RAIL SAFETY: D.C. Metro testing technology bands for improved worker safety

Nov. 17, 2016

Track workers will wear a band that alerts them when a train is rapidly approaching a work zone

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is testing technology to make the tracks safer for its workers who fix and maintain the system.

Track workers will wear a band that alerts them when a train is approaching a work zone too fast. It is a system that is expected to give workers on the tracks enough time to clear the way.

However, Metro workers say there should be a safety culture that does not rely on technology, emphasizing that safety should just be a part of the routine.

Two federal track inspectors were almost hit by a train in October near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) inspectors said a train failed to stop or slow down, and two FTA inspectors assessing track conditions jumped out of the way.

Trains have been slowed along the Blue and Yellow lines near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Metro station.

In addition to the new technology, Metro also is retraining operators and track workers to prevent what could be a deadly accident.

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