March_2022 - 6

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK
Jolting awareness
into rail crossing safety
Incident videos can be a jarring, but powerful
educational tool in the rail safety arsenal.
A
t a previous stage in my career, I was a regular attendee at a freight rail-focused conference
where a Class 1 railroad engineering representative would start his annual
presentation with a series of truly shocking videos taken from inside the cab of a
locomotive during accidents at grade crossings caused by careless vehicle drivers.
There were logging trucks, semis, waste hauling vehicles and others - he never ran
out of new material. Even though I knew prior to viewing there was no loss of life,
the sound of impact, the swooshing of the emergency brakes and the seemingly endless time
between impact and when the train stopped remain with me.
A similar video was released last month by Brightline showing an incident in Lake Worth Beach, Fla.
Viewers of the minute-long video see the moment a freight train exits a crossing on the adjacent track and a
small car drives past lowered gates and into the path of the Brightline train. The driver survived. However,
as The Miami Herald Editorial Board wrote shortly after the video's release, " If we had any doubt that South
Florida has a problem with train accidents, the video erased it. "
Florida is consistently among states with the most grade-crossing incidents and the Federal Railroad Administration
(FRA) reports the state's five-year average is 2.84 incidents per grade crossing compared to 1.51 nationally.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office increased patrols along the
Let's work to find the
right combination
of education,
engineering and
enforcement to solve
this industry-wide
challenge.
railroad tracks where the incident above took place to educate drivers
and pedestrians about safety around railroad property. Over the span
of two weeks, the sheriff's office issued 226 traffic citations, 233 written
warnings and 76 verbal warnings.
This recent increase in incidents in South Florida prompted FRA to call
a Rail Safety Town Hall with representatives from the Federal Highway Administration,
Brightline, Florida East Coast Railway, South Florida Regional
Transportation Authority, Amtrak, CSX and regional city and county officials.
FRA says the discussion centered around lessons learned, prevention
measures and areas for improvement.
FRA Staff Director of Grade Crossing and Trespass Outreach James
Payne noted the challenge is a shared responsibility and said it would
take " all of us " to find a solution. This is a belief also held by FRA
Administrator Amit Bose, who stressed " we must discourage trespassing
and encourage pedestrians and motorists to always obey signs and
signals along the railroad right of way and to always expect a train. We
must work as one to save lives. "
Let's work to find the right combination of education, engineering and
enforcement to solve this industry-wide challenge or we will never run out
of these horrific videos.
Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor
 mwanek@masstransitmag.com  224-324-8532  linkedin.com/in/mischawaneklibman
6 | Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | MARCH 2022
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mischawaneklibman http://www.MassTransitmag.com

March_2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March_2022

Editor’s Notebook
People & Places
Riders are Coming Back but Where are the Drivers?
Turning a BRT Line into a Successful Network
Capital Programs Strike Steady Pace
How the Village of Bedford Park and Uber Connect People to Jobs
Sound Transit Driving Consensus Against All Odds
Products
Best Practices
March_2022 - 1
March_2022 - 2
March_2022 - 3
March_2022 - 4
March_2022 - 5
March_2022 - Editor’s Notebook
March_2022 - 7
March_2022 - People & Places
March_2022 - 9
March_2022 - 10
March_2022 - 11
March_2022 - Riders are Coming Back but Where are the Drivers?
March_2022 - 13
March_2022 - 14
March_2022 - 15
March_2022 - Turning a BRT Line into a Successful Network
March_2022 - 17
March_2022 - 18
March_2022 - 19
March_2022 - Capital Programs Strike Steady Pace
March_2022 - 21
March_2022 - 22
March_2022 - 23
March_2022 - How the Village of Bedford Park and Uber Connect People to Jobs
March_2022 - 25
March_2022 - 26
March_2022 - 27
March_2022 - Sound Transit Driving Consensus Against All Odds
March_2022 - 29
March_2022 - 30
March_2022 - 31
March_2022 - Products
March_2022 - 33
March_2022 - Best Practices
March_2022 - 35
March_2022 - 36
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