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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Transportation
Study Finds Distracted Behavior & High Regional Accident Rate Impact Safety
Nwes Release
Thursday, May 24, 2018

Train with signalAn external review of METRORail called the system "fundamentally safe" and praised the agency for its many initiatives. It also suggested the leading causes of light rail accidents are distracted behaviors and the high rate of crashes throughout the region. The Houston/ Harris County area has one of the highest accident and vehicular incident rates in the country. 

"This phenomenon directly influences METRORail, and from our perspective, provides a direct correlation to the high accident and incident rates that are exceedingly influenced by motorist, cyclist, and pedestrian habits throughout the City," the Transit Safety & Security Solutions, Inc (TSSS) study found.

The report recommends METRO increase joint partnerships to seek solutions. 

"We need to be very active in facilitating coalitions to address traffic safety in the region.  We have a role to play with others, and I fully expect us to broaden the conversation to what can we do collectively," said METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert.

Illegal left Turn

METRO recently published this video to raise awareness about how distracted behavior impacts safety. (view here) The TSSS system safety assessment of five years of data encouraged the agency to continue to prioritize enforcement of traffic safety laws.

"Data indicates 65 percent of the total collisions experienced on METRORail were caused by motorists disobeying traffic laws by making illegal turns or running a red light," the report stated.

Earlier this year, METRO Police stepped up enforcement of illegal left turns in the Texas Medical Center.

Fencing

In total, TSSS made 60 recommendations. METRO is already implementing nearly half of them. Today, the METRO Board  approved adding more than $500,000 in additional fencing along segments of the rail lines. Upgraded pavement markings, improved rail crossing gates, and results from a study of shared lanes in downtown and the Texas Medical Center are also coming.  

There are more than 18.3 million annual rides on METRORail.




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