Safety First: how RTD FasTracks prepares communities for new lines
"He parked his car on the train tracks? That's really stupid!"
In September, RTD and Operation Lifesaver (OLI) visited the Green Valley Ranch campus of the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST). Roughly 1,000 DSST middle and high school students heard safety messages and tips in preparation for the opening of the University of Colorado A Line through their neighborhood.
RTD's mock railroad crossing and a car, which was crushed by a freight train, were staged in front of the school. Soon, waves of purple-clad students came running out to see the display.
RTD and OLI representatives explained the true story of the crushed car: A high schooler borrowed his parents' car for a night out with friends. On his way home, he decided to park the car on, what he thought, was the side of the road and "answer nature's call" in an empty field. When he returned, he realized to his dismay that he had actually parked on a set of train tracks. Unfortunately, the car was destroyed beyond recognition.
The students were amazed at the damage the train had caused; especially when they learned that the train had only been travelling at 55 miles per hour. "That's it?" They asked in disbelief.
When told that RTD commuter rail vehicles will travel up to 79 mph, every single student promised to practice safe habits-on foot or in a car-around train crossings.
Safety is RTD's number one priority
With the addition of four rail lines in 2016 and the introduction of commuter rail technology to the Denver metro region, RTD recognizes that public awareness and education about train safety is vital to communities. To address this, RTD staff is promoting safety messages with area schools, public groups and community gathering spots like recreation centers and libraries.
Since January 2015, RTD has reached out to school leaders to provide important safety tips to students and parents.
RTD has published messages in school newsletters, sent home flyers and hung posters inside schools.
Approximately 6,000 students who attend school along the University of Colorado A Line have been reached.
The CU A Line, when it opens in spring 2016, will run for 23 miles between Union Station downtown to Denver International Airport.
The biggest accomplishment in this safety campaign has been the in-person training sessions with students and parents. If your student attends a school that is within a one-half mile radius of the CU A Line, you've likely seen RTD at back-to-school nights, parent-teacher conferences or other family events hosted by the schools. RTD has also been invited by many schools to offer in-depth, face-to-face safety presentations to students during classes.
You can watch what our outreach is like during our visit to Park Lane Elementary School in Aurora. AuroraTV produced the video below:
What can you do?
RTD reminds you to always practice safe habits around buses, light rail and commuter trains.
With each new opening, RTD rolls out safety campaigns to the impacted neighborhoods and communities. If you live, work or attend school near one of RTD's four new rail lines and new bus rapid transit coming in 2016, look for safety updates and tips.
Visit RTD's safety page and share with your family and friends.
To request a safety presentation to a group, contact Tara Bettale at 303-299-2641.
A first grade class at Swigert International School watches a safety cartoon as part of a safety presentation
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