Calgary Transit adopts safety measures after platform fatality

Posted on September 9, 2010 by Claire Atkinson, Senior Editor

[IMAGE]calgary-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Following the death of a three-year-old boy at a C-Train platform in June, Calgary Transit sought a peer-reviewed safety audit from the American Public Transit Association (APTA), added signage to platforms in train interiors and plans to post a video with safety information on its Website.

The boy died when he broke away from a family member and was caught between a moving train and the platform, the Calgary Herald reported.

Brian Whitelaw, an officer with the Calgary Police Service and coordinator of public safety and enforcement for Calgary Transit, said the agency has been going through APTA's recommendations. "It's been a great opportunity to learn about what the other jurisdictions have implemented," he said. "This particular case impacts everybody in the community and Calgary Transit, so we all ask ourselves, 'Is there anything that we could have done?'"

In the wake of the fatality, Calgary Transit installed decals on platforms and in stations, at a cost of $10,765, according to the Herald. "That was done to alert and remind people they have to stay behind the yellow line," Whitelaw said. "In this particular case, we don't think it would have made a difference. It's just a reminder that people are dealing with a 40-ton train."

A regular triennial safety audit, to be conducted this fall, will also look at platform safety issues.

"We're looking at whether there are any design features on the train or on the platform itself that could be implemented in a practical way [to prevent injuries or fatalities], but we are an open system at surface level so it's fairly limited," he explained, saying that a barrier system is an example of a less practical solution, although it hasn't been ruled out.

A station refurbishment program not related to the fatality increased the size of platforms to reduce overcrowding, improved lighting and doubled the width of the yellow line on the platform at downtown stations, Whitelaw said.

Calgary Transit is also producing a video to be posted on its Website to educate customers about the system's safety features.


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