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Operation Lifesaver Canada (OL) has formed a partnership with Waze, the navigation app, to alert Canadian drivers to grade crossings through a new safety feature embedded in the app.
Drivers using versions 4.61 or higher of Waze now will see a banner alerting them to upcoming crossings and encouraging them to approach with caution, OL officials said in a press release.
The feature was developed using rail crossing location data from the Canadian Rail Atlas, the Railway Association of Canada's (RAC) interactive map of the nation's railway network.
OL has been advocating for Waze and other technology companies to incorporate crossing alerts into their navigation applications since 2017. Earlier this year, OL collaborated with the RAC to validate with RAC members the locations of more than 21,500 public grade crossings. Those data points provide the basis for the Waze crossing alerts in Canada, OL officials said.
"We're hopeful that when Canadians see a Waze rail crossing alert, they'll slow down and prepare to stop, obey all railway warning signs and signals . . . before proceeding through any crossing," said Sara Mayes, OL's national director.
In the United States, Norfolk Southern Railway and MTA Long Island Rail Road also are working with Waze to communicate crossing safety messages. To learn more, read this article in Progressive Railroading's January issue.