Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) has awarded more than $140,000 in grant funds to eight transit agencies in six states for rail transit safety public awareness and education projects and campaigns. The approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, based upon criteria such as key safety messages, target audiences and evaluation methods.
The selected grantees and their projects are:
- Brightline Trains Florida, Miami, Fla., will launch a digital safety campaign targeted for Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Brevard Counties in advance of the introduction of intercity passenger rail service.
- Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), Charlotte, N.C., will undertake a digital ad campaign targeting drivers and pedestrians aged 18-54 to decrease the number of incidents that occur due to people turning onto the tracks and trespassing along the LYNX Blue Line light rail system.
- Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, Texas, will provide direct outreach to educate the public in schools, homeless facilities and other transit-oriented businesses along its operating routes to help reduce the number of light rail collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and trespassers.
- Hampton Roads Transit, Hampton, Va., will promote light rail safety awareness and education within the Downtown Norfolk corridor via signage, train wraps, digital media campaigns, giveaways and community meetings.
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)/South Coast Rail, Boston, Mass., will implement a public education program to include community outreach and multilingual safety materials in advance of the resumption of South Coast Rail commuter service in southeastern Massachusetts at the end of 2023.
- MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New York, N.Y., will create new materials featuring Safety Sam, the commuter railroad’s T.R.A.C.K.S. Safety education programs superhero mascot, to distribute at school events, reinforcing rail safety messaging to pre-K, elementary and middle school children.
- Metro-North Railroad, New York, N.Y., will develop a promotional campaign including customized rail safety themed items to distribute in schools during events and in other settings to include promotional posters, takeaways and other materials, offering prizes as well as social media messaging.
- SunRail, Sanford, Fla., will conduct train safety research to support updating the state’s new driver education materials with vital information on recently implemented railroad crossing safety measures.
“Congratulations to these eight transit agencies, whose grant projects will bring targeted, creative public outreach campaigns to their communities for people driving and walking near commuter trains, light rail or streetcars,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “OLI is fortunate to receive funding for these grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA),” she stated.
“FTA's continuing support to Operation Lifesaver is essential for rail transit safety education and outreach," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “We are proud to support these creative projects that will help raise awareness about the importance of safety around rail lines among transit riders and others in their communities.”
The grant amounts range between $7,400 to $20,000 and require each agency to provide a 25 percent match. The educational campaigns will use OLI-approved materials and logos.