Operation Lifesaver Canada collaborates with Google Maps on new rail crossing alert feature
APRIL 18, 2023
OTTAWA — Every year, dozens of Canadians are killed or seriously injured in preventable train-vehicle and train-pedestrian 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 (OL) Canada announced its collaboration with Google Maps on a new safety feature to alert Canadian drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to rail crossings. Canadians using Google Maps app (version 5.57 or higher for iOS and 10.68 or higher for Android) will now see a rail crossing icon 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 nearly 43,000-kilometre railway network.
“Many Canadians rely on Google Maps to navigate their communities, and so we’re delighted to have collaborated with Google on this important project to help save lives,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of OL Canada. “We’re hopeful that when Canadians see a Google Maps rail crossing alert they’ll prepare to stop, obey all railway warning signs and signals, and remember to Look. Listen. Live. before proceeding through any crossing.”
OL Canada has been advocating for technology companies to incorporate rail crossing alerts into their navigation applications since 2017. Earlier this year, OL worked 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 Google Maps rail crossing alerts in Canada. Development of the Google Maps feature follows the launch of a similar feature developed in collaboration with the popular navigation app Waze in 2020.
Safety is a shared responsibility, and Operation Lifesaver Canada hopes that other technology companies will follow Google’s lead and partner with OL to #STOPTrackTragedies.
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About Operation Lifesaver Canada
Operation Lifesaver Canada is a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and its members, including CN, CPKC, VIA Rail, Metrolinx, exo, West Coast Express and Genesee & Wyoming, among others. Through its national network of Rail Safety Ambassadors, partnerships with safety councils, police, the trucking industry and community groups, and innovative tools such as its virtual-reality Look. Listen. Live. campaign, Operation Lifesaver Canada works to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards of trespassing on railway property and failing to exercise caution at rail crossings. Canadians can keep up-to-date on the latest rail safety news by visiting operationlifesaver.ca.