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Florida: Solving a high rate of passenger rail incidents

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CPCS study for Florida state legislature suggests how to make passenger rail service safer for everybody.   


Between 2017 and 2018, the State of Florida reported 40 deaths due to collisions with high-speed passenger rail trains. That’s four times the national average in terms of death per miles travelled.

As it was unclear why rail transit in Florida was prone to incidents, the state legislature hired CPCS to find answers.


The mandate was to find the causes of the curiously high rate of passenger rail incidents in Florida and provide legislative and technical solutions.

How CPCS experts proceeded:

  • Conducted a comprehensive overview of the rail system in Florida
  • Reviewed and assessed existing passenger rail regulations
  • Analyzed rail and grade crossing safety
  • Made recommendations to the legislature based on findings

CPCS experts conducted extensive literature review and original research, in addition to stakeholder consultations and spatial visual mapping.

Concentration of highway-rail crossing incidents


“Fatalities are the product of two main factors,” says Rahil Saeedi, transportation expert at CPCS. “First, rail services in Florida operate in densely populated urban areas. Second, safety regulations need to be better.”

Some of the recommendations put forward to the legislature to reduce passenger rail incidents in Florida included:

  • Funding an independent regulatory body to oversee the rail service’s safety
  • Setting more stringent safety regulations
  • Implementing smart technologies to reduce safety hazards at crossings
  • Enforcing railroad crossing and trespass violations
  • Reviewing and researching ways to improve rail safety resources

Trains USA interpreted that the state needed greater oversight of passenger rail safety.

Some policymakers continued to push the legislature to increase safety regulations, which was covered by news media such as TCPalm and VeroNews.