FRA interview

I’ll (hopefully) be doing an interview with someone at the Federal Railroad Administration (probably a PR person, but since its via email, hopefully they’ll be able to go ask bureaucrats and engineers the answers to some technical questions) for Streetsblog DC next week, so, if you’ve got any burning questions, let me know and I’ll ask them! You can either leave them in the comments or email them to Here’s some background for those who aren’t aware of the controversy over FRA’s safety regulations.

  • Steve S.

    Here’s a good one:

    American passenger railroading is actually the least safe per passenger mile in the developed world, less safe than even China (as Alon Levy has shown), and less safe than it was back in the 1920s or 1930s when there were vastly more passenger miles traveled. Why does the FRA seem to think that buff strength crashworthiness increases safety, when the statistical and regulatory records of other countries shows that to simply not be the case?

  • Alon Levy

    Just one nitpick: while I believe US rail is indeed less safe than Chinese rail, I’m not as willing to trust Wikipedia’s compilation of accident reports about China as I am about the developed world.

    That said, I kind of am willing to trust media reports of Chinese HSR crashes, and although I have passenger rather than passenger-km numbers for CRH, on reasonable assumptions on trip length, it’s somewhat safer than the US mainline rail system.