UP says it is committed to working collaboratively with communities to encourage safe behavior around railroad tracks. The railroad's new grant program furthers this commitment by funding initiatives that raise awareness of railroad safety and empower communities to be active railroad safety participants. The online grant application, available at UnionPacificCares.com, provides organizations the opportunity to explain how they plan to use grant funding, the safety initiative's goals, who the initiative will reach and how success will be measured.
Grant-funded initiatives may include, but are not limited to:
- School safety days
- Community safety programs
- Grade crossing education efforts
- Law enforcement activities
The grant program is part of the UP CARES public safety initiative that promotes pedestrian and driver safety through a variety of outreach channels:
- Grade crossing education and enforcement, during which motorists violating rail crossing signage and laws are educated about the dangers of such actions. Related "positive enforcement" initiatives reward drivers who operate safely at grade crossings.
- Safety trains, hosting local law enforcement, media and public officials and providing them the opportunity to ride in the locomotive cab and see traffic violations from a locomotive engineer's point of view. This also allows UP to connect with community leaders and help them better understand the railroad's safety focus.
- Communication blitzes, which educate the public via community events, media outreach and paid advertising. Media outreach coincides with safety trains in UP communities.
"The UP CARES grants extend our safety commitment further into communities by providing additional resources to champion railroad safety," said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific executive vice president operations. "While we have a wealth of existing company and industry safety initiatives, this is an opportunity for organizations to be creative and bring forward fresh ideas to address railroad safety in ways that fit their communities."