FRA Releases Demographic Report on Rail Trespasser Fatalities. Trespassers account for the largest number of fatalities in the railroad industry - approximately 500 per year. In order to better understand who is trespassing, their locations, and the reasons they are on railroad property, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a report using three years of reported trespasser fatalities. Medical examiners and coroners across the country were surveyed, and based on the best information available from those who elected to participate in the study, the average trespasser is most often a 38-year-old Caucasian male under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, with a median household income of $36,000. More than 25 percent did not graduate from high school, and 18 percent were determined to be suicides. The report, Rail-Trespasser Fatalities: Developing Demographic Profiles, includes a state-by-state breakdown and shows California and Texas recording the highest number of such events. The report strongly recommends additional demographic analysis to reinforce and expand on these results in order to develop targeted educational and outreach programs and law enforcement initiatives to reduce the number of rail trespassing incidents.
FHWA Revises Highway Environmental Review Process. The Federal Highway Administration issued a new regulation on March 12 to help create a more consistent and predictable environmental review process for federal highway projects nationwide while continuing to protect important parks, recreation, refuge and historic resources. The new rule will simplify the Section 4(f) process and clarify factors to be considered in evaluating "feasible and prudent alternatives" for road projects.