Invest in safety first

Posted on July 16, 2009 by Alex Roman - Also by this author

In the wake of two high-profile train accidents in Washington, D.C., and Boston, the National Transportation Safety Board, this week, made a recommendation to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to facilitate the development and implementation of positive train control for rail transit systems nationwide. It also urged the FTA to advise all rail transit operators with train control systems capable of monitoring train movements to evaluate their systems for adequate safety redundancy.

With public transportation enjoying record investment, there will soon be new rail lines, improved infrastructure and top-of-the-line equipment for riders to take advantage of and the industry to point at as a positive leap toward creating a more intermodal transportation system. Ridership gains are sure to follow as the prevalence of local public transportation systems grow, as well as the nation’s confidence in those systems.

Let’s be honest. Whether it is operations, capital equipment, high-speed rail lines or any of the many other areas that are crying for investment, everybody has an opinion as to which deserves to have more money thrown its way. Perhaps, we should take a step back and realize what will be the most important aspect to invest in: creating nationwide standards for ensuring that these growing public transportation systems and accompanying riderships will be safe and accident-free.  

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