Railroads aren’t something that most of us living in North America (or in many other places of the world) think about often. Aside from commuter trains that bring people from one spot in a city to another, most people never think about traveling via rail. But this can be an issue, since there are many rail lines that still operate all over the world.
While we’ve somehow become desensitized to paying attention to railroad crossings, there are many railroad accidents yearly due to people that neglect to stop, pause, and wait to see if a train is crossing.
Further, the Federal Railroad Administration in the US wants to draw more attention to those lines that are working with the hopes of boosting rail profits. For these reasons, the Federal Railroad Administration in the US has teamed up with Google to add audio and visual alerts regarding railroad lines to Google’s navigation technology.
Google and Railroads
From now on, Google Maps and other Google technology will include railroad information. This way, people can see when trains are crossing, and what trains are running in the world. The hope is to bring more awareness to railroads while also ensuring that people understand and acknowledge railroad crossing times. While a lot of old tracks may appear to be unused, this isn’t the case, and not stopping before hitting tracks can be very dangerous.
Roughly 270 people died last year due to train collisions, but this is a number that doesn’t have to be so high. Simple awareness of train schedules and determining which trains are running will help people figure out when to be wary of tracks - though you should always stop in front of any railroad track as a good rule of thumb. Otherwise, you might be taking your life into your own hands. The Federal Railroad Administration has also teamed up with other navigation companies for the same purpose.
Working With Other Companies
AOL’s MapQuest, TomTom, Garmin, and Apple have all been asked by the Federal Railroad Administration to add railroad crossing times and information to navigation systems. The agency will provide railroad data to all of these companies including the times when trains pass along with train locations. The information that the agency has provides detailed information about railroad crossings across the US. But what about other countries where trains are still used widely for a number of reasons?
It seems logical that if the new navigation information works out well with Google and the other companies listed above, similar train information will be added to Google navigation across the world - in addition to adding these details to Apple, TomTom, Garmin, and AOL’s MapQuest in other parts of the world. The number of train related auto accidents is particular high in the US, though, because Americans don’t pay as much attention to trains as people living in some other countries where trains are still widely used for passenger needs as well as cargo needs.
Viewing the Details
Google should be updating its navigation system to include train crossing details within the next few weeks, so make sure to pay attention to those when you are traveling. The same goes for the other companies mentioned above.