Google to alert drivers of railroad crossings and prevent deaths

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Maps will highlight rail crossings.

WASHINGTON — Google has agreed to expand Google Maps data to include the locations of the nation’s nearly 250,000 grade-level railroad crossings, the Federal Railroad Administration said Monday.

LOS ANGELES — The federal agency that oversees railroads has asked digital mapping companies to alert drivers as they approach track crossings in the hope that visual and audio cues will lead to greater awareness of potential dangers. Acting FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg, a former Facebook executive, undertook the mapping initiative as part of her effort to take a fresh look at the rising fatalities, Lehner said. “We know more and more drivers today use map applications on smartphones to guide them to their destinations,” Feinberg said in a letter to Google. “When drivers are alerted or reminded that there is a rail crossing ahead, they may be more likely to remain alert, take greater caution, and obey the signal crossings.” A passenger rail reauthorization bill passed by the House in March would make commuter railroads eligible for federal loans from the $35 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program to make safety improvements at grade crossings.

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