U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Transit Administration

Commuter Rail Safety Study

Prepared by:

Federal Transit Administration
Office of Safety and Security
Washington, DC 20590
November 2006

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
Background
Commuter Railroads
Sources of Data
FRA Accident/Incident Definitions
2.0 Commuter Railroad Accident and Incident Safety Trends
Other Information
3.0 In-depth: Commuter Railroad Fatalities
Number of Fatalities
Causes of Fatalities
Conclusion - Fatalities
4.0 In-depth: Commuter Railroad Injuries
Number of Injuries
Causes of Injuries
Conclusion - Injuries
5.0 Conclusion

List of Tables

Table 1: U.S. Commuter Railroads - 2005 General Information
Table 2: 10-Year Commuter Railroad Safety Trends
Table 3: Commuter Railroad Accidents, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 4: Commuter Railroad Highway-Rail Grade Grossing Accidents
Table 5: Commuter Railroad Fatalities by Year
Table 6: FRA-Reported Fatality Rates, January 1, 2000 through July 31, 2006
Table 7: Causes of Fatalities – January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 8: Fatalities by Cause and Type of Person Killed – January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 9: Fatality Event Descriptions, January 1, 2000 through July 31, 2006
Table 10: Causes of Fatalities by Commuter Railroad, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 11: Commuter Railroad Injuries by Year
Table 12: FRA-Reported Commuter Railroad Injuries – January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 13: FRA-Reported Injury Rates, January 1, 2000 through July 31, 2006
Table 14: Cause of Injuries, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 15: Commuter Railroad Injury Event Descriptions, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 16: Causes of Commuter Railroad Injuries by Type of Person -- January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Table 17: Key Points – 10-Year Comparison – Commuter Railroads and Amtrak
Table 18: Amtrak 10-Year Safety Trends

List of Figures

Figure 1: Fatalities by Type of Person
Figure 2: Fatalities per 10 Million Passenger Miles
Figure 3: Fatalities per Million Passengers Transported
Figure 4: Commuter Railroad Injuries by Type of Person, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006
Figure 5: Rates of Employee/Contractor Injury per 10 Million Passenger Miles
Figure 6: Rates of Employee/Contractor Injury per Million Passengers Transported
Figure 7: Rates of Passenger/Other Injury per 10 Million Passenger Miles
Figure 8: Rates of Passenger/Other Injury per Million Passengers Transported

1.0 Introduction

The commuter rail industry has a strong safety record. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in its Safety Report for 2005, shows that of the 45,650 transportation fatalities that occurred in the United States in 2005, only 81 (or 0.18 percent) are attributed to commuter rail. Of all U.S. surface-based transportation modes, only rail rapid transit has fewer fatalities and serious injuries per million passengers carried. Further, over the last decade, the number of passengers transported by commuter railroads has increased by almost 50 percent. Yet, over the same period of time, the rate of safety accidents/incidents per million total train miles and the rate of injuries per million passengers transported have each fallen by almost 50 percent.

While much progress has been made, significant accidents continue to occur, and the number of annual fatalities has not been reduced substantively over the last decade. Moreover, recent accidents have highlighted specific issues that need prompt government and industry attention. The exposure of pedestrians, trespassers, and motorists at highway-rail grade crossings and along the rail right-of-way continues to provide significant safety challenges with no immediate or cost-effective solutions.

There is a need to ensure that the safety performance of the commuter rail industry is appropriately assessed and analyzed, and that the results are documented and effectively communicated to the commuter railroads, government, industry associations, and other interested parties. To meet this need, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Office of Safety and Security, working cooperatively with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Office of Safety, has performed this Commuter Rail Safety Study. The objectives of this study are to:

Background

In the United States, commuter railroads are under the jurisdiction of FRA, yet receive substantial funding from FTA. FRA requires and ensures compliance with safety regulations established for the transportation of passengers on the general railroad system (see FRA regulations in sections 49 CFR Part 200 through Part 265). FTA, through terms and conditions placed on its grants for major capital projects (49 U.S.C. Section 5309) and urbanized area formula funding (49 U.S.C. Section 5307) works actively with commuter railroads to ensure safety in their design, engineering, construction and operation, and in the procurement of commuter rail vehicles. In Fiscal Year 2006, FTA invested over $460 million in 18 major commuter rail projects in varying stages of design, engineering and construction. In FY 2006, FTA also provided hundreds of millions of dollars to the commuter rail industry in urbanized formula funding. Both FRA and FTA also provide technical assistance and training to commuter rail professionals on a variety of safety and security issues.

Between 1991 and 2001, commuter railroads receiving funding from FTA reported summary accident data to FTA through the National Transit Database (NTD) and detailed accident/incident reports to FRA through the Rail Accident/Incident Reporting System (RAIRS) as required in 49 CFR Part 225. However, when significant revisions were made to the NTD in 2001, placing an additional burden on safety reporters, it was determined that commuter railroads no longer needed to report safety data to FTA, since they were already required by Federal law to file detailed accident and incident reports with FRA. In support of this change, FRA agreed to share its commuter rail safety data with FTA for analysis.

Now, five years after this change, FTA’s Office of Safety and Security, working with FRA’s Office of Safety, has performed an in-depth analysis of safety data reported to FRA by commuter railroads receiving FTA funds. By focusing on the safety issues experienced by operating commuter railroads, this analysis targets possible areas for improvement to be monitored by FRA and FTA in the coming years. Also, this analysis supports the identification of issues for consideration in the review of safety plans and programs established by commuter rail grantees for FTA-funded projects, extensions and vehicle procurements. Earlier recognition of likely design and operating issues can promote enhancements during project engineering and construction phases that could potentially save lives, reduce injuries and property damage, and reduce system interruptions and delays due to accidents and incidents.

Commuter Railroads

There are 19 commuter railroads operating in the United States that receive funding from FTA. Each year, these commuter railroads transport over 400 million passengers and provide almost 10 billion passenger miles of service. Every weekday in the United States, more than 1.5 million passengers use commuter rail service to reach their destinations. Commuter railroads receiving funding from FTA employ more than 25,000 people and, each year collect over $1.5 billion in fares from passengers. The 19 operating railroads receiving FTA funds include the following:

*Just initiated service in September 2006.

Table 1 shows the annual passengers transported by each commuter railroad in 2005, as well as other general information about each commuter railroad, including the number of vehicles operated, annual passenger miles, directional route miles and track miles, the number of stations, the number of rail grade crossings, and each commuter rail agency’s website. This information is based on submissions made by commuter railroads to FTA and FRA in 2005.

