Operation Lifesaver and Canada’s Railways Partner With Waze to Alert Canadian Drivers to Rail Crossings

April 28, 2020

OTTAWA —Every year, dozens of Canadians are killed or seriously injured in preventable vehicle-train collisions at railway crossings. These tragic incidents are devastating for the individuals involved, their friends and family, railway employees, first responders and communities.

Today, Operation Lifesaver Canada announced its partnership with Waze, the popular navigation app, to alert Canadian drivers to rail crossings through a new safety feature embedded in the app. Drivers using versions 4.61 or higher of Waze will now see a banner alerting them to upcoming crossings and encouraging them to approach with caution. The feature was developed using rail crossing location data from the Canadian Rail Atlas, the Railway Association of Canada’s interactive map of Canada’s more than 41,000-kilometre railway network.

“This is a perfect example of organizations collaborating and innovating to save lives,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “We’re hopeful that when Canadians see a Waze rail crossing alert, they’ll slow down and prepare to stop, obey all railway warning signs and signals, and remember to Look. Listen. Live. before proceeding through any crossing.”

Operation Lifesaver (OL) Canada has been advocating for Waze and other technology companies to incorporate rail crossing alerts into their navigation applications since 2017. Earlier this year, OL learned that Waze was starting work on such a feature, and collaborated with the Railway Association of Canada to validate the locations of more than 21,500 public grade crossings with RAC’s railway members. Those data points provide the basis for the Waze rail crossing alerts in Canada. 

“The RAC is proud to support to this important innovation,” says Marc Brazeau, President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada. Safety is a core value that drives the daily operations of our members, and we believe that this new Waze feature will help motorists approach rail crossings with care and caution, and save lives.”

Safety is a shared responsibility, and Operation Lifesaver hopes that other technology companies will follow Waze’s lead and partner with OL to bring the number of rail crossing-related deaths and injuries in Canada to zero.