“Back on Track: Bringing Rail Safety into the 21st Century”06 Aug 2015, Posted in Blog Posts
The nation’s bedrock infrastructure is aging, and railroads are no exception. Tracks and rail beds are not equipped to handle the demands of growing traffic. From the 4,400 percent growth of oil train shipments to the recent devastations in commuter rail incidents, the constant traffic across the United States demands a higher level of safety. While recent improvements to the DOT-111 tank car standards will make crude oil transportation safer, more can and should be done to improve rail bed and track conditions in order to ensure the safety of passenger trains and rail cars carrying hazardous and non-hazardous commodities.
In light of growing concern for rail safety, the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) created an in-depth report examining the causes of train derailments, and providing recommendations to current policies to improve overall rail safety.
Several key points from the report:
• 39% of derailments are caused by track or rail bed deficiencies and 33% are caused by human error
• Improving “alerter” devices and requiring two person crews will help reduce derailments caused by human error
• Federal enhancements to tank car standards for trains carrying hazardous materials will not improve passenger rail safety or trains carrying non-hazardous commodities
• Rail owners and operators must leverage available technologies for continuously monitoring track and rail bed conditions
• Rail owners need more effective and frequent track and rail inspection policies
Aii is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing the nation’s need for improved infrastructure related to energy, transportation, and technology advancements.
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