Transportation

Part 2 of 5
4:59 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Rail Safety: Changes Present Challenges

Smoke fills the air at the scene of the train derailment and fire in Lynchburg.

Each year officials investigate an average of ten derailments in Virginia alone.  Most involve coal or grain – cargoes unlikely to cause trouble for nearby communities, but a growing number of trains now carry oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota. 

Because it contains high levels of gas, it’s more volatile than some other forms of crude, and transporting it by rail could be putting whole communities at risk. 

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Part 1 of 5
5:46 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Rail Safety: Rising Risks

Lynchburg, April 30, 2014
Credit LuAnn Hunt, City of Lynchburg, via Associated Press

It’s been nearly two months since a train derailed in Lynchburg, sending a fireball into the sky above that city’s downtown and spilling oil into the James River. 

Experts said the accident could have been far worse, and many communities along the state’s 3200 miles of railroad face similar dangers. 

The city of Lynchburg grew and prospered for decades because freight moved easily here – first by river and then by rail.  Trains were a routine part of city life, but on April 30 that routine was shattered.

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A Search for Answers
7:04 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Train Derailment Prevention a Hot Topic in Richmond This Week

Credit wset.com

The derailment in Lynchburg of a CSX train carrying Bakken crude oil in April could have been much worse … and procedures and policies should be revised to mitigate future risk. That’s the conclusion of a hearing in Richmond led by U.S. Senator Mark Warner… along with emergency responders, public agency heads, and corporate officials. One focus was on the vulnerabilities of transporting oil—and how to prevent such accidents from ever occurring. 

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Preventing Disaster
5:14 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Meeting on Rail Safety

The derailment in Lynchburg of a CSX train carrying Bakken crude oil in April could have been much worse … and procedures and policies should be revised to mitigate future risk. 

That’s the conclusion of a hearing in Richmond led by U.S. Senator Mark Warner… along with emergency responders, public agency heads, and corporate officials.  One focus was on the vulnerabilities of transporting oil—and how to prevent such accidents from ever occurring.

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UVA Research
8:35 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Big Data & Bike Safety

Alec Gosse
Credit Fariss Samarrai

Urban planners in Virginia are trying to make bicycling safer, but they’re hampered by a lack of statistics about who’s riding where.

Alec Gosse rides his bike to work at a Charlottesville company that analyzes data, and this year he was working on a PhD in environmental engineering. Those interests led him to try and solve a problem daunting city planners.

“There was no data for how many bikes were using various roads in the city.  It just didn’t exist.”

Without that information, they didn’t know where to make road improvements for cyclists.

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