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Operation Lifesaver awards $50,000 innovative rail safety competitive grant for Minnesota crossing safety, trespass prevention campaign

(Source: Operation Lifesaver press release, April 7, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced it will award an Innovative Rail Safety Grant for $50,000 to Minnesota Operation Lifesaver. The grant will fund a targeted, data-driven and multifaceted crossing safety education and trespass prevention campaign targeting 12-25-year-olds throughout the state.

OLI, the only non-profit and nationally recognized leader of rail safety education, is dedicated to saving lives by empowering the public to make safer choices near railroad tracks and trains.

“The Minnesota OL campaign will take a research-based approach to sharing rail safety education materials with an important demographic – young people – in order to make a lasting impression on their behavior,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “We are proud to partner for the second year with the FRA on this grant, which encourages state Operation Lifesaver programs to share the rail safety message using innovative, creative tactics.”

The campaign will target new and soon-to-be drivers with videos and graphics on TikTok and Snapchat as well as other more traditional social media. In addition, the grant will fund two drive-in movie experiences for high school students targeting high-risk communities, to create buzz and promote sharing of rail safety messages among this key demographic.

“This exciting innovative campaign will bring important rail safety messages to young people through the social platforms they spend hours on each day,” said Minnesota Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Sheryl Cummings. “It will create ‘buzz’ and a positive feedback loop encouraging peers (and parents) to share our rail safety messages with each other on their own social media.”

The grant was awarded through a competitive process based on criteria including a demonstrated safety need, concept creativity and the ability to scale projects.

“The goal of the Innovative Rail Safety Grant is to encourage new ways to address these preventable rail-related crossing and trespass incidents,” said James Payne, Staff Director of the FRA Grade Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Program Division. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with OLI.”

Thursday, April 8, 2021

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