Accidents happen almost all the time at railroad crossings, such that they almost seem inevitable.
In the US, the Federal Railroad Administration recently announced that it was partnering with Google to make the railroad accidents less common than they had become. For this to happen, Google will be embedding data regarding railroad crossings into Google Maps. By doing this, drivers will receive alerts of upcoming intersections where encounters with trains are likely.
Partnership with Department of Transportation
Google intends to obtain the information it needs for this project from the database that the Department of Transportation in the US maintains. Drivers will receive the alerts on Google Maps regarding the upcoming railroad intersections through the following means:
- Voice navigation
- Visual alerts
Stats on Railroad Accidents
However, the alerts will only be available to drivers who use Google Maps as their preferred navigation app. Experts believe that the new feature will most likely find its way into Waze, which is also under the ownership of Google. With these new additions, the Federal Railroad Administration hopes to see a massive reduction of the following 2014 data emanating from accidents on railroads:
- 270 deaths at railroad crossings
- 843 injuries at railroad crossings
- Multiple accidents along the railroad crossings
Number of Railroad Crossings in the US
Currently, the US is home to more than 130,000 public and 85,000 private railroad crossings. The Federal Railroad Administration believes that this feature is necessary on multiple types of maps as well. In this regard, it hopes to form partnerships with companies such as Apple, MapQuest, TomTom and Garmin to mention a few that provide mapping services. FRA intends to make it almost impossible for deaths, injuries and accidents to occur at railroad crossings.
Access to Real-Time Information
Similarly, Google Maps will continue providing users with real-time information regarding locations where accidents have just taken place. This way, drivers will be able to avoid being caught up in the traffic snarl-up. More importantly, the app will enable drivers to use alternative routes, thus reducing their chances of spending endless hours caught up in traffic around the route where accidents have occurred.
With Google Maps, drivers will continuously have access to information regarding road closures in addition to construction sites. Drivers can use Google Maps on their iOS and Android devices to access such information. Drivers should always endeavor to install the latest version of the navigation app to take advantage of this and many other new features that Google keeps adding. If you avoid accidents, it will be much easier to arrive at your destination on time.
Finally, by making it possible to avoid accidents or identify alternative safer routes through Google Maps, drivers will now be able to reduce the expenses they incur seeking medical treatment for injuries suffered at railroad crossings.