Vancouver becomes first Canadian municipality to participate in national railway crossing safety-awareness program

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Every year, dozens of Canadians —especially young Canadians —are killed or injured when they put themselves in unsafe situations around railway tracks and trains. Collisions at railway crossings are tragically common; in 2017, there were 141 such incidents across Canada which killed 19 people and seriously injured another 21.

Today, Operation Lifesaver (OL), in partnership with HUB Surface Systems and the City of Vancouver, unveiled a new community rail-safety program aimed at curbing these tragic incidents. Through the Look. Listen. Live. Community Safety Partnership Program, OL will work to identify locations where rail safety decals can be installed across the country, to raise awareness among people walking, cycling, and driving, about the need to exercise caution around railway crossings.

OL and Jerry Dobrovolny, General Manager of Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver, alongside railway partner representatives, unveiled the first installed decals today at the Renfrew Street crossing in Vancouver.

The decals, which range in size from 3 to 4 feet squared, are yellow and diamond-shaped — similar to traffic warning signs — and feature a black silhouette of a train, as well as the words “Look. Listen. Live.” The decals will also be installed at Vancouver’s Union Street and Venables Street crossings in the near future.

“Our hope is that when people see these decals, it will remind them to pay closer attention to their surroundings when they’re at a railway crossing, and to do the simple things – slow down, look in both directions, listen for approaching trains, and obey railway warning signals,” said Sarah Mayes, Operation Lifesaver’s National Director.

As a gateway for Asia-Pacific trade, the railway in Vancouver is critical to the movement of goods around Canada and North America. Rail presence is vital to the city’s strong local economy, but requires us all to be alert and safe around crossings.

“The City of Vancouver is very proud to be the first municipality to take part in the new Look. Listen. Live. Community Safety Partnership Program,” said Jerry Dobrovolny, General Manager of Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver. ”We take the safety of our communities very seriously and this program provides us with the necessary tools to increase public awareness of rail safety and help prevent tragic crossing incidents from happening.”

The City recently installed train presence monitoring devices to track the frequency and duration of trains at key crossings. Additional measures to create a safe and accessible environment around existing rail within its authority include:

  • rehabilitating sidewalks near crossings

  • improving pavement markings and signage leading up to the crossing

  • applying for funding to develop real-time alerts for people driving 

For more information about the City’s rail safety initiatives and its partnership with Operation Lifesaver, visit

OL plans to expand the Look. Listen. Live Community Safety Partnership Program to four additional communities in 2018. Communities can obtain information or apply for the program by visiting