Transportation: An Opportunity for Safety

By Parkhurst, David; Tackett, Jamie | Nation's Cities Weekly, February 9, 1998 | Go to article overview

Transportation: An Opportunity for Safety


Parkhurst, David, Tackett, Jamie, Nation's Cities Weekly


The U.S. transportation system is the world's most extensive network connecting 265 million people and 6 million business establishments. Improvements in technology, vehicle safety, emergency response, and public awareness of prevention methods, have helped lower traffic accidents as a percentage of total U.S. deaths according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Still, however, traffic accidents accounted for approximately half of all accidental deaths in the United States over the past decade.[1]

Safety enhancing resources have begun to curb the problem of transportation related accidents. In Scottsdale, Arizona, the City designed and implemented software that helps it develop comprehensive information on accident trends and necessary enforcement tools. With advances like those in Scottsdale, the US. transportation system is safer but it will never be risk-free.

A sampling of hot transportation safety issues includes:

Highway-Rail Grade Crossings. In 1995, Fox River Grove, Illinois was the scene of a disastrous collision between a crowded school bus and a speeding commuter tram. Seven students were killed and 24 were injured, and the accident prompted a series of investigations and legislative actions.[2] In 1996, a U.S. Department of Transportation task force delivered a report entitled, Accidents that Shouldn't Happen. The principal finding was that "improved highway-rail grade crossing safety depends upon better cooperation, communication, and education among responsible parties if accidents and fatalities are to be reduced significantly."[3]

U.S. rail-highway grade crossing accidents have been cut in half since 1980. Cooperation between the rail industry and the federal government has helped, facilitated by the Rail-Highway Crossing Program begun in 1974. But accidents still occur at the 162,000 public crossings across the nation. In 1996, according to the U.S. DOT there were 4257 highway-railroad crossing accidents that killed 488 people and injured 1,610.[4]

More than 50 percent of rail-highway collisions occur at crossings equipped with active warning devices (e.g. gates, flashing lights, horns). Very few accidents are the result of failed warning devices. Rather, driver risk-taking and lapses in judgment are the principal factors. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires that each lead locomotive in a train be equipped with an audible warning device. But there are no federal regulations specifying when those devices should be sounded. Individual railroad operating procedures and state law specifies those requirements. At crossings with passive warning devices (e.g. stop signs, crossbuck signs), a train's whistle is the only audible warning of its approach.

According to federal government and rail industry research, tram whistles are a necessary tool that save lives. But there are 227 cities in 27 states that have enacted whistle ban ordinances. However, the policy debate over whistle bans may end soon. The federal Swift Rail Development Act of 1994 directed FRA to issue a rule mandating the use of tram horns at all public crossings. The rule will preempt local ordinances that ban train whistles, except where other safety measures are shown to provide the same level of safety.[5] Implementation of a final FRA rule is still pending.

The rising volume of freight trams running through many U.S. cities is also a potential safety challenge. The increased volume is a result of a strong economy and railroad mergers. Even Amtrak the financially-strapped passenger rail provider, connects freight cars to some of its passenger trains. But this rising volume poses a safety risk for cities whose rail-related infrastructure is inadequate to handle the increased traffic.

For instance, the merger of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads will more than double the number of trains running through Wichita, Kan. Currently, these railroads together run 22 trains through Wichita daily which has a metropolitan population of more than 300,000. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Transportation: An Opportunity for Safety
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.