Business, Freight News, Rail

AAR Issues First State of Industry Report

[ February 11, 2016   //   ]

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) released its first “State of the Industry Report” in January that focuses on the key challenges, accomplishments and innovations within the freight railroad industry.  This initial, five-chapter edition details the industry’s investments in new technology and innovation that are enhancing safety across the nation’s rail network.
The reports are designed to inform lawmakers, the business community and the public about the freight railroad industry’s top priorities.  This edition focuses on items such as safety investment, the role of “big data” in diagnosing and solving problems, the continued commitment by the rail industry to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) technology as quickly and effectively as possible, emerging technologies such as drones and community-based training and outreach.
The report showcases new safety advancements that the industry is taking. For instance, technologists are developing a sophisticated ultrasonic detection system that allows a better view into steel rail to locate track defects before they can cause problems. The industry is also investigating the use of unmanned aerial vehicles – or drones – for inspection of track, bridge and other freight rail infrastructure, as well as monitoring air quality.
AAR President and CEO, Edward R. Hamberger. says the ultimate takeaway from AAR’s first State of the Industry Report is clear: an increased emphasis on rail network investments – $25 billion annually over the last five years on average – collaboration with customers and government and the development of new technologies combine to improve safety.
“The sweeping reduction in freight rail accidents and injuries over the last several decades is the result of stepped-up employee training as well as a dedicated team of safety experts who conduct rigorous research, examine problems in new ways, apply technological advances and novel changes to processes that ultimately make a safe system of transportation even safer,” said Hamberger.
The AAR will issue multiple such reports each year, including two more in 2016, with each individual report focusing on a particular theme.