Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FRA launches app to raise grade-crossing safety awareness

Screen shot of the locator app. Screen shot of the locator app. FRA website

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched an iOS smartphone mobile application, the Rail Crossing Locator, which provides the public with easy access to safety information about the nation's more than 200,000 highway-rail grade crossings.

 "Safety is our highest priority, and at the Department of Transportation, we believe that giving people better information leads to smarter and safer travel," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "With the Rail Crossing Locator, individuals can use a mobile app to access information wherever they are to improve neighborhood safety and make better personal travel choices."

The Rail Crossing Locator app works by prompting users to enter a specific location, which then allows them to locate highway-rail grade crossings in their area and retrieve important information, such as the physical characteristics of a crossing and the type of traffic control devices used. The app allows users to report information about grade crossings to the FRA to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information is available.
This new app is free through Apple's App Store and can be used on any iPhone or iPad.

Throughout the past decade, highway-rail incidents have declined by 34 percent and deaths resulting from these events have fallen 30 percent. However, while the total number of incidents has been trending downward, collisions at highway-rail crossings remain a challenge to safety, the FRA said. Last year alone, highway-rail crossing collisions accounted for nearly 20 percent of all reportable rail accidents and incidents and represented nearly one-third of all rail-related fatalities.

"While we've made significant progress in the reduction of highway-grade crossing incidents over the past decade, much more work remains to be done," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo. "This technology will be one more tool to help us reach our goal of zero fatalities."

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