The OneRail Coalition released a new report today, "Rail Safety in the United States" highlighting a 31 percent decline in rail accidents over the past 10 years. This positive safety trend occurred even as passenger rail traffic grew and freight rail traffic remained steady over the same time frame.
"Freight and passenger rail have many benefits, including the overall safety of travel by rail when compared to its primary alternatives," said Anne Canby, Director of OneRail. "Increasing market share for rail by getting more goods and people onto trains would save lives and reduce injuries, significantly improving the overall safety of the nation's transportation system."
The report highlights a number of factors that have contributed to this positive safety trend over the years, including improvements to rail infrastructure such as welded rail and treated wood crossties, grade crossing programs such as Operation Lifesaver and sealed corridors, the introduction new track inspection and monitoring technologies, the strengthening of tank cars, and the introduction of collaborative safety programs such as Confidential Close Call Reporting.
To continue progress, a host of new initiatives are underway focusing on the leading areas of rail-related accidents, including trespassing, grade crossings, human factor-caused accidents, and track issues. These efforts, including increasing public awareness of the dangers of trespassing on rail property and failure to heed warnings at rail-highway grade crossings, furthering knowledge of the Emergency Notification System, the creation of the Short Line Safety Institute, the implementation of Positive Train Control, new uses for drones and big data, and the advancement of phased array ultrasonic rail inspection will all make rail even safer going forward.
"Rail Safety in the United States" is available online at www.onerail.org/railsafety.
About The National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP)
NARP is the only national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.