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Board Meeting: Chicago Transit Authority Train Collides with Bumping Post and Escalator at O’Hare Station - Closing Statement
Christopher A. Hart
Washington, DC

​In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staff in producing this report, and thank my fellow Board Members for their very helpful participation in the process.

Rail mass transit in the United States is, by and large, a safe form of transportation. That said, we aim to make it safer.

The safety improvements that we have recommended today are all the more necessary because any mass transit accident has the potential to become a mass casualty event.

And since a similar accident may strike in any transit system that has similar safety gaps, we have recommended that the FTA require safety improvements that are national in scope.

There is simply no place in American mass transit for an operator falling asleep at the controls of a train.

This means that transit agencies must adequately address the risk of operator fatigue in their work scheduling programs, and state safety oversight programs must base their oversight of such programs on scientific knowledge.

Today’s recommendations to the FTA, if acted upon, will improve the chances that mass transit trains are operated by awake and alert employees.

Human operators should also be backstopped by rail transit systems that intelligently avoid collisions, both in Chicago and elsewhere.

We have recommended that the CTA implement transmission-based train control throughout its rail properties.

To protect transit riders in other systems, we have recommended that the FTA require transmission-based train control in rail transit nationwide.

When you board a transit train to or from work, school, a shop across town, or the airport, you are trusting that the transit agency is doing everything possible to get you to your destination safely.

Today’s recommendations, if implemented, will help ensure that this trust is upheld.

We stand adjourned.