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Operation Lifesaver

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For more information about Operation Life Saver and its public educational programs, please contact MBTA Safety & MBTA Transit Police Operation Life Saver Representatives via email at, or via telephone at 617-222-6012. You may also send your written requests or comments to MBTA Safety 185 Kneeland Street 3rd Floor Boston, Massachusetts 02111.

MBTA Safety fiercely competed with 8 other Transit Companies within the United States and won a monetary grant from Operation Life Saver in partnership with the (FTA) Federal Transit Administration to develop an Operation Life Saver safety awareness campaign. MBTA Safety focused on developing a video and materials to educated upwards of as many as 100,000 college students who attend the colleges in the surrounding area such as: Northeastern, Berkeley College of Music, Boston University, Boston College, etc. We targeted the age group that we regarded as the most “at-risk” with regards to their safety on and around MBTA’s Green Line Trolley System. Students and the general public’s attachment to their technology devices may prevent one from being observant of one’s surroundings. We believe this generation’s digital tendencies mean that the best way to engage this target group is through multiple forms of media.

Through our multimedia strategy, we are able to accomplish spreading awareness to this “millennial group”, as well as any group that works, lives, and plays within the neighborhoods that the Green Line serves. The Green Line safety video was available online at Life saver, but is also broadcasted at high-density locations such as the South Station Intermodal Transportation Center. These ads also ran through the video-sharing website, YouTube, highly utilized by the millennial age group. Additionally, we utilize social media websites, such as Twitter, by running advertisements, sponsored posts, and “tweets” that target the age group that live in this surrounding area.

In order to engage more groups who may not be as attached to technology, we hold college fairs in Boston this gave us a chance to present on Green Line safety awareness with educational material and handouts. Advertisements could also be found in school newspapers (e.g. BU Daily Free Press paper, Northeastern University Paper, and Boston College newspaper). Moreover, we run public service announcements on two of the most listened to college radio stations in the Boston metropolitan area: MIT’s WMBR and Emerson College’s WERS. This is an effective form of reaching our target audience because many students listen to these stations.

Operation Lifesaver official website.

Operation Lifesaver for kids.

Can you pass the test?

1. True or False: It is okay to walk on railroad property as long as you are not between the rails of the track?

False-Railroad property is private property. It is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing. Trains are wider than the rails of the track and may have wide loads or straps extending beyond the sides of the cars. When waiting for a train to pass at a public crossing, be sure to remain at least 15 feet from the nearest rail.

2. True or False: It is okay to cross the tracks anywhere, as long as you can see 1/4 mile in each direction?

False-The only place you should cross the tracks is at a designated public crossing with a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a I 9 gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing.

3. True or False: A freight train with 100 cars traveling 55 miles per hour requires a distance of one mile or more to stop?

True-After applying the emergency brakes, a train traveling at 55 miles per hour travels one mile or more before it comes to a stop. Remember, locomotives and freight cars are 4,000 times heavier than the family car, and it takes a great deal more distance for them to stop.

4. True or False: I will have plenty of time to get out of the way of an approaching train because I will hear it coming?

False-Today's trains are quieter than ever. When operating on welded rail, the familiar "cliquey-clack" sound is no longer made. Also, trains do not sound the whistle continuously; By the time a locomotive engineer sees you and sounds the whistle, you may not have enough time to react. Stay away from the tracks.

5. True or False: At a crossing, the flushing red lights and gates of the active warning devices are only for the vehicles. It is okay for a pedestrian to ignore them and cross in front of the train?

False-The signals provided by the active warning devices at highway-rail crossings apply to both motorists and pedestrians. You can be cited for failing to comply with these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing. Wait for the lights to stop flashing before proceeding across the tracks.

6. True or False: Railroad property is public property. I have the right to use it for recreation or as a shortcut, whenever I feel like it?

False-Railroad property is private property. If you are on railroad tracks, equipment or cars without permission, you are trespassing and are subject to criminal prosecution.

7. True or False: A locomotive is not always in front of a train?

True-Railcars can move in either direction at anytime. Trains are sometimes pushed by locomotives instead of being pulled. This is especially true in commuter and light rail passenger service.

8. True or False: It is okay for you to cross just as soon as the last car of a train passes the crossing?

False-Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train has cleared the crossing. There might be a second train coming in either direction or on another track that you cannot see because the first train blocks your vision. Wait until the first train has traveled away from you so that you can see clearly in both directions. If there are flashing red lights at the crossing, never move until the lights stop flashing.


MBTA Transit Police Department 
240 Southampton Street
Boston, MA 02118

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617-222-1200 TTY
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