In communities across America, trains come to a stop at railroad crossings, sometimes blocking traffic for hours. The federal government has amassed tens of thousands of reports of such incidents in the past year alone from nearly every state.
This is more than an inconvenience: Our reporters have heard from emergency medical workers and patients about trains blocking crossings in ways that have kept ambulances and those in need of assistance from hospitals, and members of fire and police departments have told us about delayed responses to calls. We have witnessed people climbing through or over the cars of stationary trains, including students trying to get to school.
We’d like to understand how these safety issues are experienced by as many communities as possible. Insights from EMS, firefighters, police, parents, educators and others will help us tell the most impactful stories possible.