Map Your Mileposts

Across the United States there are over 200,000 railroad crossings.  A recent incident involving a truck colliding with a passenger train killed at least six people.  What happens when an accident occurs away from a major intersection?  How do emergency responders identify the location?  That is where the milepost becomes important.

Railroads have a “milepost” mile marker system line address similar to that found on interstates and major highways. The milepost (MP) addresses are set at approximately one-mile intervals along a designated line. When reporting an emergency situation to a 911 call center, the railroad staff will typically refer to the MP address. It is precise to them but unfortunately is rarely integrated on 911 maps.

It is critical for an emergency manager to be prepared to locate and respond to a railroad emergency based on a milepost marker location. GIS mapping system users would greatly benefit from integrating grade crossings, mileposts and other railroad infrastructure with existing maps.

Many railroads already have GPS mapping of their lines, but the data is done for internal engineering and maintenance purposes, and may not encompass the land outside the immediate right of way. By integrating data from railroads and the community, emergency response time can be greatly reduced.

See the full destructive force of a train/truck collision here: http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/35871-destroyed-in-seconds-railroad-crossing-crash-video.htm

Read the full article here: http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Why-Emergency-Response-Plans-Include-Railroad.html

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