Google Maps could soon alert you of rail crossings

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The federal agency that oversees railroads is asking digital mapping companies to alert users as they approach track crossings.

The Federal Railroad Administration announced Monday that, so far, Google has agreed.

The effort comes as deaths from train-on-vehicle collisions increased in 2014 over 2013 — a rare rise in recent years. This year included major accidents near New York City, Los Angeles and in North Carolina.

It's not yet clear when the audio and visual cues will begin popping up.

For its part, Google Maps said through spokeswoman Mara Harris that it is sees a chance to make the maps more useful.

Agency spokesman Matthew Lehner said the railroad administration also has asked Apple, TomTom, MapQuest and Garmin to participate.

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