Devices meant to improve safety are showing up at Long Island Rail Road crossings in Huntington.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is partnering with Waze to alert drivers that they are nearing a rail crossing. The agency said the partnership results from its review of safety enhancements.
Last month, LIRR President Philip Eng announced a plan to install flexible, four-feet high reflective delineators as well as extended roadway markings and additional reflective devices, to better alert drivers, who can become confused by GPS directions, that they should not make a turn onto the tracks.
Ten crossing locations were announced last week as part of a pilot program. All 296 LIRR crossings will be identifiable on the Waze application, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“Safety is a core value at the MTA and its commuter railroads,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, “for our customers and our employees — as well as for those in the communities we serve. We are delighted to continue to go above and beyond railroad crossing safety requirements, to announce a new safety initiative, in partnership with Waze, to alert motorists using the app that they are approaching a grade crossing.”
The MTA said that safety issues at grade crossings is a growing problem as distracted or confused motorists, some using GPS devices, inadvertently turn onto tracks instead of parallel roadways.
The LIRR in 2017 recorded 29 reports of cars on tracks, in addition to 17 grade crossing accidents involving the LIRR and motor vehicles. Year to date, through May 22, there have been two grade crossing accidents and 21 reports of cars on tracks.
“We take safety seriously at the LIRR, and are pleased to be on the forefront of grade crossing safety as we embark on this new partnership with Waze and use innovative ways to continuously make the operations of our trains and infrastructure as safe as possible,” LIRR President Phil Eng said. “We look forward to innovating new ways we can use technology, as well as other methods, like our flexible delineators and pavement markings, to continue this trend toward being the safest railroad possible.”
The 10 LIRR/Waze pilot locations:
- Bay Shore – 3rd Avenue
- Deer Park – Commack Road
- Deer Park – Executive Drive
- Farmingdale – Main Street
- Hampton Bays – Ponoquogue
- Hewlett – West Broadway
- Holbrook – Holbrook Road
- Oyster Bay – Willis Avenue
- Sayville – Snedicor Avenue
- Wyandanch – 18th Street
Metro-North reported 26 incidents in 2017 of vehicles on tracks; this year, through May 29, there have been 7. In 2017, Metro-North recorded two grade crossing accidents; through May 29 this year, two grade crossing accidents have been reported.