BNSF recognizes four states with inaugural award for grade crossing safety

Jul 1, 2024

FORT WORTH, Texas – Today, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) announced it is honoring four state Departments of Transportation for their dedication to improving grade crossing safety in their communities, a first-of-its-kind initiative to reduce grade crossing incidents across the company’s 32,500-mile network.

The inaugural “Tracking to Zero” awards have been awarded to Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming for averaging less than one grade crossing incident per one million BNSF train miles traveled in their respective states. Data reported in 2023 to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) confirms the findings.

“BNSF’s commitment and passion for safety sets us apart,” said BNSF Assistant Director of Public Projects Richard Scott. “In 2023, we had our best year for employee safety in our company’s 175-year history, leading the industry. It’s important we also recognize those communities who are committed to helping us maintain the lowest grade crossing collision rate in the industry.”

Examples of actions taken by the winning state DOTs to improve railroad crossing safety include, but are not limited to:

  • Installing grade-crossing separations
  • Enhancing signal systems at existing crossings
  • Researching and piloting new crossing safety technologies
  • Utilizing both state and federal funding to maximize railroad crossing safety improvements
  • Prioritizing community education and utilizing land use planning and awareness campaigns
  • Implementing various measures to reduce railroad trespassing

“Because trains are limited in their ability to prevent a collision, safety gains are better achieved by improving how drivers interact around railroad tracks,” Scott said. “State DOTs can make a big difference when it comes to their communities’ safety by prioritizing rail safety projects and campaigns that help drivers make better decisions.

”Grade crossing safety is an integral part of BNSF’s operations and culture. It involves daily cooperative efforts between the railroad and the more than 5,000 communities in 28 states (and three Canadian provinces) we serve. Since 1995, BNSF’s rate of grade-crossing collisions has declined from an average of 5.3 incidents per million trail miles, to 1.89 in 2023.

BNSF’s safety vision includes zero grade crossing incidents on our railroad. In our efforts to reach less than one incident per million miles traveled on our system by the year 2030, BNSF will continue to recognize DOT teams leading the way in our efforts.

For more detailed information on grade crossing safety efforts taken in each of the awarded states, email

Kendall Kirkham Sloan
Director of External Communications