Six transit agencies in four states have been awarded a total of $107,000 in grant funds from Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) for rail transit safety public awareness and education projects and campaigns.
The winning projects include initiatives in communities with operating or planned rail transit systems such as commuter rail, light rail, subway and streetcar service.
“Operation Lifesaver, Inc. congratulates these transit agencies on their grant awards, which will facilitate creative campaigns focusing on keeping the public safe when driving or walking near commuter trains, light rail or streetcars,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “We are extremely grateful to our safety partners at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for recognizing the need and providing funding for this grant program. We also appreciate the American Public Transportation Association for spreading the word about the availability of the rail transit safety grant program among its member organizations.”
The selected grantees of the funding and their projects include:
- Brightline Trains Florida, Miami, Fla., will connect with hard-to-reach individuals, including underserved youth and community members suffering from homelessness, by offering a free haircut while providing them with rail safety education and securing their signature on a safety pledge card.
- Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New York, N.Y., will hold a contest to create a LIRR Safety Super Hero through its school outreach program, T.R.A.C.K.S. (Together Railroads and Communities Keeping Safe). The theme of the contest is “Safety Along the Tracks,” and entries can be submitted via email, with all winning entries used to promote LIRR safety. Grades K – 5 will name the LIRR Safety Super Hero and grades 6 – 8 will draw/design the look of the new Safety Super Hero. School award ceremonies will be conducted for the winners. Social media and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority website will feature the contest and announce the winners.
- Metro-North Railroad, New York, N.Y., will conduct two campaigns. One will expand upon a previously awarded grant project with customized rail safety passport books for students in grades pre-K – 12; the second will create customized rail safety “scratch offs” for adult audiences. Both initiatives will incorporate the OLI “See Tracks? Think Train!” campaign.
- Metro Transit, Minneapolis, Minn., will raise awareness towards reducing light-rail transit collisions with motorists and pedestrians through billboards, bus ads, vehicle interior cards, social media and online banner ads.
- New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) streetcar, New Orleans, La., will launch a multi-pronged public outreach safety campaign to address unsafe pedestrian activities and behaviors as well as left-turn streetcar-vehicle collisions.
- SunRail, Sanford, Fla., will conduct a “Safety is For Everyone” campaign promoting rail safety awareness to include individuals with developmental disabilities, vision difficulties, and hearing difficulties through specialized rail safety education materials and messaging.
“Safety is the top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. FTA is proud to partner with Operation Lifesaver to support these innovative projects that will help increase safety on rail transit,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “FTA has long supported rail transit safety education and outreach efforts. Through these grants, we are making a difference and saving lives.”
The grant amounts range between $7,000 to $20,000 and require each agency to provide a 25 percent match. The educational campaigns will use OLI-approved materials and logos. The approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, based upon criteria such as key safety messages, target audiences and evaluation methods.