Table 1: U.S. Commuter Railroads -- 2005 General Information

Commuter Railroad Website Commuter Rail Vehicles Annual Passenger Miles Stations Directional Route Miles Track Miles Annual Passengers Transported Rail Grade Crossings
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX)
http://www.acerail.com/
20 29,172,897 10 172.0 180.0 619,873 127
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR)
http://alaskarailroad.com/
97 25,110,943 10 92.4 46.2 200,266 27
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT)
http://www.shorelineeast.com/
31 8,515,802 8 101.2 103.0 423,470 3
Long Island Rail Road (LI)
http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/lirr/
1,138 2,155,432,949 124 638.2 701.1 80,143,557 402
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ)
http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/
153 214,040,053 42 400.4 471.0 706,3775 40
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
http://www.mbta.com/
460 409,812,824 126 702.1 583.7 37,885,348 233
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW)
http://www.mta.info/mnr/index.html
1,013 2,139,477,109 109 545.7 799.6 73,111,076 161
Music City Star East Corridor Commuter Rail (MSC)
http://www.musiccitystar.org/
15 n/a 6 32.0 32.5 n/a 22
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD)
http://www.nictd.com/
66 122,470,066 20 179.8 130.4 399,7202 117
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC)
http://www.metrarail.com/
1,151 1,702,286,080 230 940.4 1,144.0 75,763,636 512
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR)
http://www.njtransit.com/sf_tr.shtml
1,237 1,762,112,322 168 1,070.2 1,115.9.0 67,069,100 329
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ)
http://www.caltrain.com/index.html
153 202,576,597 34 153.7 136.7 9,867,498 49
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX)
http://www.metrolinktrains.com/
159 319,517,007 53 778.0 631.0 9,445,414 443
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR)
http://www.soundtransit.org/
69 8,933,596 9 78.6 140.0 1,275,600 35
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX)
http://www.sdcommute.com/
35 41,583,500 8 82.2 83.7 1,485,125 34
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA)
http://www.septa.org/
357 405,976,113 156 449.2 695.0 29,851,513 116
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX)
http://www.tri-rail.com/
30 78,969,072 18 142.2 104.0 2,636,922 72
Trinity Railway Express (TREX)
http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/
54 69,979,591 10 69.5 43.3 2,242,564 34
Virginia Railway Express (VREX)
http://www.vre.org/
93 118,819,837 18 161.5 190.0 3,649,344 23
Total   6,331 9,814,786,358 1,159 6,789.3 7,331.1 406,734,283 2,779

As indicated in Table 1, there is a wide disparity in the level of service provided by different commuter rail agencies throughout the country. There are four large commuter railroads (Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Commuter Railroad, Metra, and New Jersey Transit) that collectively provide almost 73 percent of all passenger service in this mode. Each of these four railroads transports between 67 and 80 million passengers per year. There are also four medium-sized commuter railroads (MBTA, SEPTA, Metrolink, and the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board) that collectively provide 23 percent of passenger service in this mode. Each of these four medium-sized railroads transports between 9 and 38 million passengers every year. The 10 remaining smaller commuter railroads provide approximately four percent of all commuter rail passenger trips. Each of these smaller railroads averages between 200,000 and 3.7 million annual passengers.

In considering the diversity among the FTA-funded commuter railroads, it is also important to recognize the unique operation of the Alaska Railroad Corporation (AAR). A Class II railroad that extends from Seward, in the south of Alaska, to Fairbanks, in the interior of that state, AAR carries both freight and passengers between those two cities and to many destinations between them, including Denali National Park. Unlike traditional commuter railroad operations, the passenger service provided by the AAR is aimed primarily at tourists and private businesses that rent trains. However, the railroad is included in this study because it receives FTA funding and because, at least during the summer months, some of its scheduled service resembles traditional commuter rail transportation.

Sources of Data

Data used in this Commuter Rail Safety Study was obtained from FRA’s Office of Safety based on reports received from the 18 operating FTA-funded commuter railroads using the following forms, as required in 49 CFR Part 225:

This information is also maintained on FRA’s Office of Safety website, available at: http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/officeofsafety/. Summary data was collected from FRA for the 18 commuter railroads receiving FTA funding during the 10-year period between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 2005. In-depth accident and incident reports were collected from FRA for these 18 commuter railroads for the 79-month study period between January 1, 2000 and July 31, 2006.

FRA Accident/Incident Definitions

49 CFR Part 225.5 and 225.19 contain definitions of various key terms used in FRA’s accident/incident reporting regulations.

Accidents/incidents are further categorized as:

FRA not only collects information on the occurrence of accidents and incidents involving commuter rail vehicles, track, equipment and passengers, but also has full responsibility for ensuring compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations regarding the reporting of employee injuries and fatalities. Therefore, FRA collects detailed reports on each employee incident and accident from a minor bruise or contusion to an occupationally-related illness to a fatality resulting from a collision.

Key definitions for the reporting of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses arising from the operation of a commuter railroad include the following:

In collecting this data, FRA uses the following classification system to identify affected persons:

Note: FRA does not collect fatality or injury reports for suicides and suicides attempts. However, in many instances, because of the difficulty of determining suicidal tendencies, commuter rail agencies may still file reports with FRA for these incidents, classifying the killed or injured persons involved as “trespassers."

2.0 Commuter Railroad Accident and Incident Safety Trends

To provide an at-a-glance picture of the safety performance of the 18 commuter railroads receiving funding from FTA over the last decade, summary data was collected from FRA’s Office of Safety. Table 2 presents the analysis of this data, providing 10-year trends for key safety categories.

As indicated in this table, over the last decade:

Table 2: 10-Year Commuter Railroad Safety Trends

Category 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 % Change from Last Year % Change from 1996
***TOTAL ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS*** 2,314 2,210 1,959 2,032 2,023 2,128 1,912 1,918 1,818 1,796 -1.08 -22.39
Total accident/incident rate (per million total train miles) 61.57 55.23 47.14 47.43 45.84 42.36 37.57 37.31 34.64 32.96 -3.54 -46.47
Total accident/incident rate (per million passengers transported) 8.74 7.81 6.33 6.14 5.99 5.19 4.66 4.76 4.48 4.26 -4.90 -51.26
Total fatalities 75 93 62 61 74 99 92 66 74 81 9.46 8.00
Total injuries 2,299 2,045 1,816 1,891 1,900 1,978 1,797 1,804 1,650 1,849 12.06 -19.57
Fatality rate per million passengers transported 0.28 0.33 0.20 0.18 0.21 0.24 0.23 0.16 0.18 0.19 5.56 -32.14
Injury rate per million passengers transported 8.69 7.23 5.87 5.72 5.21 4.72 4.32 4.42 4.01 4.33 7.98 -50.17
Employee-on-duty deaths 5 3 2 2 0 2 3 2 3 1 -66.67 -80.00
Employee-on-duty injuries 1,620 1,402 1,259 1,260 1,280 1,308 1,163 1,097 968 958 -0.79 -40.86
Employee-on-duty injury rate per 200,000 hours worked 7.47 6.44 5.65 5.55 5.52 5.29 4.56 4.14 3.65 3.62 -0.56 -51.49
Trespasser deaths, not at highway-rail grade crossings 46 68 42 45 58 68 60 40 42 40 -4.44 -13.04
***TRAIN ACCIDENTS*** 100 85 89 77 105 127 137 147 149 113 -46.75 13.00
Train accidents per million train miles 2.66 2.12 2.14 1.80 2.38 2.53 2.69 2.86 2.84 2.07 -42.57 -22.06
Train accidents per million passengers transported .38 .30 .29 .23 .30 .31 .33 .36 .37 .27 -27.03 -28.95
Train accident fatalities 14 1 0 1 2 0 3 0 0 13 1,300.00 -7.14
Train accident injuries 122 11 6 4 21 47 110 83 36 232 4,900.00 90.16
Collisions 11 11 15 8 8 10 10 7 9 5 -50.00 -54.55
Derailments 39 31 17 14 28 32 42 41 48 25 -164.30 -35.90
Other types, e.g., obstructions 50 43 57 55 69 85 85 99 92 83 -16.36 66.00
Train accidents on main line 66 48 63 49 74 86 83 92 94 80 -28.57 21.21
Accident rate per million train miles 1.79 1.22 1.53 1.16 1.68 1.76 1.68 1.84 1.85 1.52 -28.59 -14.99
Accidents on yard track 30 31 18 25 27 40 51 51 54 30 -96.00 0.00
Accident rate per million yard switching train miles 40.85 51.35 35.75 49.09 129.15 28.54 33.44 33.96 30.48 15.38 -30.75 -62.35
***HIGHWAY-RAIL INCIDENTS*** 82 66 58 75 69 89 94 90 100 95 -6.67 15.85
Rate per million train miles 2.18 1.65 1.40 1.75 1.56 1.77 1.85 1.75 1.91 1.74 -9.24 -20.09
Highway-rail incidents fatalities 14 17 16 12 12 26 24 21 26 22 -33.33 57.14
Highway-rail incidents injuries 58 18 15 25 18 31 35 55 58 42 -64.00 -27.59
Incidents at public crossings 78 62 54 71 68 85 86 86 96 93 -4.23 19.23
*** Percent of total*** 95.12 93.94 93.10 94.67 98.55 95.51 91.49 95.56 96 97.89 2.00 2.91
***OTHER ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS *** 2,132 2,059 1,812 1,880 1,849 1,912 1,681 1,681 1,569 1,588 1.01 -25.52
Other incidents fatalities 47 75 46 48 59 73 66 45 49 45 -8.33 -4.26
Other incidents injuries 2,119 2,016 1,795 1,862 1,811 1,859 1,631 1,642 1,533 1,554 1.13 -26.66

