Google and the Federal Railroad Administration today announced a partnership that would help Google get information about all public and private railroad crossings in the United States. What’s the purpose for that? Safer and more accurate navigation, of course.
Having access to the entire database of railroad locations allows Google to build safety features into Google Maps that will warn you — both with visual and audible cues — when coming up to a railroad crossing. This should help people drive more cautiously at these points and cut down on railway accidents which were apparently the cause of more than 280 deaths and over 800 injuries last year.
Unfortunately there’s no timeline for the feature’s arrival, but Google should work fast enough to get the functionality into Google Maps before year’s end. In the meantime, the FRA has its own app you can use to find railroad crossings in your area to make sure you know where they are on your routes.
[via New York Times]