Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WP: Full Coverage of Metro Train Wreck

My local Metrorail station, NY Ave.

The Post, and pretty much every news outlet in town has detailed coverage of the horrific accident that killed nine (two others were very seriously injured). The cause of the crash is not yet clear. This was by far the deadliest incident ever on a metro train. Even so, looking at the numbers for Metro over the years, it remains very clear how much safer it is to take the train than to hop in your car and drive to commute. There is much more out there, but here is a site containing information about a certain Amtrack stretch from Boston to NY and comparing the same commute if made by car or plane.

Here are some other interesting links looking at train and mass transit safety versus that of automobiles:

A Comparative Analysis of Six Methods for Calculating Travel Fatality Risk (2003)

Public Transit = Much Safer Travel (2001)

Mass transit can be a real lifesaver (2005)

Terrorism, Transit and Public Safety: Evaluating the Risks
(2005 -pdf)

What Metro needs is more funding to replace older cars. The train that struck the first train was from a series that is more than thirty years old. Newer trains are built to better withstand impact (reducing injuries and fatalities), and have better equipment to avoid such impacts (though it isn't clear if the use of a newer train would have prevented this tragedy). We also need to make sure the basic structure of the system is safe and solid, and that operators (let's recall the recent door opening scandal) are well trained.

The City Desk coverage is worth a read.
Also check out this Post online discussion with experts about the possible causes of the crash.


alizadk said...

Actually, the death toll is only seven, with two critically injured. Hopefully it will remain at seven.

inked said...

The Post reports it as nine. Four bodies in the morgue last night, and five more bodies recovered from the wreckage this morning.

inked said...

Though they had lowered the number to 7 early this morning, reports coming out in the past several hours have all said 9 dead.