TSB assesses responses to recommendations arising from the 2013 OC Transpo-VIA RAIL accident investigation
Gatineau, Quebec, 19 April 2016 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its assessments of the responses to its five recommendations arising from the investigation (R13T0192) into the collision between an OC Transpo bus and a VIA Rail train in Ottawa, Ontario, on 18 September 2013. These recommendations are aimed at reducing the risk of railway crossing accidents.
“There are a few good initiatives proposed by the regulator to address some of the safety deficiencies we identified in our investigation. But I'm concerned these efforts don't go far enough, fast enough,” said TSB Chair Kathy Fox. “To advance railway crossing and passenger safety even further, Transport Canada's research, review and consultation must lead to concrete action in a timely manner.”
Distracted driving guidelines (R15-01)
Recommendation R15-01 calls for Transport Canada (TC), in consultation with the provinces, to develop comprehensive guidelines for the installation and use of in-vehicle video monitor displays to reduce the risk of driver distraction. TC has indicated it will request that the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) Distracted Driver Working Group consider developing these guidelines. As co-chair of this group, TC will also suggest that experts and industry stakeholders be consulted to identify the challenges and effective strategies for limiting distracted driving due to video displays. Although meaningful results from the planned action will not likely occur in the short term, the Board is encouraged that TC will be taking a leadership role in the development of the guidelines. Therefore, the Board assesses the response to this recommendation as having Satisfactory Intent.
Bus crashworthiness (R15-02)
Recommendation R15-02 calls on TC to develop and implement crashworthiness standards for commercial passenger buses to reduce the risk of injury. TC has said it will conduct a review of accident data from urban centers around the world to evaluate the existing crashworthiness of commercial passenger buses. Beyond this commitment, there are no explicit plans to develop and/or implement crashworthiness standards for commercial passenger buses. Furthermore, no specific timeline has been provided for the planned review and analysis. Therefore, the Board assesses the response to this recommendation as being Satisfactory in Part.
Vehicle event data recorders (R15-03)
Recommendation R15-03 asks TC to require commercial passenger buses be equipped with dedicated, crashworthy, event data recorders (EDRs). TC has committed to researching EDR technologies and reviewing available international commercial vehicle EDR standards and recommended practices. TC will then review the results of the research and the review to evaluate the feasibility of developing an EDR standard or guideline for commercial passenger buses. While the Board is encouraged by TC's response, the work will take time and no specific outcome or timeline has been provided. In addition, there are no explicit plans for the development of EDR standards for commercial passenger buses. Therefore, the Board assesses the response to this recommendation as being Satisfactory in Part.
Grade separation guidelines (R15-04)
Recommendation R15-04 calls for TC to provide specific guidance as to when grade separation at railway crossings should be considered. TC has acknowledged that the new Grade Crossings Regulations (2014) do not specify when grade separation should be implemented at existing level grade crossings. TC has committed to working with the provinces and railways to develop guidelines to help determine when grade separation should be considered. The Board is encouraged that TC will work with key stakeholders to develop guidelines for determining when grade separation should be considered. Although no timelines have been established yet for this work, the Board assesses the response to this recommendation as having Satisfactory Intent.
Grade separation of Woodroffe Avenue, the Transitway and Fallowfield Road (R15-05)
Recommendation R15-05 calls on the City of Ottawa (the City) to reconsider the need for grade separations at the Woodroffe Avenue, Transitway, and Fallowfield Road level crossings. The City has responded that, in financial partnership with VIA Rail, it will conduct a feasibility study to review the technical requirements for providing grade separation at those crossings, as well as at two additional crossings. The action proposed by the City is a positive first step towards more effectively managing the risk of vehicle-train collisions at these five level crossings. The Board assessed the response to this recommendation as having Satisfactory Intent.
“The Board is pleased that the City of Ottawa has committed to conducting a feasibility study of grade separation at the recommended crossings, and commends the City for including Merivale and Jockvale roads in the study,” added Chair Fox. “The City's residents deserve the safest crossings on which to travel.”
The Board uses an Assessment Rating Guide to evaluate the responses and their overall effectiveness. Progress made to address TSB recommendations is re-assessed annually by the Board and is reported publicly.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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