Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), today announced $200,000 in competitive crossing safety awareness grants to Operation Lifesaver programs in 10 states.

The FHWA-funded grants will be awarded to Operation Lifesaver organizations in California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The grants will be used for a variety of crossing safety public education projects and campaigns that will encompass See Tracks? Think Train!® Week, September 23-29, 2024.

“The safety of all road users is of paramount importance to the Federal Highway Administration and we’re proud to support the work of Operation Lifesaver by providing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for these railway highway crossing safety efforts,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said. “We will continue to work with Operation Lifesaver to improve safety in areas where roads meet railways.”

OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh said, “Congratulations to the recipients of the FHWA Competitive Grants! This is truly a competitive process showcasing the hard work, commitment, and creativity that OL State Programs engage in daily. These grant funds allow OL State Programs to expand public outreach and educational efforts, further enhancing safety within their communities. We are grateful for our enduring partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, which is advancing rail safety education across the United States.”

Maleh continued, “As always, we encourage everyone to engage with OLI on social media, schedule a complimentary rail safety presentation and explore oli.org for additional resources. Together, we can #STOPTrackTragedies and save lives."

Projects funded by the FHWA grants include:

• California Operation Lifesaver will run a Geofencing and digital railroad crossing ad campaign during September, CA Rail Safety Month and See Tracks? Think Train!® Week in the state’s 13 highest counties for incidents and near miss incidents at railroad crossings.

• Illinois Operation Lifesaver's project includes ad campaigns to promote grade crossing safety education from September to November using digital Public Service Advertisements (PSAs), signage on locomotives, streaming videos, and digital display ads. The campaign will include in-person training sessions for key audiences as well as community events in the City of Chicago.

• Indiana Operation Lifesaver will run a two-month digital campaign to include safety messaging through audio, video, social and Geofencing as well as materials distribution during See Tracks? Think Train!® Week in the Indianapolis area, positive enforcement events and Indianapolis Colts home football games. Artificial intelligence will be used to maximize campaign performance and attract social media influencers, expanding reach for the project’s rail safety education message.

• Missouri Operation Lifesaver will run a radio and digital ad campaign targeting drivers and agricultural road users statewide from May through September with an additional campaign in seven counties that account for 70% of railroad crossing incidents across the state.

• New York Operation Lifesaver will conduct an outreach campaign in Western New York with crossing safety messaging that includes bus ads, a Geofencing digital ad campaign and a crossing safety event during See Tracks? Think Train!® Week. The bus and digital ads will go from August through September.

• Ohio Operation Lifesaver will run a public service announcement (PSA) campaign featuring radio personality Bill Cunningham to air on Cincinnati’s top radio station during Cincinnati Reds baseball pregame radio shows from July through September, also reaching listeners in neighboring states.

• Operation Lifesaver of Pennsylvania will target the top 11 counties in the state for crossing incidents with a digital Over-the-Top (OTT) crossing safety campaign as well as interactive internet display ads from June through See Tracks? Think Train!® Week.

• South Carolina Operation Lifesaver's project targets the city of Columbia and the greater Richland County area by sharing railroad safety messaging with college students and other motorists through ads on pizza boxes as well as partnering with local bars to educate the community through giveaways in the months of August and September.

• Tennessee Operation Lifesaver will run a rail safety education ad campaign targeting males 18-40 with audio, video, social media and Geofencing ads in major metro areas during September and October.

• Texas Operation Lifesaver's project will take place in September, targeting visitors planning to attend the State Fair with a robust campaign using display ads on websites, Geofencing and connected TV. During See Tracks? Think Train!® Week, ads will appear in DART transit stations, on trains and via digital billboards across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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.