INFOGRAPHIC: How Safe Is U.S. Rail?

INFOGRAPHIC: How Safe Is U.S. Rail?

by Marly Hazen McQuillen
19. March 2012 14:44

As a follow up to a recent blog post, I decided to investigate statistics from the Federal Railroad Association Office of Safety Analysis.

How safe are America's railways?

Here's a snapshot of safety results from 2001 to 2010:

  • Total number of rail accidents or incidents decreased by 28.3%.
  • Hazardous material releases decreased by 34.4%.
  • Derailments decreased by 40.2%.
  • Collisions decreased by 40.5%.

From 2001 to 2010, both injuries and fatalities fell, by 24.7% and 25.3%, respectively. The number of accidents or incidents per million train miles fell by 27.9%.

How Safe Is U.S. Rail?

Safety improvements through the decades

The evidence supports long-term trends. In 2010, the Association of American Railroads noted that the train collision rate had declined 89.9% since 1980.

In the same news release, AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger credited improved safety rates to record investments by freight rail lines: in infrastructure, equipment and technology.

Note: The infographic was first published before data from December 2011 had been released. 2011's statistics continue the trend towards greater safety. In fact, the accident / incident rate was 16.3 events per million train miles in 2010. The rate fell to 15.2 in 2011, an improvement of 6.7% year over year.


How Safe Is U.S. Rail?

Read Marly's original rail safety post at the Greater Memphis Chamber's logistics blog.

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