Trespasser Mitigation

Railroad Trespassing is a National Issue 

Trespassing on railroad property is the leading cause of all rail-related deaths in the United States. In fact, more fatalities and injuries occur from trespassing on railroad property than from motor vehicle collisions with trains at highway-rail grade crossings. Between 2012 and 2017 alone, total annual trespass-related pedestrian fatalities increased by a staggering 18% nationwide, from 725 deaths in 2012 to 855 in 2017Experts also found that trespass accidents between 2012 and 2016 cost society approximately $43 billion, in the form of passenger and goods movements delays. 

As a result, in 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations requested the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) study and identify the causal factors that lead to trespassing incidents and develop a National Strategy to Prevent Trespassing on Railroad Property 

Unfortunately, San Diego County was identified as one of the top ten locations for railroad trespasser casualties from November 2013 to October 2017 per the results of the Federal Railroad Administration’s analysis.

NCTD is currently working closely with public agencies, elected officials, and the community to consider and implement strategies outlined in the report as a key to reduce the risk and occurrence of trespasser incidents along its rail lines.

Understanding the Danger

From September 2017 to September 2020, there were more than 40 fatalities, 50 accidents, and 155 near-miss events attributable to pedestrian trespassing along the rail lines that run from Oceanside to San Diego and Escondido to Oceanside.  It is a common misconception that the incidents that occur on the tracks are mostly due to suicide attempts. While this may be the case in some incidents, there is a very high percentage of accidents and fatalities that are not. See below for a few of the actual stories from these unfortunate trespassing incidents. 


Trespasser Hot Spots: Oceanside, Encinitas, Del Mar

  • Oceanside – Trespassing within the City of Oceanside constitutes approximately 22.5% of fatalities, 22% of accidents, and 14% of near misses.
  • Encinitas – Trespassing within the City of Encinitas constitutes approximately 20% of fatalities, 18% of accidents, and 12% of near misses.
  • Del Mar – Trespassing within the City of Del Mar constitutes approximately 7.5% of fatalities, 8% of accidents, and 17% of near misses.