Waze Announces Global Rollout of Railroad Crossing Alerts First Launched at LIRR in 2018

Waze today announced a global rollout of railroad crossing alerts for motorists that had been launched in June 2018 on MTA Long Island Rail Road and adopted shortly thereafter at MTA Metro-North Railroad crossings. In November 2019, the MTA reported a dramatic safety advancement: The inclusion of the Waze alerts, paired with other railroad crossing safety improvements such as the first-in-the-nation systemwide installation of flexible delineators and reflective pavement markings, had “virtually eliminated the problem of motorists inadvertently turning onto tracks.” Today’s press announcement from Waze follows below.

Waze, the platform bringing together communities on and off the road, today announced a new feature that will provide alerts to users approaching a railroad crossing. We are seeing Waze users make a significant return to the road following the COVID-19 outbreak. This feature is unique to Waze and puts drivers’ safety first, helping them return to the roads by highlighting the potential risks associated with driving over railroad crossings.

The decision to add railroad crossing alerts to the Waze map follows recommendations from both the US senate and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to app-based navigation platforms like Waze that doing so can help contribute to the efforts to reduce the number of drivers involved in railroad crossing fatalities. The US Federal Railroad Administration also championed this feature and provided valuable insights as Waze used their publicly available database of US railroad crossings. The feature was advocated for by major rail network operators and other organizations, including MTA Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, SEPTA, Brightline, Operation Lifesaver Canada, the Railway Association of Canada, CN, SNCF, the Regulatory Agency of Rail Transport of Mexico (ARTF) and the Secretary of Communications and Transportation of Mexico. These organizations have provided the vital data (verified by the Waze volunteer community of map editors) to add railroad crossings to the Waze map in the US, Canada, Mexico and France, and local Waze map editors have taken the initiative to incorporate crossings to the map in the UK, Italy, Israel, Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Netherlands and Ireland.

The new feature will automatically alert drivers using the latest version of Waze on Android or iOS that they are approaching a railroad crossing. A banner will appear on the Waze app highlighting the crossing and encouraging the driver to approach with caution.

“The Railroad Crossing feature is a result of a cross-industry, cross-sector collaboration, both internally within Waze and the community, working together to help fellow drivers map out all highway-railroad intersections,” said Dani Simons, Head of Public Sector Partnerships, Waze. “This feature exemplifies Waze’s commitment to building for its Driving app, being the first to implement features and emphasizes our focus on safety.”

The addition of this feature on Waze has received support from rail network operators globally.

“Since we partnered with Waze almost two years ago to bring crossing alerts to motorists as part of a suite of railroad crossing safety improvements, the LIRR has virtually eliminated what had been a growing phenomenon of motorists mistaking tracks for roadways and errantly turning onto them at crossings,” said Phil Eng, President of the Long Island Rail Road. “Our statistics demonstrate that the warnings given to motorists about upcoming railroad crossings has played a big role in our improving safety record and we applaud Waze for expanding this feature across the country.”

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: August 12, 2020