Thursday, September 24, 2009

Among At-Grade’s Negatives, Part 2: Accidents

Inattention aftermath in Phoenix, AZ
It’s not exactly Demolition Derby, but the number of train-vehicle accidents since the Phoenix, AZ at-grade system opened nine months ago is pretty astonishing.

The Phoenix media are keeping tabs, and you can experience many of the crashes thanks to on-train video that captures what happens all too often on the streets of Arizona’s biggest city. One recent crash in Phoenix delayed service for eight hours (here's another link to that crash.) Accidents that don't even involve a train can slow service. (These YouTube screen captures show the moment just prior to impact.)

The safety comparisons of at-grade and elevated rail are obvious. Whereas the Phoenix system averaged an accident once every six days during its first three months of operation, elevated systems have no cross streets to contend with. That translates to delays at-grade, no delays elevated.

Fast, Frequent and Reliable service is what Honolulu needs and what Honolulu’s elevated train system will deliver. We can’t accept anything less.

If you want more visual evidence of at-grade collisions, YouTube offers quite a collection.


PRT Strategies said...

The answer isn't rail at all, it's Personal Rapid Transit. See PRT is elevated as this system should be, but at a much smaller footprint and FAR LESS expense than light rail. Neither is it limited to a simple linear alignment. Green and 24/7/365, PRT's the answer at 1/9th the price!

Doug Carlson said...

As we've said in response to one of your other similar comments, the problem with Personal Rapid Transit is that it's not Mass Rapid Transit. If you think there's a niche to fill with PRT, by all means go for it -- float the idea as an additional option, not replacement for mass transit. Honolulu requires a system to move mass numbers from Point A to Point B and back again at the end of the day. PRT isn't it.