Operation Lifesaver, Inc. awards $217,000 for rail safety public awareness campaigns in 15 states
WASHINGTON, DC, June 22, 2017 – Today, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced that $217,000 in grants will be awarded to 15 state Operation Lifesaver programs. The grants will fund a variety of rail crossing safety and trespass prevention public education projects in conjunction with the nonprofit safety group’s upcoming U.S. Rail Safety Week, September 24-30, 2017.
Funded by FRA, the grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin; individual grant awards will range from $4,700 to $20,000.
“These grants will support strategic rail safety efforts in 15 of Operation Lifesaver’s state programs, as part of our nationwide mission to eliminate collisions, injuries and deaths at crossings and along rail property,” said Bonnie Murphy, OLI’s president and CEO. “Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, we are able to bring these lifesaving programs and educational materials to critical audiences across the country during U.S. Rail Safety Week.”
Grant projects include:
- Arkansas Operation Lifesaver will conduct an awareness campaign in high-incident counties, including geographically-targeted mobile ads (geo-fencing) and video public service announcements (PSAs) at major universities from mid-August through mid-October. During Rail Safety Week, the campaign will also provide trespass prevention posters and materials to homeless shelters within Pulaski County and supply crossing safety posters and videos to driver education schools and high schools within the target counties.
- California Operation Lifesaver will also conduct a geo-fencing trespass prevention digital campaign with “See Tracks? Think Train!” ads at sports venues, auditoriums, hotels, and homeless shelters located near railroad tracks in 13 high-incident counties, including areas where both trespass incidents and near-miss events have occurred. In addition to this heavy focus on trespass prevention, grade crossing safety awareness messages and materials will be shared at information booths at events, including San Bernardino 66’ers baseball games.
- Georgia Operation Lifesaver will conduct a television and radio ad campaign in August and September with “See Tracks? Think Train!” public service announcements in partnership with the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB). Georgia OL also will partner with the Safe America Foundation on a "Chalk 1 Up 4 Safety" contest for middle school and high school students in Metro Atlanta, and provide OL materials to other organizations, including museums, a short line railroad and Amtrak.
- Idaho Operation Lifesaver will conduct a movie theater crossing safety PSA campaign throughout the state during the month of September aimed at the 18-30 demographic, with a focus on the top six counties for vehicle-train incidents.
- Illinois Operation Lifesaver will run an advertising campaign in the Northeast part of the state, where most incidents occur, using banners on the outside of Metra commuter trains and safety messages on electronic signs in busy passenger stations and along roads. The campaign will run for a month, including during Rail Safety Week.
- Indiana Operation Lifesaver will conduct a multifaceted campaign on trespass prevention and crossing safety during September and Rail Safety Week, including distributing education brochures to incoming college freshmen, “See Tracks? Think Train!” messages on digital billboards along Interstates 65 and 69, and signs at crossings with multiple collisions. During Rail Safety Week, radio stations will air Operation Lifesaver PSAs, short line railroads will display Rail Safety Week banners, and law enforcement partners will conduct crossing and trespasser blitzes.
- Michigan Operation Lifesaver will place billboard advertisements in Detroit and Wayne County targeting drivers and pedestrians to promote safety on and near railroad tracks.
- Minnesota Operation Lifesaver will conduct a Rail Safety Challenge targeting new drivers at selected high schools in September, encouraging students to come up with creative messaging and share social media posts. Social media advertising will be used to raise awareness, and a month-long radio campaign will air in September with a blitz of PSAs during Rail Safety Week.
- Mississippi Operation Lifesaver will conduct an interactive trespass prevention and crossing safety campaign focused on the Gulf Coast, including digital advertising, billboards, and geo-fencing at minor league baseball games. Educating drivers to look for the Emergency Notification Sign will be a focus of ads, along with other rail safety-related messages.
- Missouri Operation Lifesaver’s campaign will run radio PSAs throughout the state along with a digital campaign featuring video PSAs and banner ads on social media and promoted social posts. The project will start in July and continue with increased frequency during Rail Safety Week, which overlaps with Missouri Farm Safety Month; reaching Missouri’s farming community will be part of the campaign. The ad campaign will be supplemented by events, including Officer on the Train activities, positive enforcement blitzes and volunteer presentations.
- North Carolina Operation Lifesaver will conduct a television PSA ad campaign on cable outlets in Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro-Winston-Salem, and Charlotte. Other aspects of the campaign include: convenience stores and liquor stores will be given paper bags to distribute to customers that feature an anti-trespass message; rail safety messages will be shown on digital billboards along the I-85 and I-40 corridor prior to and during Rail Safety Week; and a mock highway-rail crossing collision will be staged.
- South Carolina Operation Lifesaver will conduct a University of South Carolina fan education campaign in Columbia featuring digital “See Tracks? Think Train!” ads on campus, print and digital ads in a widely-read free newspaper, safety posters in residence halls, sorority and fraternity houses, bars, restaurants and shops. SC OL will set up booths on campus during the fall, and positive enforcement blitzes and other activities will be held in September, including Rail Safety Week.
- Tennessee Operation Lifesaver’s campaign focuses around college football games in Knoxville and Memphis during Rail Safety Week. TN OL representatives will have information booths at the football games to give away informational materials and promotional items. The campaign will include scoreboard and program advertisements during sporting events, as well as PSAs, website banner ads, and social media posts. TN OL will visit campuses during Rail Safety Week and partner with radio stations, student organizations and campus police for messaging opportunities.
- Texas Operation Lifesaver will celebrate both its 40th anniversary in July and Rail Safety Week in September with increased presentations by volunteers, a resolution by the Texas Legislature designating July as Texas Operation Lifesaver Rail Safety Awareness Month, and a geo-targeting digital ad campaign sharing trespass PSAs and safety tips on mobile devices for Rail Safety Week.
- Wisconsin Operation Lifesaver will promote awareness of the Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs at railroad crossings through video placement, brochure distribution, events on trains and at museums, as well as PSA placements. Local news media will promote Rail Safety Week by broadcasting from trains during morning traffic reports.
The approved grants were awarded through a competitive process, with selection based on criteria such as successfully leveraging the federal funds with private partnerships, targeted messaging and the frequency of pedestrian-train incidents and highway-rail collisions.
Beyond these grant projects, U.S. Rail Safety Week will feature awareness events throughout the country, as well as digital and radio ad campaigns, with a goal to empower people to keep themselves safe near tracks and trains. For more information visit www.oli.org.
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 the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. OLI will lead a national observance of U.S. Rail Safety Week, September 24-30, 2017. Learn more about U.S. Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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