The new light rail system, The Tide, is due to open to the public August 19th and Hampton Roads Transit hopes to prevent accidents by educating people about safety, according to an article in The Virginian Pilot

Combine light rail trains, cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians and it may be inevitable that a collision or an injury occurs.  With any new light rail system, it is expected that accidents and injuries occur more frequently in the beginning as everyone begins to adjust.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2005, incidences involving Light Rail Transit systems in the US include:

  • 625 accidents
  • 268 injuries
  • 15 fatalities

Light rail operators have reported during testing this month that, “something happens pretty much every day.”  This however is due, in part, to public negligence. Despite signs and lights, drivers are still running red lights, making illegal turns, and stopping on the tracks.  In 2009, the Federal Transportation Administration reported that 90% of accidents involving light rail trains is caused by “public behavior.”

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) has added a number of safety measures to prevent accidents in general. These safety measures include:

  • complex computer networks
  • communication equipment
  • radar detectors
  • street signs, signals, speed bumps, and gates
  • audio signals such as bell sounds
  • control systems
  • cameras and black box recorders

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