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Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Awards $200,000 for Crossing Safety Public Awareness Campaigns in 11 States

By Operation Lifesaver

WASHINGTON, DC, May 13, 2021 – Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), today announced $200,000 in grants to Operation Lifesaver programs in 11 states. The grants will fund a variety of highway-rail grade crossing safety public education projects, many of which will be conducted in conjunction with the nonprofit safety group’s observance of Rail Safety Week, September 20-26, 2021.

Funded by FHWA, the grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas,Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington. These state programs will use the funding to launch public awareness campaigns and host community events that deliver critical rail safety tips to target audiences, including motorists of all ages and professional drivers.

“OLI is grateful for our ongoing safety partnership with FHWA, which facilitates these grant-funded railroad crossing safety efforts by state Operation Lifesaver programs,” said OLI Executive Director  Rachel Maleh. “We are excited to see the results of the projects as we work to stop track tragedies,” she stated.

“The US Department of Transportation is committed to putting safety first, including the safety of those traveling across railroad crossings,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “The FHWA is pleased to provide the funding that will help prevent crashes at rail-grade crossings nationwide.”

The approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, with selection based on criteria such as the defined safety need, the number of highway-rail collisions in the state, and how the proposal leverages federal funds with private partnerships.

Projects funded by the FHWA grants include:

  • Arizona Operation Lifesaver will conduct a campaign to include digital geofencing ads, radio public service announcements (PSAs) and OTT (over the top) video PSAs in 10 cities and other high-incident areas. The four-month campaign will include Rail Safety Week, September 20-26.
  • California Operation Lifesaver will launch a campaign during September (California Rail Safety Month) and including Rail Safety Week in 13 high-incident counties, with digital radio and video PSAs distributed over Connected TV (CTV) and OTT video. Targeted areas and audiences include business districts, sports arenas, colleges, homeless populations, freight rail, commuter rail and passenger rail corridors.
  • Indiana Operation Lifesaver has a multifaceted plan to deliver OLI crossing safety PSAs, including OLI’s new low clearance PSA, to commercial and hazmat truck drivers via geofencing and social conquesting in high incident areas. Safety blitzes with local law enforcement and Indiana State Police also will be conducted in these areas. The campaign will take place July through September 2021 and include extra coverage during Rail Safety Week.
  • The project in Kansas involves radio advertising targeted to Kansas City Royals baseball fans over 30 Kansas radio stations and one Missouri station to educate fans on safely navigating railroad crossings. The pre-game ads will air for all 162 games and will feature Denny Matthews, the “Voice of the Royals.” A digital geofencing ad campaign will also run during Rail Safety Week.
  • Minnesota will conduct a multi-platform geofencing digital ad and radio campaign in August and September, with streaming video OTT PSAs and banner style digital ads targeted at a young male demographic in higher-incident counties with a goal of reaching this audience both in their vehicles and on digital devices.
  • North Carolina will conduct a video PSA campaign targeting males 18-49 between June 14 and September 27 (including Rail Safety Week) via cable television advertising in seven marketswith the highest incident rates, effectively covering the state and some markets in South Carolina and Virginia.
  • New York will work in partnership with Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company (MNR) on a campaign targeting the driving age population with the message that distracted driving is particularly dangerous around railroad crossings. The campaign will deliver messaging through social media, geofencing, on-line influencers and print collateral while also generating earned media through interviews and events.
  • Pennsylvania will conduct a digital campaign targeting adults 16-45 in 11 high-incident counties through streaming video OTT PSAs to deliver guaranteed media impressions using videos on distraction near railroad tracks and crossing safety. The campaign period will include Rail Safety Week.
  • South Carolina will conduct a campaign using personal outreach, social media, streaming audio and digital efforts to reach English and Spanish-speaking workers in farm labor, construction and lawn care professions. The four-month campaign will include the summer/harvest agriculture seasons, Rail Safety Week, Hispanic Heritage Month and National Farm Safety Week.
  • Tennessee will conduct a geofencing, mobile ad retargeting, social media, and digital radio PSA campaign from August through September, including Rail Safety Week. The campaign will include banner ads and audio PSAs to reach people ages 16 and up.
  • Washington Operation Lifesaver’s efforts will focus on rail safety education for people who live in an area where a new, high-speed passenger rail service will be starting. The campaign will include digital geotargeting and social media ads for eight cities to reach families, school-aged children, and teenagers, as well as males and females between the ages of 18-35.

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. OLI leads an international observance of Rail Safety Week each September. Learn more about Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest


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