Train-school bus collisions are a major cause of concern for pupil transportation operations throughout the nation. In March 2000, a school bus collided with a train on the Georgia-Tennessee border, killing three elementary students and injuring three others. That accident has raised widespread concerns about railroad crossing safety for school buses.
According to Don Sundquist, the governor of Tennessee, the state has dedicated a combination of federal and state money to make safety improvements at more than 750 railroad crossings that school buses cross throughout Tennessee.
The state has approximately 3,429 public railroad crossings, but about two-thirds of them are lacking lights, gates or active warning devices.
A reported total of $5 million will go toward the project. About 80 percent of it is federal money with the rest coming from the state’s transportation fund.
The plan will likely place better signs and clearer pavement markings at crossing sites. There will also be significant landscape work performed to improve visibility around these areas.