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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Railroad Implemented Countermeasures to Prevent Suicide: Review of Public Information

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Grade Crossing and Trespass Outreach/Education, Trespasser Programs
Suicide, railroad, trespass, countermeasure, suicide prevention

The public discussion of railroad safety initiatives can help to improve safety, either directly with the public through an increased awareness, or by encouraging other carriers to consider similar safety efforts. Rail carriers are often quick to promote trespass and crossing safety efforts, however, efforts to mitigate rail suicide are often not discussed. Suicide is unique from other rail safety topics in that it requires more precise language when discussing publicly. Responsible discussion of suicide prevention can increase the availability of information on how to get help, while limiting the dramatization of these events, thereby reducing the likelihood of copycat events. In this report, the authors conducted web-based searches to identify rail-specific efforts to mitigate suicide that have been publicly discussed, either by the carriers themselves or through the media. Generally, there is limited discussion of suicide-specific prevention efforts being undertaken by rail carriers, and the level of detail provided about these efforts varies. In total, 14 carriers and a range of strategies were identified including fencing, signage, detection and monitoring, training of employees and authorities, public and industry events, websites, and media guidelines. Partnerships with suicide prevention groups, both local and national, were most often discussed.

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Last updated: Friday, March 29, 2019