Oregon Operation Lifesaver announces $25,000 grant to TriMet for joint safety awareness campaign

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TriMet has been awarded a grant for $25,000 by Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

This important grant will go toward conducting safety outreach and aid in teaching riders and pedestrians to “Stay alert. Stay alive.” TriMet was one of eight national transit agencies to be awarded grant funds.

In collaboration with OLI, TriMet’s campaign will strive to reduce near misses and collisions among male pedestrians ages 18-34 via an educational campaign on Facebook, OregonLive.com and on television. The goal of the campaign will be to increase awareness of the risks of distracted behaviors around MAX and WES tracks and encourage people to think about the possible consequences of unsafe behaviors.

“TriMet’s core value of safety is not just for our operators and our riders, but for everyone in the communities we serve,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “Our transit system spans roughly 530 square miles, so this grant and our partnership with Oregon Lifesaver, Inc. will allow us to further our core value and target our safety outreach toward young adults who ride TriMet or interact with the transit system.”

As part of our new campaign, participants who take a safety quiz will receive safety information and be entered to win various incentives.

“With a record 10.5 billion trips taken on public transportation in 2012, it is an important time to expand Operation Lifesaver’s safety messages in the transit community,” said OLI President and CEO Joyce Rose. “We are looking forward to working with Oregon Operation Lifesaver and TriMet to build on their commitment to the safety of riders, employees, and all that come into contact with the transit system.”

The FTA, a national partner and advisor of Operation Lifesaver, provides the funding for the grants. “The Federal Transit Administration is pleased to partner with Operation Lifesaver because as rail transit expands in communities across the country, it is essential that riders, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have the education they need to remain safe near trains, tracks and at rail crossings,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.

Nearly twenty transit agencies applied in the highly competitive grant selection process. In addition to TriMet, seven innovative transit rail safety projects from across the country were awarded a total of $194,000 in grants.

To compete for grants, which totaled up to $25,000 apiece, and required matching funds from non-federal partners, proposals had to focus on safety education or public awareness initiatives. Grantees must use OLI-approved materials and logos and be coordinated through a state OL program. A team of U.S. Department of Transportation and American Public Transportation Association safety and education professionals evaluated the applications based on criteria such as key safety messages and target audiences, readiness, evaluation methods, timelines and budget.

Though no date has been set, OLI plans to run another competitive grant round in early 2014. Stay tuned to www.oli.org for details.

History

TriMet’s relationship with Oregon Operation Lifesaver (OROL) began in 2008 when together we launched a comprehensive safety education campaign for the opening of the TriMet WES Commuter Rail (Westside Express Service) along with Portland & Western Railroad (P&W) and local jurisdictions. The campaign highlighted vehicle, bike and pedestrian safety at crossings and along the tracks, as well as the dangers of trespassing along the rails.

TriMet and OROL also collaborated in creating a safety patch program for Girl Scouts and, since 2009, more than 1,000 patches have been earned.

TriMet received a grant from OLI in 2011 to create a pilot project focused on 18-to-34-year-old males in the Portland metro area. The project was a safety awareness campaign with the message of “Stay alert. Stay alive.” Based on results of the pilot project, recommendations will be incorporated into the 2014 effort.

 

Background

About Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI)
OLI’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at http://www.oli.org; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

About Oregon Operation Lifesaver (OROL)
OROL began in 1977 as a not-for-profit Oregon corporation that is part of an international family of organizations devoted to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-railroad crossings and on railroad rights-of-way. Since 1977, the number of collisions at public highway-railroad crossings in Oregon as steadily decreased, despite increases in both train and motor vehicle traffic. In 1977, a total of 149 crashes resulted in 11 fatalities and 37 injuries. Those statistics have steadily improved. Operation Lifesaver’s public awareness program is considered to be a major factor in reducing collisions and incidents involving trains. For more information, visit us at http://www.oregonol.org.

About the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
The FTA is an agency of the U.S Department of Transportation. FTA and OLI have been partnering since 2002 to award grants to create and manage passenger rail safety education and awareness campaigns. For additional information on the FTA, please visit www.fta.dot.gov.