The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has just released its “Most Wanted” list, which reflects what it feels should be priorities for transportation safety in the U.S. moving forward into 2014. These priorities are all well in line with what I see as transportation safety needs for California as well. They include the following:
- Subways, Commuter and Light Rails: The report indicates that there are still active, pending investigations of rail crashes causing injury or death in various light rail incidents across the U.S. including incidents involving Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in the San Francisco Bay Area. As cities in California including Los Angeles and San Diego continue to develop more light rail projects such as the Metro Lines in L.A. or the San Diego Trolley system, there will inevitably be light rail crashes that prompt calls for further safety measures in the Golden State. Los Angeles intends to extend their subway system further into West Los Angeles / Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley, for instance and increased ridership will, no doubt result in some additional mishaps. The key is determining cause in these incidents and trying to use this information to improve railway safety by modifying equipment and / or operational practices.
- Helicopter Operations: The NTSB article points out that helicopter traffic continues to increase especially in urban areas as more and more copters are being used for various purposes like law enforcement support, news gathering, medical services, and transportation. Between 2003 and 2013, there were 1,470 helicopter crashes nationwide, which resulted in 477 deaths and 274 serious injuries. Urban areas of California like Los Angeles have seen an increase in aviation traffic including helicopters and will no doubt need to heed the call for further safety to prevent such mishaps here in CA.