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Carpooling Benefits Essay Contest

Participant Eligibility:

  • Both the poster and essay contests are open to all students in grades K-12 attending schools in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
  • Entries must be the student’s own work.
  • Student may submit one entry each to the poster contest and/or one entry each to the essay contest.

Poster Entry Criteria:

Participants are asked to illustrate why it is important to keep your “Eyes Up, Devices Down" when near the railroad tracks.

Each entry must be:

  • Submitted at a size no smaller than 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches and no larger than 12” x 18”.
  • Submitted via the contest email address: metracontest@metrarr.com or standard U.S. mail to: Sylvia Ortiz-Cooper, Metra Safety Poster Contest 547 W. Jackson Blvd. - Suite 1400 Chicago, Illinois 60661
  • Files no larger than 2 megabytes in size if submitted electronically.
  • Submitted with a Metra Safety Poster Contest entry form attached.
  • The participant's original work.

Please note: 

Entries using photography and/or trademarked or copyrighted characters will be disqualified.

Please note that all winning entries will be scanned and converted to electronic images. Therefore, Metra cannot accept three-dimensional artwork. We also advise that entrants refrain from folding their artwork for mailing.

Essay Entry Criteria:

Participants are asked to explain in 300 words or less why it is important to keep your “Eyes Up, Devices Down” when near trains and railroad tracks.

Each entry must:

Please note: Essays containing fictionalized information will be disqualified.

Judging Criteria:

Winning entries will be selected on the basis of:

  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Fulfillment of contest guidelines
  • Expression of the contest theme, "Eyes Up, Devices Down."

Winner Notification:

Winners will be notified by the end of May 2018 so be sure to provide contact information including school and home addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers.



For the poster contest, first place, second place and third place winner will be selected from each participating grade level, K-12.

  • First place winners will receive an iPad.
  • Second place winners will receive a $250 Gift Card.
  • Third place winners will receive a $100 Gift Card.

Winning entries will be printed as next year's weekend tickets, displayed in Metra stations, featured in the Metra Safety Calendar.


One winner will be selected from each of the following groups, Elementary School (grades K-4), Middle School (grades 5-8) and High School (grades 9-12). The winner of each group will receive an iPad.

Winning entries will be featured on the Metra Contest website and in the 2019 Safety Calendar.


All entries must be received electronically or postmarked by Jan. 31, 2018.

Entries can be submitted via metracontest@metrarr.com email address or via standard U.S. mail to:  Sylvia Ortiz-Cooper, Metra Safety Poster Contest 547 W. Jackson Blvd. - Suite 1400 Chicago, Illinois 60661


Please contact Metra at metracontest@metrarr.com or at (312) 322-6776, if you have any questions.

Entry Form for Mail Submissions


Please contact Metra at metracontest@metrarr.com or at (312) 322-6776, if you have any questions regarding participation and contest rules.

Metra is not responsible for lost or incomplete entries. Metra cannot return completed entries submitted as part of the contest. Once submitted, Metra becomes the owner of all essays and related materials.

By submitting materials for Metra's 2017-2018 Safety Poster and Essay Contest, you are agreeing that all participants have parental consent to submit materials to Metra. Additionally, you are giving Metra permission to use the name, hometown and school of each participant. Pictures of winners also may be taken for and used in Metra promotional activities related to the essay contest.

Carpooling is a concept that’s catching on, even among the most diehard drivers. That’s because there are a lot of upsides to sharing a ride. We totally get the advantages of controlling the car keys and radio, but you have to admit there are times when carpooling makes a lot of sense.

Whether you’re driving with co-workers to the office or arranging kid carpools to school, here are a few reasons why you should give ridesharing a try.

Carpool Lane Quickness

Finally! The HOV lane is at your disposal. Even during the jam packed rush hours, high occupancy vehicle lanes are often wide open. Imagine how much time you’d save by being able to breeze past all the single drivers that are stuck in traffic by themselves. In some areas, taking the HOV is so fast it can cut your commute in half.

Not Having to Drive Every Day

We know new drivers are super eager to get behind the wheel after taking drivers ed courses and passing the test to get a licence. But the novelty will wear off if you’re commuting or driving on a daily basis, especially if you have to drive through heavy traffic. For years, psychologists have noted driving can be stress inducing. Leave to MIT to figure out driving in traffic can be just as stressful as skydiving for the first time.

It’s nice to get a break every now and then to let someone else be the chauffeur.

Can Get Work Done on the Way to Work . . . or Sleep or Text

When you don’t have to operate the vehicle, you have the ability to do a lot of other things. Like safely texting in a moving vehicle or checking your email so it’s out of the way before you get to work. Or you could invest $5 of the money you’re saving in gas to buy an eye mask and catch a quick nap. Until driverless cars become a viable mode of transportation, the next best thing you’re going to get is a carpool.

It’s Cheaper

Daily driving can add up. When you factor in wear and tear, gas, oil and insurance driving can be expensive depending on how many miles you drive. In fact, many insurance companies base your monthly car insurance premium on how many miles you drive in a year. Shaving off just one day of driving a week can make a real difference for your monthly budget.

You’ll Feel Better Knowing You’re Helping the Environment

Many carpoolers say they enjoy knowing that they’re limiting their carbon footprint by sharing rides. Cars are one of the largest single sources of greenhouse gas emissions. South Florida Commuter Services has crunched the numbers and found that if a person carpools just two days a week it can eliminate 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gases a year.

You’ll Feel Better Knowing You’re Alleviating Traffic

Another feel-good benefit of carpooling is being part of the traffic solution rather than the problem. For each person in a carpool that means one less car on the road jamming up the traffic. Again, South Florida Commuter Services has dug through the data to come up with an interesting factoid. If everyone carpooled just one day a week traffic on major highways would be reduced by 20%.

ONE LAST NOTE: If you choose to carpool, help the driver out by being a good passenger. It makes the ride safer and can ease the stress on the driver.

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