DDOT, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. and FTA Announce Partnership to Promote DC Streetcar Safety in Schools

DDOT Receives Grant to prepare for H Street/Benning Road Launch with Educator Toolkits and School Safety Program

Today, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) joined forces with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) to announce “Look, Listen, Be Safe!,” a program to educate students along the H Street/Benning Road corridor about streetcar safety.  The program, which is partially funded by an Operation Lifesaver (OLI) grant, is aimed at helping students be safe when interacting with DC Streetcar.

DDOT Director Matt Brown, FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan, and Operation Lifesaver, Inc. President Joyce Rose, along with representatives from DC Public Schools and the community, visited the Browne Education Campus on 26th Street to announce the grant and kickoff the program. After the grant announcement, students were treated to a presentation led by DDOT engineers about DC Streetcar operations and safety.

“DDOT is excited to partner with OLI to bring such an important awareness program to our students,” said DDOT Director Matt Brown.  “As we move closer to launch, we want everyone, but particularly our students, to become familiar with the system and understand how to be safe around the streetcar.  Streetcar safety is all about paying attention—and we want everyone to Look, Listen, Be Safe!”

Today’s kickoff is the first in a series of steps to prepare local students for the streetcar’s launch later this year. Educator toolkits featuring grade specific lesson plans, activity sheets and maps with ideas that teachers can incorporate into the classroom were delivered to schools along the H Street/Benning Road corridor throughout September. In October, DDOT will conduct safety assemblies along the corridor and offer a webinar for other schools that want to replicate the activities.

“Operation Lifesaver is pleased to work with DDOT and the DC Public Schools to help educate the students and families of Wards 5 and 6 about safety around the new DC Streetcar,” said Joyce Rose, President of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. The Streetcar Smarts educational materials were created through an FTA-funded grant from Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit rail safety organization committed to educating the public about safety around railroad tracks.  President Rose continued, “We look forward to actively working with DDOT through our Virginia-Maryland-DC OL program to support the Streetcar Smarts campaign with Operation Lifesaver safety presentations for students and the greater DC community.”

This program was partially funded through a partnership with Operation LifeSaver, a non-profit rail safety organization committed to educating the public about the need to remain safe around railroad tracks.   With support from FTA, mini-grants have been offered to state OL programs who partner with transit agencies, allowing them to develop safety programs and materials for their riders.

“The Federal Transit Administration is pleased to partner once again with Operation Lifesaver on this crucial campaign to raise awareness about the need for students to be safe around transit,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “As more and more communities around the nation choose to build light rail, streetcars, and other transit services that operate alongside pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, we must continue to educate everyone on the importance of putting safety first.”

In addition to the school safety program, DDOT will continue its “Look, Listen, Be Safe!” safety awareness campaign which includes “boots on the ground” education and outreach along streetcar corridors, a special safety page on the DC Streetcar website, an animated video that describes general safety tips and a “How To Ride” Video to familiarize the public with the system; safety posters in businesses and at Streetcar stop shelters along with safety outreach events leading up to launch.

For more information, visit www.dcstreetcar.com.