The Monday Morning Commute: Ask the traffic engineer; here’s what stopped train-car collisions in Phoenix

Summit Land Management, Paul Basha, provides answers and proves that thinking about traffic is really interesting!!

Phoenix light rail collision study

For those who have lived in metropolitan Phoenix for more than a decade, you may recall that when the light rail system began operation in December 2008, there seemed to be a train-car collision every week. Actually, in the first eight months of operation, there was a train-car crash every nine days.

Phoenix hired Paul Basha, now with Summit Land Management, to investigate the collisions and recommend changes to reduce them. Paul’s investigation resulted in nine system-wide recommendations, 21 specific intersection recommendations, and no-change recommendations for four intersections.

A high majority of the recommendations were implemented by the city. Within months of the changes, there was an 80% reduction in the most common collision type and a 35% reduction in all light-rail-vehicle-personal-vehicle collisions. In fact, at the four downtown intersections where there had been 14 collisions in the initial 19 months of light rail operation after Paul’s recommendations were implemented, there were 3 collisions at those four intersections in 19 months.

The link below is a presentation by Basha at an Arizona State University Transportation Symposium that explains his detailed analyses and many of his recommendations. The presentation is long because the investigation was comprehensive.

The PowerPoint slides include numerous diagrams and photographs. Illustrations of collisions and potential collisions are also included. (Clicking on the dot below the video image will reveal the PowerPoint slide being discussed.)  

Heard of train-car collisions in Phoenix much the past decade? Thank you Paul for solving that serious problem so successfully. 

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