Teens in the Driver Seat® in partnership with Union Pacific Award $850 to Schools with the Most Innovative Solution for Railroad Safety
One Georgia team and two Texas teens came out on top. Students from Chattahoochee High School finished in the top tier of award winners in the Teens in the Driver Seat® Track-A-Thon contest sponsored by Union Pacific. In close second, were students from C.C. Winn High School.
The theme of the Track-A-Thon was Pedestrian Rail Crossing Safety. The contest accepted video, essay, or slideshow pitches as contest submissions by individuals or teen teams. The Track-A-Thon was created for students to submit their most innovative idea to prevent pedestrian rail crossing incidents. The innovations could be communication campaigns, awareness activities, new technology, or infrastructure advancements.
Current Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data shows that highway-rail grade crossing collisions and pedestrian trespassing on tracks together account for over 95% of all railroad fatalities. Our winners exceeded expectations of innovation in solving for the most crucial safety issues.
- 1st Place $500 – Daniel Shin & Jonah Turner, Chattahoochee High School
- 2nd Place $250 – Sarai Rocha, C.C. Winn High School
- 3rd Place $100 – Hector Saldana, C.C. Winn High School
Shin and Turner were able to relate to trends of their peers and current technology utilized by youth in their presentation. They recommended a new bell signal that includes 1KHz range frequency that can move through noise-cancelling headphones with their wavelengths. According to Shin and Turner, this would provide a sound that warns humans, tunes out distractions, and ensures pedestrians are aware of a quickly approaching train.
Rocha and Saldana utilized their personal experience and that of their peers to come up with high-quality obstacle detection through advanced CCTV cameras and increased signage outlining threats to pedestrians crossing railroad tracks. Rocha noted that she had often missed signs at railway crossings or didn’t understand how severe the consequences of disregarding these signs could be. To increase awareness for youth her age, Rocha recommended adding signs that outline the various threats pedestrians can encounter.
Saldana took a more technological approach to his solution with a recommendation for high-quality detection through CCTV cameras. These cameras are commonly used for security and have a variety of assets including wide lens, night vision and advanced data storage. Saldana noted that this would help researchers understand trends of pedestrians and how to increase safety.
For more information on the Track-A-Thon contest and rail safety data currently impacting teens, visit: https://www.t-driver.com/track-a-thon/.