FRA Adjustment of Risk Threshold for Establishing Quiet Zones May Aid Communities. The Federal Railroad Administration’s annual adjustment of the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT) may provide some relief for communities struggling to establish or maintain quiet zones while continuing to address critical safety issues. FRA developed this index to allow all Quiet Zone applicants to fully assess the risks of silencing train horns and pursue the additional safety engineering improvements needed to mitigate them. The addition of engineering improvements has played a significant part in the 34 percent decline of highway-rail grade crossing incidents over the past 10 years. The NSRT calculates permissible risk, based on an average of the risk indexes for gated public crossings nationwide, where train horns are routinely sounded. The Notice of Adjustment will be published in the Federal Register on November 26, 2013, and will also be posted on FRA’s website. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Announces Rule to Help Passengers and Crewmembers in the Event of Emergency. The Federal Railroad Administration today announced a new Final Rule intended to further help with the evacuation of passengers and crewmembers in the event of a rail emergency. Among the provisions, the rule requires that vestibule and interior passageway doors on passenger cars be fitted with removable panels and windows to allow passage if the doors do not open, and to provide for manual override in opening doors. It also requires floor or low-level lighting marking exit paths to assist passengers in reaching and operating emergency exists, particularly under conditions of limited visibility. Further, the FRA is adding standards to ensure that emergency lighting systems are provided in all passenger cars, and strengthening requirements for the survivability of emergency lighting systems in new passenger cars. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.