clubs will be invited. As part of the planned Summit, tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2012, NJ Transit Police, Rail, Bus and Light Rail operations leaders will further illustrate the dangers associated with poor choices at railroad crossings while further building community and stakeholder support to save lives.