Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Nationwide Warnings of Faulty Transit Sensor"

This news story from the New York Times (September 22, 2009) cites a recent report from the National Transportation Safety Board about the June 22, 2009, Metro crash in Washington, D.C., in which nine people died and dozens were injured. The NTSB has not yet come to a conclusion about the cause of the crash, the report notes that "a critical part of the sensing system was replaced days before the accident and that the subway’s managers did not respond aggressively to earlier system failures that did not result in death or injury."

Whatever the cause of this deadly accident, it stands as yet another reminder that technology is only as safe as the people who use and maintain it, the people who oversee them, the policies that guide the overseers (when they follow the policies), and numerous other links in an all-too frail system.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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