February 5, 2016 - TRA Newswire Accidents at Union Pacific railroad crossings were down 3 percent in 2015, in part due to an aggressive campaign to identify problem crossings and a strong social media push. In 2015 there were 2.28 accidents per million train miles as reported to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Launched in 2015, Union Pacific's Crossing Assessment Process (CAP) focuses attention on crossings with certain characteristics where incidents may be more likely to occur. While all Union Pacific crossings that comply with company maintenance standards are safe for the traveling public, drivers continue to make mistakes at some of them. CAP helps identify those crossings and find safety enhancements.
Union Pacific's safety push was highlighted by spokesman Jeff DeGraff during a presentation at the Southwestern Rail Conference in January. Last year the company drew positive national attention with the launch of two social media campaigns targeting photographers, motorists, joggers and millennials. The campaigns generated social media engagement on channels such as Facebook and YouTube as audiences viewed and shared videos, images and rail safety ideas.
"Our initial review showed 25 percent of accidents happen at just 4 percent of grade crossings," said Cameron Scott, Union Pacific's executive vice president-Operations. "As we find ways to enhance safety at these crossings, we create some real leverage to improve safety."
For private crossings, the company works with landowners to find alternative access that doesn't cross the railroad.
Union Pacific's UP CARES public safety program allows the company to work with communities through a variety of outreach channels. Thousands of UP CARES events are held annually across Union Pacific's 23-state network to educate pedestrians, motorists and truck drivers about how to stay safe around railroads and grade crossings.