Programs, awareness campaigns not stopping railroad grade crossing crashes | Georgia

(The Center Square) — As freight trains develop longer and extra ceaselessly block railroad crossings, federal greenbacks are going towards eliminating grade crossings.

“A lot of organizations and agencies have education and awareness campaigns to stay off the tracks, but every year thousands of people still walk along and across tracks and many are killed or injured,” Benjamin Dierker, the manager director of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, instructed The Center Square by means of e-mail.

Data displays Georgia is some of the worst states for grade crossing crashes. According to Operation Lifesaver, mentioning initial 2021 Federal Railroad Administration statistics, Georgia had 132 grade crossing collisions with 8 deaths and 37 accidents, score 3rd at the back of Texas and California for the collection of collisions.

An Operation Lifesaver consultant referred The Center Square to the Federal Railroad Administration. The company pointed to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which integrated $573 million over 5 years for the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program.

The program will supply for rail grade separation or closure, together with measures to strengthen protection associated with a separation, closure, or monitor relocation venture, akin to trespasser prevention. An management authentic mentioned the company would announce the fiscal 2022 awards later this 12 months.

Last August, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, mentioned he introduced an inquiry with the railroad management as a part of the company’s ongoing investigations into trains inflicting visitors delays.

“Addressing blocked rail crossings is about more than just convenience: Highway-rail grade crossing accidents, together with accidents caused by trespassing along the railroad right-of-way, account for 94% of all rail-related deaths and injuries,” Ossoff wrote in a letter to Administrator Amit Bose.

“For example, in the neighborhood of South Atlanta, it’s not unusual to see children race across closing gates to get to school or adults walking between stopped cars to get to work on time,” Ossoff added. “Less than 4 miles away, in Adair Park, a 61-year-old man lost his life when what he thought was a parked train started moving as he was attempting to cross the tracks.”

An Ossoff spokeswoman did not reply to a request for extra information.

“Local governments can do more, particularly with signage and fencing,” Dierker said. “City and county governments often have jurisdiction over roads that intersect and cross railroad tracks.”

“Crossing infrastructure is usually maintained by the government, not the railroad, but the two must work together to upgrade gate infrastructure and signage to reduce trespassing and risky pedestrian behavior,” Dierker added. “Even when they know of a problem, many cities do not have the resources for infrastructure upgrades, so state and federal grants go a long way in helping local governments improve these.”

Officials in communities throughout Georgia had lengthy complained about stopped trains blockading crossings. As railroads have embraced Precision Scheduled Railroading to extend potency and cut back prices, they ceaselessly run longer trains and less locomotives and staff in step with teach.

“There is ongoing research into longer trains and blocked crossings,” Dierker mentioned. “In the near future, we may have a better picture about the relative safety risk and possible solutions for stopped trains.”

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