Other Reports

From Research to Rulemaking in the Federal Railroad Administration

  • 08
  • May
  • 2015
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-30
SUBJECT: Accident Reduction
KEYWORDS: Research and development; R&D; risk reduction; railroad safety; regulations; safety culture; Tank Car Structural Integrity; Rail Joint Bar Inspection; Employee-in-Charge Portable Remote Terminal; system safety; rulemaking; enforcement
ABSTRACT: The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) research and development program provides the engineering and scientific foundation for rail rulemaking and enforcement in the United States. This paper describes how the program is funded and executed. Examples of projects in the track, rolling stock, train control and human factors disciplines are used to illustrate strategic direction, project selection, stakeholder engagement, technology transfer, performance measurement and evaluation. Changes in regulations from being prescriptive to performance-based are discussed, as is the shift to risk reduction and system safety management approaches. This paper gives the reader a general understanding of rail research and development in the U.S. It is intended to encourage contacts between rail R&D practitioners for the exchange of information and to identify opportunities for future collaboration.
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