Concern About Rail Safety Following Hoboken Crash

Rail safety has come to the forefront of both local and national conversations this week after a NJ Transit train crashed into the station at Hoboken on Thursday, killing one woman, injuring scores of others and causing major disruptions to transit service. While it’s too soon to know what caused the crash, RPA’s Rich Barone and other experts have noted that a modern safety technology, positive train control, needs to be adopted by NJ transit and other rail lines. Positive train control can automatically slow or stop a train when an operator has failed to do so.

New York Post:

National Transportation Safety Board officials have said PTC could have prevented scores of accidents — including a 2013 Metro-North train crash in The Bronx that killed four people. More recently, the board said the technology could have saved lives in the 2015 Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight people. “It could have prevented those accidents,” said Rich Barone, vice president for transportation at the watchdog Regional Plan Association. “It is something that should be installed everywhere, but there isn’t the money and the resources to do it.”

Fox 5 :

Rich Barone, vice president for transportation of Regional Plan Association, said a 2015 federal mandate for positive train control was not met and was extended to 2018. Barone said it is too early to speculate what went wrong but said human error, equipment failure, or even the lack of technology could be to blame.

Wall Street Journal:

“We’re behind in introducing the latest technologies,” said Richard Barone, a transportation expert at the Regional Plan Association, a New York City-based urban planning group. “The agencies are undercapitalized.”