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Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt yesterday unveiled regulations aimed at preventing grade crossing accidents and improving rail safety.The Grade Crossing Regulations establish new safety standards for federally regulated crossings, while amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations will help identify and address safety risks more proactively, Raitt said in a press release.Managing crossing safety requires collaboration between 1,460 municipal and provincial road authorities, 95 Aboriginal bands, 32 railroads and many private authorities. The regulations target safety improvements among the 14,000 public and 9,000 private crossings in Canada.To take effect over the next seven years, the regulations aim to provide consistent crossing safety standards across Canada, clarify the roles and responsibilities of railroads and road authorities, improve safety features and promote collaboration between all parties.Under the safety amendments, railroads will be required to report leading indicator data to Transport Canada. Currently, rail safety data is collected after an accident happens, which is commonly referred to as lagging indicators. The indicators help Transport Canada target inspections and monitor compliance with the Railway Safety Act and federal regulations, rules and standards. The leading indicator data — such as measurable operations, equipment and engineering information — will help Transport Canada better identify and address safety risks.The amendments will support better planning and performance measurement, more focused audits and inspections, and targeted programs that address specific safety issues, said Raitt."We continue to work together to make the Canadian railway system one of the safest in the world," she said.
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