Google and FRA partner for rail crossing data project

Google and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently partnered to make rail crossings safer for drivers and their passengers.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently encouraged the FRA to add more technology to infrastructure. This will increase safety for all methods of transportation, and is especially important as 270 people lost their lives in highway-rail accidents. Many of these accidents were preventable.

According to the agreement, Google will integrate GIS data from the FRA into Google’s mapping services. This data targets the key locations of approximately 250,000 private and public railroad crossings throughout the U.S. Adding this change to Google’s smartphone mapping apps will offer drivers as well as passengers with better safety advice when they cross a railroad. When people travel on unfamiliar roads late at night, an alert for upcoming railroad crossings could improve safety.

“We know that more and more drivers today use map applications on smartphones to guide them to their destinations,” the announcement said. “While mobile device maps and applications are trusted sources for directions and guidance, many of them do not notify drivers when they are approaching a rail crossing, or do not identify the rail crossing at all. When drivers are alerted or reminded that there is a rail crossing ahead, they may be more likely to remain alert, use greater caution and obey the signal crossings.”

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Federal Railroad Administration

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