Other Information

To support more in-depth analysis of trends in train accidents and highway-rail grade crossing accidents, additional information was analyzed for each of the 18 commuter railroads receiving funding from FTA during the 79-month study period between January 1, 2000 and July 31, 2006.

Table 3 presents a summary of the FRA reportable “train accidents” to occur at each of the 18 commuter railroads. It is important to note that the term “train accident,” as used by the FRA, only includes derailments, collisions, and other events involving railroad equipment, including trains/consists, bridges, other railroad vehicles, and track.

ollisions are defined by FRA “an impact between on-track equipment consists while both are on rails and where one of the consists is operating under train movement rules or is subject to the protection afforded to trains.” A train hitting a pedestrian or trespasser is not defined as a collision by FRA, and, therefore, these incidents are not included in Table 3. FRA recognizes the following types of collisions:

A derailment occurs when on-track equipment leaves the rail for a reason other than a collision, explosion, highway-rail crossing impact, etc. Other events classified as “train accidents” by FRA and included in Table 3 are:

Table 3: Commuter Railroad Accidents, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Commuter Railroad Total Derailment Head on Collision Rear end Collision Side Collision Raking Collision Broken Train Collision Obstruction Fire/Violent Rupture Other Impacts Other Events Accident Rate per Million Passengers Transported
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX) 1 1                   0.22
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 18 14         1     1 2 7.89
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT) 2             2       0.84
Long Island Rail Road (LI) 95 49   3 3 2   23 8 7   0.18
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ) 12 2   1 2     2     5 0.29
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 7 2       1   3     1 0.03
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) 331 24 2 4 4 3   46 29 23 196 0.70
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD) 3 3                   0.12
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC) 34 17 2   4 5   3 1 1 1 0.07
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR) 216 98   1 3 2 1 15 22 16 58 0.51
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ) 10 6           4       0.16
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX) 19 10 1         6     2 0.32
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR) 1 1                   0.21
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX) 6 4           1   1   0.67
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA) 88 10 1 1 1 7   12 17 7 32 0.46
Trinity Railway Express (TREX) 3             2     1 0.24
Virginia Railway Express (VREX) 7 7                   0.34
Total 853 248 6 10 17 20 2 119 77 56 298 0.33

As shown in Table 3, the industry average rate for “train accidents” over the 79-month study period is .33 accidents per million passengers transported. Eleven (11) commuter railroads are at, below or just slightly above this industry average. Six (6) railroads are above the industry average:M/

Note: In Table 3, information is not provided for Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX).

Table 4 presents a similar summary for highway-rail grade crossing accidents. As with collisions, highway-rail grade crossings do not include trespasser-related incidents. As indicated in this table, over the 79-month study period:

The average industry rate is .61 highway-rail grade crossing collisions per 10 million passenger miles of service. With only 19 highway-rail grade crossing collisions, the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) has the highest rate of these collisions, due largely to the low number of passengers transported. Other commuter railroads experiencing rates of these collisions significantly higher than the industry average include the Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX), Metrolink (SCAX), and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD).

Note: In Table 4, information is not provided for Sounder Commuter Rail (SCR).

Table 4: Commuter Railroad Highway-Rail Grade Grossing Accidents

Commuter Railroad Total Automobile Truck Truck-Trailer Pickup Truck Van Bus Motorcycle Other Motor Vehicle Pedestrian Other Total Passenger Miles (1/1/2000 – 7/31/2006) Average Rate per 10 Million Passengers Miles Number of Highway Grade Crossings
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX) 4 1   1 1 1           29,172,897 1.37 127
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 19 12 1 1 5             25,110,943 7.57 27
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT) 1 1                   8,515,802 1.17 3
Long Island Rail Road (LI) 52 26 3 3           19 1 2,155,432,949 0.24 402
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ) 6 4 1     1           214,040,053 0.28 40
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 40 24 4 3 1         6 2 409,812,824 0.98 233
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) 17 8 2 4 1       1   1 2,139,477,109 0.08 161
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD) 24 20 3     1           122,470,066 1.96 117
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC) 163 111 8 8 4 4     1 24 3 1,702,286,080 0.96 512
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR) 73 35 4   2 6 1 2 1 17 5 1,762,112,322 0.41 329
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ) 30 15 1 2 1 1       10   202,576,597 1.48 49
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX) 92 51 5 11 8 2 2 1   10 2 319,517,007 2.88 443
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX) 4 1               2 1 41,583,500 0.96 34
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA) 16 10 2   2       1 1   405,976,113 0.39 116
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX) 44 29   3 3 2     2 4 1 78,969,072 5.57 72
Trinity Railway Express (TREX) 10 3   3 1 3           69,979,591 1.43 34
Virginia Railway Express (VREX) 2 2                   118,819,837 0.17 23
Total 597 353 34 39 29 21 3 3 6 93 16 9,805,852,762 0.61 2,722

3.0 In-depth: Commuter Railroad Fatalities

Number of Fatalities

As indicated in Table 5, during the 79-month study period, there were 526 fatalities reported to FRA by the 18 operating commuter railroads receiving FTA funds.

Table 5: Commuter Railroad Fatalities by Year
Commuter Railroad 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX) 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Long Island Rail Road (LI) 7 10 9 7 4 9 2 48
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ) 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 6
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 11 11 15 5 4 5 6 57
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) 4 3 6 1 4 2 1 21
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD) 5 17 23 16 13 17 4 95
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR) 21 32 16 8 17 9 6 109
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ) 14 12 5 10 9 9 10 69
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX) 1 1 9 13 5 17 5 51
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX) 1 4 5 2 2 0 1 15
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA) 3 3 4 0 7 5 0 22
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX) 3 3 0 2 5 6 2 21
Trinity Railway Express (TREX) 0 1 0 2 1 0 1 5
Virginia Railway Express (VREX) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 74 99 92 66 74 81 40 526

Figure 1 depicts the categories of individuals involved in fatality accidents during the 79-month study period, following the FRA classification system. This figure shows that:

Figure 1: Fatalities by Type of Person  Figure 1 presents a pie chart depicting the total fatalities for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006.  The largest group of people were Trespassers with 463 or 88% fatalities; followed by Non-Trespasser on Property with 26 (5%); Passenger on Train with 20 (4%); Employee with 14 (3%); Contractor – other with 1 (0%); and Contractor – On-Duty with 2 or 0%.

