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Metro Transit wins safety award because fewer people are being hit by trains

Here's what Metro Transit did to reduce the number of pedestrian-train collisions.

Metro Transit is getting some national recognition for its safety efforts.

The Twin Cities light rail line won a gold award for safety in the light rail/streetcar category from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) on Monday, a news release says.

The APTA touted Metro Transit's public outreach program to improve pedestrian safety around the light rail lines, which helped cut the number of pedestrian collisions in half.

Metro Transit began this new safety campaign in January of 2016, Drew Karr of Metro Transit told GoMN. It included flashing train headlights, cautionary signals at train crossings, ads and a social media campaign.

The year leading up to the campaign, there were 14 light rail-pedestrian collisions, Karr said.

As for the use of emergency brakes, operators used them 1,084 times in 2015, Karr added. That went down to 849 times last year.

The following year (from Jan. 4, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017), there were seven light rail-pedestrian collisions. Train operators also reported "significantly less" use of the emergency brake, APTA said.

Last year, Metro Transit was named APTA's transit system of the year.

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