DOT Report Shows Need for Transit Changes

Backing recent calls by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff for approval of the administration's transit safety legislation, a new DOT report indicates there were 297 fatalities and 19,979 injuries in 2008 transit incidents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics has released "State Transportation Statistics 2009" as a web-only product. The seventh annual report in this series lists transportation data by state, including data on infrastructure, safety, registered vehicles, and vehicle-miles traveled.

A chart in the report backs up recent calls by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff for swift congressional approval of the Obama administration's transit safety legislation. Table 2-16 indicates there were 4,193 transit collisions during 2008 in the United States (including Puerto Rico) that killed 159 people and injured 7,809. All reportable incidents during the year -- including non-collision incidents, such as derailments, that caused 138 deaths and 12,170 injuries -- resulted in $66.7 million in property damage, according to the table.

Table 2-13 is a breakdown of warning devices in place at 136,040 public highway-rail grade crossings as of 2008. While cross bucks were installed at 39.3 percent of them and gates were installed at 30.9 percent, only 16.2 percent of the grade crossings had warning lights and only 8.4 percent had stop signs, according to the chart.

Another table reports total railroad-related fatalities during that year broke down this way:

  • Rail employees: 28
  • Rail passengers: 24
  • Trespassers: 598
  • Non-trespassers: 151
  • Other: 2

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