Table 6 presents rates of fatalities for each of the 18 commuter railroads receiving FTA funding during the 79-month study period. As shown in this table:

Table 6: FRA-Reported Fatality Rates, January 1, 2000 through July 31, 2006

Commuter Railroad Total Deaths Total Passenger Miles -- 1/1/00 to 7/31/06 Total Passengers Transported -- 1/1/00 to 7/31/06 Fatalities per 10 Million Passenger Miles Fatalities per Million Passengers Transported
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX) 3 211,948,186 4,595,420 0.14 0.65
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 2 170,285,543 2,282,368 0.12 0.88
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT) 1 89,996,703 2,386,778 0.11 0.42
Long Island Rail Road (LI) 48 14,613,905,968 541,891,111 0.03 0.09
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ) 6 1,264,525,122 41,663,129 0.05 0.14
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 57 2,933,273,179 252,088,993 0.19 0.23
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) 21 13,644,055,538 470,244,505 0.02 0.04
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD) 0 763,197,707 25,723,210 - -
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC) 95 10,164,599,377 460,524,158 0.09 0.21
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR) 109 9,645,805,013 420,185,730 0.11 0.26
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ) 69 1,266,123,839 62,070,481 0.54 1.11
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX) 51 2,042,955,338 59,953,520 0.25 0.85
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR) 0 35,657,984 4,837,609 - -
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX) 15 250,041,135 8,965,639 0.60 1.67
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA) 22 2,573,864,830 189,255,068 0.09 0.12
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX) 21 508,528,240 17,544,564 0.41 1.20
Trinity Railway Express (TREX) 5 360,930,702 12,736,271 0.14 0.39
Virginia Railway Express (VREX) 1 664,296,216 20,326,283 0.02 0.05
Total 526 61,203,990,620 2,597,274,837 0.09 0.20

Figures 2 and 3 provide a visual representation of these rates for the 18 commuter railroads receiving FTA funding during the 79-month study period.

Figure 2: Fatalities per 10 Million Passenger Miles  Figure 2 presents a bar chart depicting the number of fatalities per 10 million passenger trips for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006 by commuter rail agency as follows: Altamont Commuter Express Authority with 0.14; Alaska Railroad Corporation with 0.12; Connecticut Department of Transportation with 0.11; Long Island Rail Road with 0.03; MARC Train Service with 0.05; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with 0.19; Metro North Commuter Railroad with 0.02; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District with 0.00; Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation with 0.09; New Jersey Transit Rail Operations with 0.11; Peninsular Corridor Joint Powers Board with 0.54; Southern California Regional Rail Authority with 0.25; Sounder Commuter Rail with 0.00; San Diego Northern Railway with  0.60; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with 0.09; Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority with 0.41; Trinity Railway Express with 0.14; Virginia Railway Express with 0.02.

Figure 3: Fatalities per Million Passengers Transported  Figure 3 presents a bar chart depicting the number of fatalities per million passengers transported for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006 by commuter rail agency as follows: Altamont Commuter Express Authority with 0.65; Alaska Railroad Corporation with 0.88; Connecticut Department of Transportation with 0.42; Long Island Rail Road with 0.09; MARC Train Service with 0.14; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with 0.23; Metro North Commuter Railroad with 0.04; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District with 0.00; Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation with 0.21; New Jersey Transit Rail Operations with 0.26; Peninsular Corridor Joint Powers Board with 1.11; Southern California Regional Rail Authority with 0.85; Sounder Commuter Rail with 0.00; San Diego Northern Railway with  1.67; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with 0.12; Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority with 1.20; Trinity Railway Express with 0.39; Virginia Railway Express with 0.05.

Causes of Fatalities

Table 7 identifies the categories of probable causes attributed to the 526 fatalities reported by the 18 commuter railroads receiving FTA funding during the 79-month study period. Table 8 identifies these causes by the type of person affected.

Table 7: Causes of Fatalities – January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Fatality Cause 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total Percent
Environmental 1             1 0.19%
Equipment         2   1 3 0.57%
Human Factor 13 16 25 14 13 21 3 105 19.96%
Impairment, substance use         1     1 0.19%
Object fouling track           1   1 0.19%
Outside caused (e.g., assaulted/attacked)         1     1 0.19%
Procedures for operating/using equipment not followed       1       1 0.19%
Trespassing 58 81 65 50 52 56 32 394 74.90%
Trespassing, unrelated to using Remotely Controlled Locomotives (RCL)             1 1 0.19%
Undetermined 2 2 1 2 5 3 3 18 3.42%
Total 74 99 92 66 74 81 40 526 100%

Table 8: Fatalities by Cause and Type of Person Killed – January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Fatality Cause Worker on Duty - Employee Worker on Duty - Contractor Trespassers Passenger on Train Non-trespasser on Railroad Property Contractor other Total
Environmental 1           1
Equipment 1   1   1   3
Human Factor 7 2 71 9 15 1 105
Impairment, substance use     1       1
Object fouling track     1       1
Outside caused (e.g., assaulted/attacked) 1           1
Procedures for operating/using equipment not followed 1           1
Trespassing 1   382 11     394
Trespassing, unrelated to using Remotely Controlled Locomotives (RCL)     1       1
Undetermined 2   6   10   18
Total 14 2 463 20 26 1 526

Table 9 presents a summary of the event descriptions reported to FRA for the 526 fatalities that occurred during the 79-month study period. Table 10 provides causal categories for the fatalities occurring at each of the 18 commuter railroads receiving FTA funding.

Table 9: Fatality Event Descriptions, January 1, 2000 through July 31, 2006

Fatality Cause Worker on Duty - Employee Worker on Duty - Contractor Trespassers Passenger on Train Non-trespasser on Railroad Property Contractor other Total
Assault by other         2 1 3
Burned     1       1
Caught in/crushed by materials 1           1
Caught in/crushed in excavation, land slide, cave-in, etc. 1           1
Caught, crushed, pinched, other     1       1
Collision - between on track equipment 1     3     4
Collision/impact - auto, truck, bus, van, etc. 1   1       2
Derailment 1     12     13
Electrical shock due to contact with 3rd rail, catenary, pantograph 1   6       7
Electrical shock, other (explain in narrative) 1           1
Highway-rail collision/impact     132 1 12   145
Horseplay, practical joke, etc.     1       1
Lost balance         2   2
Other (describe in narrative)   2 18       20
Other impacts - on track equipment     1       1
Ran into object/equipment     1       1
Slipped, fell, stumbled, other     2 1 2   5
Struck against object     4 1     5
Struck by object 1   7       8
Struck by on-track equipment 4   285 2 8   299
Sudden/unexpected movement of on-track equipment 2   3       5
Total 14 2 463 20 26 1 526

Table 10: Causes of Fatalities by Commuter Railroad, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Commuter Railroad Environmental Equipment Human Factor Impairment, Substance Use k Object Fouling Track Outside Caused (e.g, Assaulted / Attacked) Procedures for Operating/ Using Equipment not Followed Trespassing Trespassing, Unrelated to Using Remotely Controlled Locomotives Undetermined Total
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX)               3     3
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 1   1               2
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT)               1     1
Long Island Rail Road (LI)   1 32         15     48
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ)               6     6
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)     10   1     41 1 4 57
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW)   1 9     1   10     21
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD)                     0
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC)     30         61   4 95
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR)     2 1       104   2 109
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ)     4         65     69
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX)     7         44     51
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR)                     0
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX)               15     15
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA)   1 10       1 7   3 22
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX)               16   5 21
Trinity Railway Express (TREX)               5     5
Virginia Railway Express (VREX)               1     1
Total 1 3 105 1 1 1 1 394 1 18 526

As shown in these tables, as reported to FRA, almost 75 percent of commuter railroad fatalities are attributed to the actions of trespassers. An additional 20 percent of fatality accidents were caused by human factors issues. The remaining five percent of fatalities were caused by a range of events, including environmental conditions, substance abuse, and undetermined causes.

