Google and the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) are set to announce a partnership today that will bring location information on all US railroad crossings to Google Maps.
There are currently about 215,000 public and private railroad crossings in the country and even though the last 40 years have seen an 80% decline in crossing accidents, 2014 brought about a sudden 9% spike. Although there is no official reason, these accidents are being attributed to driver error and lack of appropriate warning signs, gates or alerts. Realizing that many people rely on phone and GPS apps to navigate, the FRA realized an opportunity to increase safety for millions of drivers.
“The vast majority of these accidents and deaths are preventable. In some cases, maybe a driver intends to beat the train, thinks they are familiar with the route or still have time to cross. But there are many cases where drivers lack situational awareness, because it may be dark or the route is unfamiliar”. -Sarah Feinberg, the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting administrator.
Google Maps will be pulling information from the Department of Transportation and provide users with warnings and alerts inside the Navigation part of Maps. Although Google is expected to be the first to include this data, the FRA has reached out to other companies such as Apple, Garmin, MapQuest and TomTom about adding this feature to their services as well.
There is no word yet on when this will go live but considering it it will help with a problem that causes approximately 2000 accidents per year, let’s hope it’s soon.Source: The New York Times
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