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Analysis of Train Collision Risk in the United States: 2001 to 2015

[+] Author Affiliations
Tejashree Turla, Xiang Liu, Zhipeng Zhang, Zheyong Bian

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ

Paper No. JRC2018-6157, pp. V001T06A004; 8 pages
  • 2018 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2018 Joint Rail Conference
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, April 18–20, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5097-8
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Railways have a substantial contribution to the economy of the United States. However, a train accident can result in casualties and extensive damages to infrastructure and the environment. Most of the prior research focused on derailments or grade-crossing accidents rather than the study of train collisions. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) identifies over 300 causes for all types of accidents, among which we aim to recognize the major factors that cause train collisions. Evaluating how collision frequency and severity vary with the accident cause is the key part of this research, in order to identify, evaluate and mitigate transportation risk. This paper presents a statistical analysis of passenger and freight train collisions in the United States from 2001 to 2015 to statistically analyze train collision frequency, severity, accident cause, and safety risk. The analysis finds that human errors and signal failures are among the most common causes of train collisions in U.S. in the 15-year study period. There is a significant decline in the overall train collision frequency by year. By observing these trends with respect to train collisions, possible accident prevention strategies could be developed and implemented accordingly.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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