Conclusion -- Fatalities

During the 79-month study period, the nation’s four largest commuter railroads (Long Island Railroad, Metro-North Commuter Railroad, Metra, and New Jersey Transit) were responsible for 79 percent of total commuter railroad passenger miles and 73 percent of all passengers transported. Combined, these four railroads reported 273 fatalities, accounting for 52 percent of the total. As evidenced in Table 4, due to the volume of passengers carried and the level of service, these four commuter railroads are near or below the industry average rates for fatalities per 10 million passenger miles of service and fatalities per million passengers transported. Two of these railroads, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Commuter Railroad, with only 69 fatalities between them over the 79-month study period, posted among the lowest fatality rates of all commuter railroads.

During the 79-month study period, the four medium-sized commuter railroads, including MBTA, SEPTA, Metrolink, and the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, provided 16 percent of total commuter rail passenger miles and 23 percent of all passenger trips. Combined, these four railroads experienced 199 fatalities and accounted for 38 percent of the total. Among this group, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board and Metrolink had the highest fatality rates per passenger miles and passengers transported. These rates are more than five times the rates of the other two commuter railroads in this category, and among the highest rates reported for all commuter railroads.

During the 79-month study period, the remaining 10 smaller commuter railroads provided five percent of commuter rail passenger miles and four percent of all passengers transported. Combined these railroads accounted for 54 fatalities or 10 percent of the total commuter railroad fatalities. In this group, the Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX) has by far the highest fatality rates, with the third highest overall rate by passenger miles and the highest overall rate by the number of passengers transported.

Also, in reviewing the fatality data, it is apparent that trespasser-related incidents comprise the vast majority (88 percent) of the 526 fatalities reported during the 79-month study period. However, because of the way in which the FRA reporting system is structured, it is impossible to determine which among these 466 trespasser fatalities may be suicides or occurred as the result of a passenger or pedestrian violating traffic signals and rules out of confusion, poor signage, or poor station or crosswalk design. FTA and FRA are committed to working together to ensure greater classification of these fatalities in the future to support more targeted analysis.

4.0 In-depth: Commuter Railroad Injuries

Number of Injuries

As indicated in Table 11, during the 79-month study period, there were 11,900 injuries reported to FRA by the 18 operating commuter railroads receiving FTA funds.

Table 11: Commuter Railroad Injuries by Year
Commuter Railroad 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX) 4 2 2 0 1 0 0 9
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 50 57 30 29 28 29 13 236
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT) 2 7 3 4 0 2 1 19
Long Island Rail Road (LI) 414 382 323 321 327 308 144 2,219
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ) 5 7 18 7 8 8 4 57
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 103 113 127 120 90 94 83 730
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) 476 466 375 431 366 281 138 2,533
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD) 21 8 21 26 31 17 10 134
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC) 283 388 360 262 264 407 141 2,105
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR) 174 219 208 226 189 201 124 1,341
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ) 25 23 31 29 34 20 17 179
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX) 31 24 53 59 24 103 11 305
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR) 0 1 2 3 1 0 0 7
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX) 5 1 4 4 3 3 1 21
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA) 279 262 202 232 246 343 217 1,781
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX) 18 14 28 46 32 27 6 171
Trinity Railway Express (TREX) 2 3 3 2 2 2 3 17
Virginia Railway Express (VREX) 8 1 7 3 4 4 9 36
Total 1,900 1,978 1,797 1,804 1,650 1,849 922 11,900

Figure 4 depicts the categories of individuals experiencing these injuries during the 79-month study period, using the FRA’s classification system:

Figure 4: Commuter Railroad Injuries by Type of Person, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006  Figure 4 presents a pie chart depicting the total Injuries by Type of Person for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006.  The largest group of people were Employees with 7,537 or 64% injuries; followed by Employee Not on Duty with 188 (2%); Passenger on Train with 2,193 (19%); Non-Trespasser on Property with 1,308 (11%);Trespasser with 294 or 2%; Contractor with On-Duty with 178 or 1%; Contractor with Other with 159 (1%); and Non-Trespasser off Property with 43 (0%).

Table 12 provides additional detail on number of injuries occurring at each of the 18 commuter railroads in operation during the 79-month study period by category of individual affected. Table 13 provides detail regarding injury rates at the 18 commuter railroads during the 79-month study period. This analysis shows that these rates are relatively consistent for the 18 commuter railroads:

Table 12: FRA-Reported Commuter Railroad Injuries – January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Commuter Railroad Total Employee -- On Duty Employee -- Not on Duty Passenger on Train Non-Trespasser on Railroad Property Trespasser Contractor -- On Duty Contractor -- Other Non-Trespasser off Railroad Property
Altamount Commuter Express, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACEX) 9 1 0 5 2 0 0 1 0
Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) 236 213 4 3 0 4 11 1 0
Connecticut Department of Transportation – Shoreline (CDOT) 19 16 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
Long Island Rail Road (LI) 2,219 1,664 24 181 296 35 3 16 0
Mass Transit Administration, Maryland Dept. of Transportation – MARC Commuter Rail (MACZ) 57 26 0 22 7 2 0 0 0
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) 730 575 18 82 40 15 0 0 0
Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) 2,533 1,881 68 176 330 12 4 48 14
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICD) 134 116 0 9 6 3 0 0 0
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation – Metra (NIRC) 2,105 704 30 969 245 110 14 13 20
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJTR) 1,314 962 38 168 97 44; 5 7 0
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCMZ) 179 120 2 9 16 20 10 2 0
Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink (SCAX) 305 64 0 110 0 26 99 6 0
Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (SCR) 7 0 0 3 3 0 1 0 0
North San Diego County Transit Development Board (SDNX) 21 13 0 2 0 4 2 0 0
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPA) 1,781 1,135 3 395 232 7 1 3 5
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (TCCX) 171 3 0 48 25 6 25 62 4
Trinity Railway Express (TREX) 17 6 0 3 3 4 1 0 0
Virginia Railway Express (VREX) 36 18 1 7 6 2 2 0 0
Total 11,900 7,537 188 2,193 1,308 294 178 159 43

