The Importance of Rail Safety

The Three E’s of Operation Lifesaver Rail Safety: Education, Engineering, Enforcement

(The following information is an excerpt from Operation Lifesaver Inc.’s website.  Visit their site at Operation Lifesaver: and for more rail safety information.)

Current projections show continued growth of all types of rail transportation—freight, passenger, light and high speed. Engineering advancements along with boosted ridership promise more trains on more tracks going faster than ever before. Operation Lifesaver’s rail safety education programs, dedicated to keeping people safe around trains by reducing the likelihood of  train/vehicle and pedestrian collisions, are more relevant today than they have ever been.

What is the future of rail?

Freight transportation demand is projected to nearly double by 2035–if present market trends continue, railroads will be expected to handle an 88% increase in tonnage during that same period (source: DOT Strategic Plan 2010-2015.) Amtrak, with ridership at record levels of 31.2 million passengers for fiscal year 2012, predicts those numbers could increase to 60 million by 2050. Although current economic challenges mean these growth projections will take longer to come about, educating people through Operation Lifesaver’s rail safety programs will still be critical to keeping them safe around increasing numbers of trains, railroad-rights-of-way and rail property.

Safety is more important than ever.

Since 1972 Operation Lifesaver programs have augmented important engineering improvements and law enforcement efforts to produce a steady decline in injuries and fatalities at highway-rail grade crossings (an 83% decrease in incidents since our founding.) Yet with nearly 220,000 private and public crossings in use today, improving grade-crossing safety and maintaining those gains remains a constant challenge. In partnership with rail safety advocates in the railroad industry and at federal, state and local governments, Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to answering rising rail transportation demands with an equally powerful commitment using education to keep people safe around railroad-rights-of-way.

Our modern, technology-driven world constantly introduces fresh challenges for rail safety advocates. From teens walking with headphones to distracted drivers approaching highway-rail grade crossings, it’s vitally important to look and listen near tracks or railroad property and stay alert to stay alive. At Operation Lifesaver, we believe that through the 3 E’s—education, enforcement and engineering—we can successfully join other rail safety partners to address these challenges, making communities with tracks and railroad property safer, reducing collision incidents and decreasing the likelihood of injuries and fatalities. At Operation Lifesaver, what we do helps save lives.

Check back to our blog site next week for the Operation Lifesaver excerpt on Education.

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