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:
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.
Also check out this Post online discussion with experts about the possible causes of the crash.