Table 13: FRA-Reported Injury Rates, January 1, 2000 through July 31, 2006

Commuter Railroad Total Passenger Miles -- 1/1/00 to 7/31/06 Total Passengers Transported -- 1/1/00 to 7/31/06 Employee / Contractor Injury per 10 Million Passenger Miles Employee / Contractor Injury per Million Passengers Transported Passenger/Other Injury per 10 Million Passenger Miles Passenger/Other Injury per Million Passengers Transported
Altamount Commuter Express Authority/td> 211,948,186 4,595,420 0.09 0.44 0.33 1.52
Alaska Railroad Corporation 170,285,543 2,282,368 13.45 100.33 0.41 3.07
Connecticut Department of Transportation 89,996,703 2,386,778 1.78 6.70 0.33 1.26
Long Island Rail Road 14,613,905,968 541,891,111 1.17 3.15 0.35 0.94
MARC Train Service 1,264,525,122 41,663,129 0.21 0.62 0.25 0.74
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority 2,933,273,179 252,088,993 2.02 2.35 0.47 0.54
Metro-North Commuter Railroad 13,644,055,538 470,244,505 1.47 4.26 0.39 1.13
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District 763,197,707 25,723,210 1.52 4.51 0.24 0.70
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation 10,164,599,377 460,524,158 0.75 1.65 1.32 2.92
New Jersey Transit Rail Operations 9,645,805,013 420,185,730 1.07 2.46 0.32 0.74
Peninsula Commuter 1,266,123,839 62,070,481 1.06 2.16 0.36 0.72
Southern California Regional Rail Authority 2,042,955,338 59,953,520 0.83 2.82 0.67 2.27
Sounder Commuter Rail 35,657,984 4,837,609 0.28 0.21 1.68 1.24
San Diego Northern Railway 250,041,135 8,965,639 0.60 1.67 0.24 0.67
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority 2,573,864,830 189,255,068 4.44 6.03 2.48 3.38
Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority 508,528,240 17,544,564 1.17 5.13 1.59 4.62
Trinity Railway Express 360,930,702 12,736,271 0.19 0.55 0.28 0.79
Virginia Railway Express 664,296,216 20,326,283 0.32 1.03 0.23 0.74
Total 61,203,990,620 2,597,274,837 1.32 3.10 0.63 1.48

Figure 5 provides a visual representation of the rates of injury for railroad employees and contractors per 10 million passenger miles of service. Figure 6 presents the rates of injury for railroad employees and contractors per million passengers transported.

Figure 5: Rates of Employee/Contractor Injury per 10 Million Passenger Miles  Figure 5 presents a bar chart depicting the number of Employer/Contractor Injuries per 10 million passenger miles for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006 by commuter rail agency as follows: Altamont Commuter Express Authority with 0.09; Alaska Railroad Corporation with 13.45; Connecticut Department of Transportation with 1.78; Long Island Rail Road with 1.17; MARC Train Service with 0.21; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with 2.02; Metro North Commuter Railroad with 1.47; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District with 1.52; Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation with 0.75; New Jersey Transit Rail Operations with 1.07; Peninsular Corridor Joint Powers Board with 1.06; Southern California Regional Rail Authority with 0.83; Sounder Commuter Rail with 0.28; San Diego Northern Railway with  0.60; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with 4.44; Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority with 1.77; Trinity Railway Express with 0.19; Virginia Railway Express with 0.32.

Figure 6: Rates of Employee/Contractor Injury per Million Passengers Transported  Figure 6 presents a bar chart depicting the number of Employer/Contractor Injuries per million passengers transported for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006 by commuter rail agency as follows: Altamont Commuter Express Authority with 0.44; Alaska Railroad Corporation with 100.33; Connecticut Department of Transportation with 6.70; Long Island Rail Road with 3.15; MARC Train Service with 0.62; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with 2.35; Metro North Commuter Railroad with 4.26; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District with 4.51; Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation with 1.65; New Jersey Transit Rail Operations with 2.46; Peninsular Corridor Joint Powers Board with 2.16; Southern California Regional Rail Authority with 2.82; Sounder Commuter Rail with 0.21; San Diego Northern Railway with  1.67; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with 6.03; Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority with 5.13; Trinity Railway Express with 0.55; Virginia Railway Express with 1.03.

Figure 7 provides a visual representation of the rates of injury for passengers/non-trespassers/trespassers per 10 million passenger miles. Figure 8 presents the rates of injury for passengers/non-trespassers/trespassers per million passengers transported.

Figure 7: Rates of Passenger/Other Injury per 10 Million Passenger Miles  Figure 7 presents a bar chart depicting the rates of Passenger/Other Injuries per 10 million passenger miles for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006 by commuter rail agency as follows: Altamont Commuter Express Authority with 0.33; Alaska Railroad Corporation with 0.41; Connecticut Department of Transportation with 0.33; Long Island Rail Road with 0.35; MARC Train Service with 0.25; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with 0.47; Metro North Commuter Railroad with 0.39; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District with 0.24; Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation with 1.32; New Jersey Transit Rail Operations with 0.32; Peninsular Corridor Joint Powers Board with .036; Southern California Regional Rail Authority with 0.67; Sounder Commuter Rail with 1.68; San Diego Northern Railway with  0.24; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with 2.48; Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority with 1.59; Trinity Railway Express with 0.28; Virginia Railway Express with 0.23.

Figure 8: Figure 8: Rates of Passenger/Other Injury per Million Passengers Transported  Figure 8 presents a bar chart depicting the Rates of Passenger/Other Injuries per million passengers transported for the period of January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006 by commuter rail agency as follows: Altamont Commuter Express Authority with 1.52; Alaska Railroad Corporation with 3.07; Connecticut Department of Transportation with 1.26; Long Island Rail Road with 0.94; MARC Train Service with 0.74; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with 0.54; Metro North Commuter Railroad with 1.13; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District with 0.70; Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation with 2.92; New Jersey Transit Rail Operations with 0.74; Peninsular Corridor Joint Powers Board with 0.72; Southern California Regional Rail Authority with 2.27; Sounder Commuter Rail with 1.24; San Diego Northern Railway with  0.67; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with 3.38; Tri-county Commuter Rail Authority with 4.62; Trinity Railway Express with 0.79; Virginia Railway Express with 0.74.

Causes of Injuries

Table 14 identifies the causes of the 11,900 injuries reported to FRA during the 79-month study period. Table 15 provides categories of event descriptions reported to FRA for these injuries during the 79-month study period. Table 16 summarizes this information by type of person affected.

Table 14: Cause of Injuries, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Injury Cause 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total Percent
Act of God       2 1   1 4 0.03%
Close or no clearance       3 4 2 1 10 0.08%
Environmental 413 407 172 177 147 180 101 1,597 12.85%
Equipment 144 136 129 147 182 142 74 954 7.68%
Equipment, related to using Remotely Controlled Locomotives (RCL)           1   1 0.01%
Failure to provide adequate space between equipment during switching operation       1       1 0.01%
Human factor 732 790 1,097 1,100 897 1,037 507 6,160 49.57%
Human factor, unrelated to using RCL           1 2 3 0.02%
Impairment, physical condition, e.g., fatigue 3 7 6 6 10 5 2 39 0.31%
Impairment, physical condition, e.g., fatigue, related to using RCL           1   1 0.01%
Impairment, substance use 7 11 5 3 3 8 4 41 0.33%
Insufficient training       1       1 0.01%
Lack of communication       2 2 2 1 7 0.06%
Object fouling track       3 18 2 8 31 0.25%
Outside caused (e.g., assaulted/attacked)       24 92 37 16 169 1.36%
Procedures for operating/using equipment not followed 302 250 93 80 79 69 56 929 7.48%
Procedures for operating/using equipment not followed, unrelated to using RCL           1   1 0.01%
Safety equipment not worn or in place 18 27 19 28 17 9 4 122 0.98%
Signal 1 1 1 1 1     5 0.04%
Slack adjustment during switching operation       2       2 0.02%
Track 8 31 13 11 8 4 2 80 0.64%
Trespassing 42 36 48 57 36 99 17 335 2.70%
Trespassing, related to using RCL           1   1 0.01%
Trespassing, unrelated to using RCL           1   1 0.01%
Undetermined 227 282 214 156 153 247 126 1,405 11.31%
Total 1,900 1,978 1,797 1,804 1,650 1,849 922 11,900 100%

Table 15: Commuter Railroad Injury Event Descriptions, January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Injury Event Worker on Duty - Employee Worker on Duty - Contractor Trespassers Passenger on Train Non-trespasser on Railroad Property Non-trespasser off Railroad Property Employee Not on Duty Contractor other Total
Aggravated pre-existing condition 51 1   3         55
Apprehending/removing from property 12     1 1     1 15
Assaulted by coworker 13           1   14
Assault by other 136     15 17   4 2 174
Bitten by animal 5               5
Bitten/stung by bee, spider, other insect 78     3 1     1 83
Blowing/falling debris 56 3             59
Bodily function/sudden movement, e.g., sneezing, twisting 174 1   5 3 1 6 1 191
Bumped 9             1 10
Burned 24 1   1       3 29
Caught Between Equipment 4               4
Caught Between Machinery 3     2         5
Caught Between Material 6             2 8
Caught in/compressed by hand tools 29 3           1 33
Caught in/compressed by other machinery 29 2   4     1   36
Caught in/compressed by powered hand tools 18 1             19
Caught in/crushed by materials 66 9   4 1     5 85
Caught in/crushed in excavation, land slide, cave-in, etc. 2 1             3
Caught, crushed, pinched, other 428 8   86 13     10 545
Cave in, slide, etc. 10       2     1 13
Climatic condition, exposure to environmental cold 2     1         3
Climatic condition, exposure to environmental heat 8 1   1         10
Climatic conditions, other (e.g., high winds) 19     1         20
Collision - between on track equipment 73     158       2 233
Collision/impact - auto, truck, bus, van, etc. 200 5 1 2 2 14 9   233
Committing vandalism/theft       1         1
Defective/malfunctioning equipment 65     5 4       74
Derailment 26     302         328
Electrical shock due to contact with 3rd rail, catenary, pantograph 35 1 9         3 48
Electrical shock from hand tool 6               6
Electrical shock while operating welding equipment 4               4
Electrical shock, other (explain in narrative) 54 2     2     3 61
Exposure to chemicals – external 58     2 2   2   64
Exposure to fumes - inhalation 104     2 2       108
Exposure to noise - single incident 20 1             21
Exposure to noise over time 6               6
Exposure to poisonous plants 19       1     1 21
Exposure to welding light 15               15
Highway-rail collision/impact 18   127 74 33 3 4   259
Horseplay, practical joke, etc. 6   1 1 4       12
Lost balance 207 14 4 157 111 1 10 10 514
Missed handhold, grabiron, step, etc. 28     12 13     2 55
Needle puncture/prick/stick 39 2   2       1 44
On track equipment, other incidents 8     5 2       15
Other (describe in narrative) 321 25 11 70 20 1 3 8 459
Other impacts - on track equipment 16     3     1   20
Overexertion 1,299 18   18 1   12 8 1,356
Pushed/shoved from 4     4 4     1 13
Pushed/shoved into/against 38 1   5 8       52
Pushed/shoved onto 1   1 3 5       10
Ran into object/equipment 11   1 2 1   1 1 17
Ran into on-track equipment 3     1         4
Repetitive motion - other (describe in narrative) 24 2             26
Repetitive motion - tools 28 1           1 30
Repetitive motion - typing, keyboard, etc. 6               6
Repetitive motion - work processes 39 4             43
Rubbed, abraded, etc 32 1     3     1 37
Shot 1 1     1       3
Slack action, draft, compressive buff/coupling   7   1         8
Slipped, fell, stumbled, etc. due to climatic condition 403   1 215 314 6 36 2 977
Slipped, fell, stumbled, other 470 14 21 547 407 4 27 15 1,505
Slipped, fell, stumbled, etc. due to irregular surface 261 1 1 103 134 4 13 16 533
Slipped, fell, stumbled, etc. due to object, ballast, spike, etc. 442 2 6 40 64 2 31 7 594
Slipped, fell, stumbled, etc. on oil, grease, etc. 182 3   30 32 1 8 3 259
Stabbing, knifing, etc. 3           1   4
Stepped on object 64 3   2 6   1 1 77
Struck against object 408 8 2 61 28 2 7 12 528
Struck by falling object 182 6   20 9     4 221
Struck by object 547 17 2 102 23 3 6 14 714
Struck by on-track equipment 22 1 101 7 16       147
Struck by thrown or propelled object 72   1   2 1   4 80
Sudden release of air 10               10
Sudden, unexpected movement, other 195 6   17 12   2 4 236
Sudden/unexpected movement of on-track equipment 83 1 2 86 1   1 1 175
Sudden/unexpected movement of material 105   1 1 2   1 5 115
Sudden/Unexpected Movement of tools 29             1 30
Sudden/unexpected movement of vehicle 63     5 1       69
Thrill seeking     1           1
Total 7,537 178 294 2,193 1,308 43 188 159 11,900

Table 16: Causes of Commuter Railroad Injuries by Type of Person -- January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006

Injury Cause Worker on Duty - Employee Worker on Duty - Contractor Trespassers Passenger on Train Non-trespasser on Railroad Property Non-trespasser off Railroad Property Employee Not on Duty Contractor other Total
Act of God 3             1 4
Close or no clearance 9 1             10
Environmental 981 9   248 308 6 34 11 1,597
Equipment 731 13   149 48 1 6 6 954
Equipment, related to using Remotely Controlled Locomotives (RCL) 1               1
Failure to provide adequate space between equipment during switching operation 1               1
Human factor 3,950 91 65 1,122 714 29 118 71 6,160
Human factor, unrelated to using RCL 1 2             3
Impairment, physical condition, e.g., fatigue 19   1 12 6   1   39
Impairment, physical condition, e.g., fatigue, related to using RCL 1               1
Impairment, substance use 15   7 7 11 1     41
Insufficient training   1             1
Lack of communication 4 2           1 7
Object fouling track 8   2 15 2   4   31
Outside caused (e.g., assaulted/attacked) 113     42 9   1 4 169
Procedures for operating/using equipment not followed 835 16 1 24 13   7 33 929
Procedures for operating/using equipment not followed, unrelated to using RCL         1       1
Safety equipment not worn or in place 98 6   5 3 1 2 7 122
Signal 5               5
Slack adjustment during switching operation 1     1         2
Track 54     23 2   1   80
Trespassing 14   216 100 5       335
Trespassing, related to using RCL 1               1
Trespassing, unrelated to using RCL         1       1
Undetermined 692 37 2 445 185 5 14 25 1,405
Total 7,537 178 294 2,193 1,308 43 188 159 11,900

Conclusion--Injuries

In looking at the injuries reported during the 79-month study period, it is clear that the employee and contractor injuries account for the majority (66 percent). This is to be expected, since FRA uses its accident/incident reporting system to meet its obligation to fulfill OSHA reporting requirements. However, analysis of these injuries also shows that passengers boarding, riding and alighting trains received 2,193 injuries and that non-trespassers on railroad property, including passengers and motorists injured in stations and performing legal movements around tracks and through intersections and grade crossings, accounted for 1,308 injuries during the 79-month study period.

In reviewing these injuries, it is interesting to note that human factors issues are responsible for more than half of the injuries to employees/contractors, passengers, and non-trespassers on railroad property. This appears to be an area which may benefit from additional analysis and research. Environmental conditions, mainly poor weather, are responsible for 13 percent of employee injuries, 11 percent of passenger injuries, and 24 percent of injuries to non-trespassers on railroad property. Equipment failures are responsible, across the boards for approximately 10 percent of injuries to employees/contractors, passengers and non-trespassers on railroad property. Finally, failure to follow operating procedures is accountable for more than 10 percent of employee injuries and approximately one percent of injuries to passengers and non-trespassers on railroad property.

