OLI awards $214,075 in competitive crossing safety awareness grants for programs in 12 states

April 26, 2023
The grants are being awarded in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh has awarded $214,075 in competitive crossing safety awareness grants to Operation Lifesaver programs in 12 states. The FHWA provided $200,000 of the total funding.

The FHWA-funded grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Funding from the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh will supplement the Missouri Operation Lifesaver grant project. The grants will be used for a variety of crossing safety public education projects and campaigns that will encompass Rail Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, 2023.

“The Federal Highway Administration is proud to support the work of Operation Lifesaver by providing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for these and other highway rail crossing safety efforts across the United States. Operation Lifesaver is keeping drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians safe in areas where roads and railways intersect by raising awareness and providing education and is helping us reach our goal of zero deaths,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt said.

“The Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh is committed to helping states share the rail safety message and save lives. We invite others to join us in partnering with Operation Lifesaver,” said Posner Foundation Executive Director Anne Marie Toccket

“Congratulations to the winning state programs, who will use this funding on public outreach and education to help make their communities safer. A record number of state Operation Lifesaver programs applied for the FHWA competitive crossing safety awareness grants, showing their enthusiasm for sharing the rail safety education message. Our continued partnerships with the Federal Highway Administration and the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh help make these critical rail safety projects possible across the U.S.,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh.

Projects funded by the FHWA grants include:

  • California OLI will conduct a rail safety education digital ad campaign using geofencing, Connected TV (CTV) and streaming radio in the top 13 counties for grade crossing incidents to reach a range of audiences including homeless populations, commuter rail passengers, business districts, sports arenas and colleges, as well as freight and passenger rail corridors.
  • Indiana OLI plans a multifaceted crossing safety campaign aimed at commuters and communities with commuter service to include responsive digital ads on social media, transit station videos and posters, train wraps and in-train signage, as well as targeted safety presentations, law enforcement safety blitzes and college-focused outreach.
  • Minnesota OLI’s project will expand the audience and reach of the organization’s new professional driver videos by creating Spanish and Somali voice-over versions, distributing the translated videos to 650 Minnesota companies, adding the new videos to the state’s website and running social media ads with excerpts of the videos to reach these native speakers.
  • Mississippi OLI’s campaign will run during September and encompasses billboards in key locations with proximity to railroad crossings, as well as social media advertising to underscore the rail safety message for drivers and pedestrians.
  • Missouri OLI will use funding from the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh and FHWA for an ad campaign to include display ads starting in July with support on state media networks, as well as concentrated radio and social media ads during Rail Safety Week.
  • New Jersey OLI will run a targeted digital mobile ad and geofencing/geofarming campaign throughout September to reach drivers in key counties with rail safety messaging.
  • North Carolina OLI and South Carolina OLI are partnering for a combined “Heart of the Carolinas” radio ad campaign to reach Carolina Panthers football fans across the two states during home games throughout the 2023 season, as well as at in-person booth events at the team’s Charlotte, N.C. stadium and Spartanburg, S.C. training facility.
  • Ohio OLI’s campaign, which will feature streaming video public service announcements introduced by Cincinnati Bengals starting linebacker Logan Wilson, will run from July through September.
  • Tennessee OLI will partner with the Tennessee Central Railroad Museum in Nashville to refurbish the Tennessee program’s caboose inside and out with rail safety messaging, video displays and educational information for use as a static display in the museum, as well as a traveling billboard on museum excursion rides.
  • Texas OLI’s project will focus on reaching professional truck drivers near the Port of Houston with a Rail Safety Week campaign to include digital audio safety messaging as drivers enter ports-of-call, distributing rail safety visor cards as drivers enter the port, providing safety materials to Port Terminal Railroad police and social media messaging throughout the state.
  • Washington OLI will share the rail safety message to drivers and pedestrians in key locations throughout the state with a campaign to include digital geofencing, display ads and social media messaging from July through September, as well as billboards in select locations during September.

The approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, with selection based on criteria such as the defined safety need, the number of highway-rail collisions in the state and how the proposal leverages federal funds with private partnerships.