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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Joint Volpe-FRA Pilot Makes Measurable Improvements in Rail Safety

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A recent analysis has shown that the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) program has made significant improvements in both safety and safety culture since its introduction in 2007, including a 31 percent decrease in derailments at one demonstration pilot site. The decrease in derailments improves productivity as well as safety since an increase in the number of cars moved between incidents means more work is being performed.An image of where four railroad companies are located

At the same site, the analysis also found improved labor-management relationships and employee engagement resulting in an improved safety culture, as measured by a perception survey. Employees felt more comfortable raising concerns about safety with supervisors and perceived their supervisors to be more fair and cooperative. Interviews indicated that disciplinary cases decreased by over 90 percent at the studied site, thus reducing large amounts of time and paperwork that labor and management must spend to resolve each case. In addition, the number of excess speed reports into the close call system had decreased by 50 percent due to corrective actions implemented by the carrier.

As architects in the early phase of this demonstration project, Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, has been involved with the Close Calls Demonstration Project since its inception, working in conjunction with FRA, industry, and other partners to bring the concept to reality. An independent Volpe evaluation team continuously monitors the program to ensure that it remains effective.

Train tracks at night with a train coming down the tracks