WASHINGTON, July 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) today issued a report – "Back on Track II: How Innovation and Automation Improve Rail Safety"– outlining considerable gains in safety by rail carriers, attributing much of the progress to an increased emphasis on technology and improving infrastructure integrity. The paper is an update to a 2015 report that called for such actions to be taken, including the need for the industry to meet its obligations to implement the anti-crash technology, Positive Train Control (PTC). While Aii notes that railroads must do more to reduce and eliminate accidents, research shows that the industry, particularly on the freight side, has taken tangible steps to reduce the primary causes of accidents while also meeting critical benchmarks in implementing PTC.
"Since publishing our prior report in 2015, we are encouraged by the progress made by railroads, particularly how this industry is implementing new safety technologies," said Aii Chairman and Founder Brigham McCown. "With safety figures showing a slow plateauing effect though, the industry must still aggressively innovate and invest to make further progress. That said, lawmakers and regulators must do their part to encourage and not hinder this progress."
To that end, the report notes that the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration should consider three reforms to increase rail safety:
1) Increase Safety Technology Deployment – expand use of commercially available technologies to continuously monitor track, equipment, and roadbed conditions.
2) Reduce and Eventually Eliminate Human Error Caused Incidents – encourage the evolution of Positive Train Control (PTC) and automation for both rail safety and efficiency and enhance multimodal communication to address human error more broadly.
3) Improve Safety Consistent with President Trump's Deregulatory Agenda – consider actions that could advance the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda, while also helping improve safety.
Aii also addresses an important challenge: reducing fatalities at high-rail grade crossings, which totaled 270 in 2018 alone. "Technologies that would facilitate communication between different modes of transportation – in this case, trains, passenger vehicles and freight trucks – could go a long way in reducing grade crossing and incidents while save lives," the report states.
The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national, educational organization dedicated to identifying our nation's infrastructure needs, creating awareness of those needs, and finding solutions to critical public policy challenges. Aii strives to promote proven, innovative technology and higher safety standards to achieve excellence nationwide.
SOURCE Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure