Finally, these intersections will appear in Google Maps. The New York Times reports that the Federal Railroad Administration “plans to announce a partnership with Google” today to list all railroad grade crossings in Google Maps.
Google is going to partner with the FRA to provide locations of every public and private highway railroad crossing in the country through Google Maps so that drivers navigating through it are made aware of such crossings ahead of time.
Google will tap into the U.S. Department of Transportation’s database to gather the information, The New York Times said, and drivers will be alerted through voice navigation and visual alerts through Google Maps, so long as they’re navigating using Google’s software.
According to the FRA, crossing accidents can usually be attributed to driver inattention and error (ironic with the increasing reliance on smartphones).
Trains traverse more than 212,000 such crossings in the U.S. each day, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which led to around 270 deaths in 2014 — a 9 percent rise on the previous year.
Accidents are typically caused by human error, and with many railroad crossings there aren’t any barriers or lights between the road and the railway track, leaving it entirely up to the visual attentiveness of the driver to spot a road sign.
The vast majority of these accidents and deaths are preventable, said Sarah Feinberg, the Federal Railroad Administrations acting administrator, speaking to the NYT.