Data is more than just numbers or a simple collection of information. Data tells a story. When it comes to rail safety, it can tell us what happened in the past, what is happening now, and what might happen in the future. Data can tell us where to spend funds to improve safety and it can tell us if the improvements we funded are helping. In fact, accurate data analysis can save lives!

  1. Saving lives!

That’s right, the most important factor for a Rail Safety Program is leveraging the data collected about crossing conditions, safety features, and past incidents to determine ways to improve the crossing to reduce incidents and potential injuries or deaths. Implementing a robust crossing data management system will give you the proper tools and capacity to capture and manage this critical data.

A desired system is designed to standardize and streamline the railway-highway crossing data management and analysis workflow processes. It must be able to collect and maintain a wide variety of data, information, documentation and even photos.  Additional workflows should be able to facilitate the collection and storage of all required Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inventory characteristics, and then be able to transmit this data directly FRA.  Furthermore, it’s important that the system has data import and export capabilities to help facilitate the collection and release of rail inspection data to the parties that need it.  In an ideal system, when the tools and methods you have in place are properly utilized, project funding can be properly assigned, key or critical deficiencies get repaired, and negative incidents can be reduced, which may reduce injuries and even save lives.

  1. Capitalizing on limited funding for the safety of railroad and roadway users

Grade crossing incidents are one of the leading causes of rail-related deaths in the United States and having quality data and accurate grade crossing information accessible to all stakeholders is key to a successful rail safety program.  Funding for rail and highway safety can be dispersed in so many ways. Often times money for safety projects can be limited. Precise data analysis is needed to determine which deficiencies and improvements are the most deserving of the funds that may be available. An effective data management system is needed to accurately collect, catalog, store, filter, and analyze a multitude of key data elements… any one of which can be the deciding factor to determining that fate of a project or improvement.  It’s imperative to have a system that can provide the data analysis you require, and any stakeholder should be able to filter and examine the data needed to either propose a critical project, or in some cases, fund it. Find a system that ensures that highest priority projects, or the most urgent deficiencies, can be more efficiently selected to receive critical funding.

  1. Track improvement projects throughout the program Lifecycle

Once important projects or improvements have been funded and are underway, a variety of stakeholders can track projects from planning stages through the encumbrance of funds, contract creation and execution, processing any number of construction milestones, the receipt of invoices, balancing drawdowns and expenditures, and eventually close out. A robust data management system will provide workflows to manage these important processes efficiently. Project development, progress and overall spending should be monitored to ensure that each individual crossing, work within a specific regional, or project success across an entire state can be effectively managed to ensure projects end timely, dollars are spent wisely, and the impacts of each project can be monitored for overall success and the reduction of incidents.

  1. Analyzing how improvements reduce incidents

Consistent data management, monitoring and trend analysis will eventually lead to better overall rail crossing improvements and the reduction of incidents that cause damage, injury and death. The most important factor to data management is the ability to properly access, export and analyze your data. Ensure that your data management methods or system include a robust data selection and reporting component.  This means that it should be able to query and extract data in a granular and specific manner.  While it is important to collect and input accurate data, the ability to export the data, in order to  examine the costs, improvements and trends enacted to reduce incidents, is what leads to success.

Are you ready to get a control of Railway-Highway Crossing Data?

It’s time to say goodbye to tedious, manual processes, and get more out of the data you need to collect and manage. Benefit from a robust, hosted and secure data management system designed to specifically standardize and streamline the highway-rail crossing data, document, storage and analysis workflow processes.  Take advantage of a system developed to track and manage safety, maintenance and construction projects, and a system designed to meet federal crossing data collection standards and provide the option of electronic submission of US DOT Crossing Inventory data to the FRA. . Learn more about BlackCat Rail and request a demo.

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