5.0 Conclusion

The results of this Commuter Rail Safety Study have identified the tremendous progress made by commuter railroads receiving FTA funding in reducing the occurrences of accidents, injuries and fatalities over the last decade. For additional points of comparison, Table 17 depicts key safety performance measures over the last decade between the 18 operating commuter railroads receiving FTA funds and the National Passenger Railroad Corporation (Amtrak). Table 18 provides additional detail on Amtrak’s 10-year safety trends.

Table 17: Key Points – 10-Year Comparison – Commuter Railroads and Amtrak

Category – 1996 to 2005 FTA-funded Commuter Railroads Amtrak
Passengers Transported 2,597,274,837 235,653,446
Total Train Miles 465,654,448 373,409,809
Total Accidents/Incidents 12,426 14,419
Total Accident/Incident Rate per Million Train Miles 26.69 38.61
Total Fatalities 526 1,206
Total Injuries/Illnesses 11,900 13,194
Employee-on-Duty Accident/Incident Rate per 200,000 Hours Worked 5.19 4.12
Employee-on-Duty deaths 23 9
Total Train Accidents 853 1,090
Rate of Train Accidents per Million Train Miles 1.83 2.91
Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Accidents 597 1,608
Rate of Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Accidents per Million Train Miles 1.29 4.3
Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Fatalities 190 506
Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Injuries 355 997
Total Trespasser Fatalities 466 700
Rate of Trespasser Fatalities per Million Train Miles 1.01 1.87

Table 17 demonstrates that the 18 FTA-funded commuter railroads have lower rates of train accidents per million train miles, lower rates of highway-rail grade crossing accidents per million train miles, and lower rates of trespasser fatalities per million train miles. However, Amtrak has lower rates of employee fatalities per 200,000 hours worked. While the commuter railroads have a slightly better safety performance overall than Amtrak, the types of safety challenges experienced by Amtrak and the commuter railroads are similar. Based on the analysis presented in this Commuter Railroad Safety Study several areas have been identified in need of improvement:

Over the next year, FTA and FRA are committed to working together to establish target safety goals addressing each of these areas and to support and monitor the performance of commuter railroads in meeting them.

Table 18: Amtrak 10-Year Safety Trends

Category 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 % Change from Last Year % Change from 1996
***TOTAL ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS*** 1,386.00 1,413.00 1,341.00 1,265.00 1,603.00 1,629.00 1,458.00 1,505.00 1,523.00 1296.00 -17.94 -6.49
Total accident/incident rate per million train miles) 40.96 38.12 37.87 34.98 44.43 42.23 36.77 38.08 38.81 34.24 -13.07 -16.41
Total fatalities 101.00 117.00 120.00 105.00 131.00 139.00 126.00 118.00 128.00 121.00 -6.67 19.80
Total injuries and illnesses 1,209.00 1,328.00 1,180.00 1,161.00 1,412.00 1,527.00 1,484.00 1,344.00 1,364.00 1,185.00 -15.42 -1.99
Employee on duty deaths 1.00 3.00 2.00 - - 1.00 - 1.00 - 1.00 - 0.00
Total employee on duty reports 987.00 901.00 842.00 914.00 920.00 881.00 824.00 791.00 825.00 648.00 -19.37 -34.35
Employee-on duty rate per 200,000 hours 4.64 4.33 3.87 4.03 4.01 4.10 4.18 4.19 4.34 3.52 -20.34 -24.14
Trespasser deaths, not at highway-rail grade crossings 56.00 57.00 67.00 51.00 70.00 67.00 78.00 64.00 77.00 71.00 -11.76 26.79
***TRAIN ACCIDENTS*** 88.00 84.00 89.00 85.00 148.00 150.00 112.00 111.00 111.00 112.00 1.18 27.27
Train accidents per million train miles 2.60 2.27 2.51 2.35 4.10 3.89 2.82 2.81 2.83 2.96 5.54 13.77
Train accident deaths - 1.00 - - - 1.00 4.00 1.00 2.00 1.00 - -
Train accident injuries 39.00 74.00 28.00 41.00 106.00 151.00 226.00 18.00 76.00 96.00 48.78 146.15
Collisions 4.00 3.00 4.00 3.00 8.00 8.00 4.00 3.00 7.00 3.00 -133.30 -25.00
Derailments 57.00 51.00 55.00 46.00 80.00 77.00 57.00 45.00 43.00 35.00 -17.39 -38.60
Other types, e.g., obstructions 27.00 30.00 30.00 36.00 60.00 65.00 51.00 63.00 61.00 74.00 36.11 174.07
Train accidents on main line 37.00 46.00 46.00 40.00 72.00 72.00 60.00 62.00 71.00 80.00 22.50 116.22
Rate per million train miles 1.15 1.31 1.38 1.17 2.12 1.97 1.59 1.66 1.91 2.24 27.76 93.83
Accidents on yard track 50.00 36.00 41.00 37.00 72.00 72.00 51.00 45.00 40.00 31.00 -24.32 -38.00
Rate per million yard switching train miles 28.25 18.39 19.70 17.78 34.60 34.87 25.14 21.84 19.22 14.90 -24.32 -47.27
***HIGHWAY-RAIL INCIDENTS*** 150.00 176.00 170.00 181.00 202.00 162.00 142.00 149.00 146.00 130.00 -8.84 -13.33
Rate per million train miles 4.43 4.75 4.80 5.01 5.60 4.20 3.58 3.77 3.72 3.43 -5.71 -22.53
Highway-rail incidents deaths 41.00 53.00 50.00 52.00 56.00 69.00 42.00 52.00 46.00 45.00 -1.92 9.76
Highway-rail incidents injuries 66.00 123.00 125.00 146.00 90.00 84.00 93.00 125.00 64.00 81.00 11.64 22.73
Incidents at public crossings 132.00 150.00 145.00 158.00 168.00 140.00 118.00 129.00 130.00 108.00 -13.92 -18.18
*** Percent of total*** 88.00 85.23 85.29 87.29 83.17 86.42 83.10 86.58 89.04 83.08 -6.83 -5.59
***OTHER ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS *** 1,148.00 1,153.00 1,082.00 999.00 1,253.00 1,317.00 1,204.00 1,245.00 1,266.00 1,054.00 -21.22 -8.19
Other incidents deaths 60.00 63.00 70.00 53.00 75.00 69.00 80.00 65.00 80.00 75.00 -9.43 25.00
Other incidents injuries 1,104.00 1,131.00 1,027.00 974.00 1,216.00 1,292.00 1,165.00 1,201.00 1,224.00 1,008.00 -22.18 -8.70
***EMPLOYEE HOURS WORKED *** 42,558,749.00 41,663,112.00 43,480,510.00 45,399,073.00 45,840,150.00 42,956,762.00 39,450,311.00 37,801,336.00 38,039,779.00 36,831,282.00 -2.66 -13.46
***TOTAL TRAIN MILES *** 33,840,497.00 37,063,760.00 35,414,704.00 36,160,704.00 36,080,704.00 38,575,104.00 39,652,480.00 39,519,448.00 39,246,704.00 37,855,704.00 -3.85 11.87
***YARD SWITCHING MILES *** 1,769,655.00 1,957,814.00 2,080,704.00 2,080,704.00 2,080,704.00 2,065,104.00 2,028,480.00 2,060,448.00 2,080,704.00 2,080,704.00 0.00 17.58
***PASSENGERS TRANSPORTED*** 27,590,012.00 20,555,107.00 21,246,203.00 21,544,160.00 22,985,354.00 23,525,230.00 23,320,755.00 24,594,785.00 25,215,344.00 25,076,496.00 -0.64 -9.11