June Safety Month: Game Day Safety

Austin FC season is in full swing and CapMetro is a great way to get to the game. Getting to and from the game safely is the most important goal of the night! According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, someone is struck by a train at a highway rail crossing every three hours. Trains can’t stop quickly. A train that is traveling 55 miles per hour can take more than a mile to stop, even with an emergency application of the brakes.

Follow these tips to stay safe around train tracks :

  • Stop if you see flashing red lights.
  • Only cross at a designated public crossing.
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing.
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing.

Be safe and be smart. If you are going to the game at Q2 Stadium, please look out for the flashing lights and rail crossing gate arms and NEVER trespass by walking along tracks outside of designated public crossings. Use sidewalks, even if it takes a bit longer.

Whether you take the train or bus, it’s important to stay alert amidst the festive atmosphere. It can be really easy to move and walk with the crowd but that doesn’t mean you’re protected from distracted drivers. Keep your head up and continue to look for traffic when the game is over. Don’t just spill into the street where you run the risk of getting hit.

If you are headed for some post-game festivities and have mapped your trek, make sure your eyes aren’t glued to your screen the entire time. Check your phone periodically and only when you’re safely on the sidewalk or a corner out of the street.

Whether you take the train or bus, CapMetro is always a good choice for a safe ride.


June Safety Month – Rail Safety

Pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders: Did you know that walking along railroad tracks is trespassing? It’s illegal, but most importantly it is deadly. Railroad tracks and the nearby right of way are private property with access strictly limited to railroad personnel and those who have been granted permission. It may seem harmless, but more than 1,000 people are either killed or injured each year in the United States while trespassing on railroad tracks, yards and other railroad property, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Remember, CapMetro trains are faster and quieter than traditional freight trains, and they are not required to sound their horns at grade crossings in quiet zones. If you’re near the tracks, it’s possible you won’t see, hear or feel a train coming. Be safe and only cross at designated pedestrian crossings.

One more thing – please do not take photos or selfies on or near railroad tracks.

Drivers: To avoid striking a train at a grade crossing, we have some simple tips that save lives.

  1. Any time is train time! Keep in mind that trains move quickly and are a lot closer than you think. Remember to stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing.
  2. Don’t try to race the train. The train moves extremely fast and it takes more than a mile for a train to come to a full stop.
  3. Flashing red lights indicate a nearby train from either direction. Don’t cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing.
  4. Don’t drive past the lowered gate: It’s illegal and can cause serious accidents.
  5. Never stop on the tracks. Make sure you can cross the tracks safely before driving over them.

June is National Safety Month!

At CapMetro, safety is our core value. The National Safety Council made June national safety month to help us keep each other safe – in the workplace or anyplace. CapMetro wants everyone to be safe while taking transit, driving, walking and riding scooters or bikes.

Data from the National Safety Council shows that Texas roads have become more lethal with a 15% increase in deaths from 2020 to 2021 and an even larger 25% increase in deaths when you compare it to 2019. As more people return to the roads, it’s even more important to practice safe driving.

Pedestrians: Remember to always use the crosswalk. Crossing the street in the middle of the block (without a pedestrian beacon) is illegal, but most of all it’s dangerous. Crosswalks provide you an extra level of protection because drivers expect to see pedestrians at crosswalks but the same is certainly not always true midblock.  Do not use your electronic device while crossing a street.

As you walk or exercise outside, pay attention to your surroundings and traffic. Stay alert and put phones away, make sure you can hear potential warnings from drivers or cyclists.

Drivers: Stay alert and on the lookout for pedestrians, people riding bikes or scooters, and CapMetro vehicles. Please slow down and obey speed limits, respect traffic signs and avoid distractions.

Driving while using an electronic device is against the law. If you need to check a route or make a call, do so before driving or pull over to use your phone. More than 3,000 people every year die nationwide in crashes that involve a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

When you approach railroad crossings, be cautious. Stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing. Respect flashing red lights, do not drive around the lowered gate and never stop on the tracks. In the case of an emergency at a railroad crossing, call the number on the blue sign located on the signal.

Remember to also stay alert for buses as they stop for passengers.

Cyclists and scooter riders: Wear a helmet and ride with the flow of traffic. Use bike lanes whenever available, and respect traffic signs and signals. Avoid any distractions such as using your phone or listening to music and podcasts. Stay alert for pedestrians and never use a scooter or bike when impaired.


Transit & Health in Black Communities

Throughout our time talking about Project Connect, we’ve been clear that an investment in transit is an investment in equity.

What we mean by that is that public transportation ridership is heavily weighted toward low-income communities and people of color. And so when we improve our services, those benefits go toward the people who need them the most.

In addition, our country’s history has resulted in a landscape tilted against Black communities, who experience worse health outcomes, higher levels of air pollution and lower levels of public services overall. Good access to strong transit can help combat those issues and more.

Some of the most obvious benefits of transit are financial. It’s expensive to own, operate and maintain a car after all, and a monthly bus pass costs just $41.25.

Some of those are safety-related. Traveling by public transit is 10 times safer than by car.

Traffic safety also affects health outcomes, because people riding transit are in fewer collisions and therefore suffer fewer traffic-related injuries. Transit also brings improvements to the overall health of Black people and other communities of color in a variety of ways:

  • Transit takes cars off the roads, reducing air pollution from vehicles.
  • Transit combines with other active forms of transportation like walking and biking to and from stops or stations, enabling riders to get more exercise.
  • Transit connects people to medical centers, hospitals and doctors offices, giving more people access to regular healthcare appointments.
  • Transit increases access to healthier food options as well.

Public transportation can be a great equalizer for all communities and historically has been essential for Black Americans.