Sarah Feinberg and rail-crossing safety

Sarah Feinberg believes some progress has been made during her tenure as head of the Federal Railroad Administration to improve grade crossing safety. But states, communities, law-enforcement agencies railroads and technology companies can and should do more a lot more to prevent fatalities at crossings.

Crossing safety has been a high priority for Feinberg since President Obama nominated her to lead the FRA in spring 2015. Although railroad safety has improved overall in recent years, incidents at crossings and trespassing on rail rights-of-way remain the No. 1 cause of death and injury in rail transportation.

As FRA administrator, Feinberg leaned on states to step up investigations and inspections of crossings and install event recorders at traffic lights connected to crossing systems. She asked police departments to increase their presence at crossings to enforce laws that prohibit motorists from driving through crossing warning lights.

And, she launched an FRA campaign to partner with tech companies like Google to use federal data to add rail-crossing location information to GPS map applications.

"A lot of steps we've taken will show us results over time," Feinberg told me in an interview last month. (You can read that interview here.)

Feinberg also said she won't be satisfied until there are zero crossing fatalities. She officially steps down from her post at noon Jan. 20 when President-elect Trump is sworn in as president. But she's hopeful that her successor at the FRA will find more ways to improve rail safety.

What do you think of Feinberg's tenure as FRA administrator? Do you think her efforts to improve crossing safety will make a lasting difference in saving people's lives?

Also last month, I wrote an article profiling some recent examples of Class Is' efforts to improve crossing safety. You can find that article on ProgressiveRailroading.com.

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