Author: Karen E. Philbrick (Karen E. Philbrick)

Philbrick: How to provide more train safety and control

In its inaugural run from Seattle to Portland, Amtrak 501 derailed on Dec. 18, 2017. Several train cars crashed over an overpass and landed on the interstate near DuPont, Washington. Over 50 passengers and crew members were injured, as well as eight individuals in highway vehicles. Many of the injured required hospitalization, and three died as...

Philbrick: Making fareless transit a reality

Fareless transit is a tool in the mobility toolkit that has the potential to address ridership and equity issues while fighting skyrocketing gas prices and climate change—but who will pay for it? Public transit provides a reliable, safe, climate-friendly and equitable method to get from point A to B. But as with so many other...

Philbrick: Robots rolling by transportation equity concerns

A black-and-white, six-wheeled little robot rolls by you on the sidewalk. A pole protrudes from its back, sporting a neon-orange flag. What is it carrying? What on earth is it doing on the sidewalk? In the U.S., wheeled delivery robots and drones can and are being used to reach the 4.5 million people who live in...

Philbrick: Driving autism acceptance—not just awareness—in April

Most of us know someone with autism, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 1 in 44 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. Individuals with autism face hurdles in opportunities and support when it comes to education, employment, housing, health care and—you guessed it—transportation. How can we make transportation equitable and...

Philbrick: Distracted driving puts pedestrians at risk

Reflective vests, painted crossing lines, bright orange flags and flashing signs—all aimed at protecting the safety of pedestrians across the nation. Speed limits—and speeding tickets—also help protect our most vulnerable commuters. Despite these critical safety protocols, the number of motor vehicle-related deaths remains staggering. Such a tragedy struck recently in Lafayette, California when a crossing...

Philbrick: Keeping train tracks separate keeps people safe

Last year, 1,889 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred in the United States. In California, 40 individuals lost their lives in these collisions, and 55 more were injured. And while rail collisions are declining—there were more than 3,500 collisions in 2010 for comparison—there are still nearly 2,000 preventable deaths occurring each year. Public awareness campaigns and...

Philbrick: Paying for transportation infrastructure

Miles of bumpers and brake lights. Impassable traffic jams. These daily sights on urban highways may feel inescapable, but many of these issues would improve or resolve with some serious transportation infrastructure repair. California road conditions rank among the worst in the nation, and the Bay Area and Southern California are the second and third...

Philbrick: Moving to rail will create a safer and sustainable planet

The clothes we wear, the devices we use, and the food we consume—or at least the way we get it—is contributing to the global climate crisis. Increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accumulate in the atmosphere and cause global warming, disrupting our lives and negatively impacting our health. Environmental consequences like rising sea levels, drought, and...

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