NTSB Adds Improving Transit Railcar Design to ‘Most Wanted’ List

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board issued its 2010 Federal Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, adding rail, aviation and marine issues, and updating the status of other issues on the list.

At the same time, the Board removed the issue areas dealing with improved protection for school bus passengers and fatigue in the pipeline industry.

“Every one of the hundreds of currently open safety recommendations address concerns that the Safety Board has uncovered in its accident investigations,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “But the recommendations on the Most Wanted list represent those improvements that can have the widest benefit.”

Besides removing two issue areas on the list, the Board reviewed the remaining 13 issue areas on the list and added two new ones.

Coming on the heels of several serious transit rail accidents around the country – notably the June 22, 2009, collision on Washington, D.C.’s system that killed 9 people – the Board added “Improve Transit Railcar Design” to the list.

A railcar’s ability to withstand the dynamic forces of an accident is essential to protecting the vehicle’s occupants. In accident investigations in recent years, the Board has noted telescoping of transit cars that have destroyed or greatly compromised survivable space.