Metrolink announced Thursday it has received a $59,000 federal grant to fund a campaign aimed at deterring people from committing suicide on its train tracks.
Metrolink officials said suicides accounted for 40% of all incidents of trains striking pedestrians between 2017 and 2019.
The grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will fund an outreach campaign focused on training and public engagement, along with targeted awareness efforts at four “hot spots” -- in north Orange County between Anaheim and Santa Ana; south Orange County from San Juan Capistrano through San Clemente; the San Fernando Valley between Van Nuys and Burbank; and the San Fernando/Sylmar area.
Metrolink officials said a contributing factor to suicides by train is the prevalence of homeless people living near the tracks. According to the agency, research shows that the availability of a means of death is a major factor in suicides.
“Metrolink is eager to work with law enforcement and community groups to help in any way we can to educate individuals at homeless encampments about options available to them,” said Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “This grant is a force multiplier for our efforts to keep people safe in the vicinity of our tracks.”
The agency already displays the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, on posters and its electronic signs at rail stations.
Metrolink staff will work on the outreach campaign with a team of psychologists from the University of Denver Transportation Research Center. The project will last 12 months.