• RAIL SAFETYThe True Dangers of Long Trains

    By Dan Schwartz and Topher Sanders, with additional reporting by Gabriel Sandoval and Danelle Morton

    Trains are getting longer. Rail companies had recently adopted a moneymaking strategy to move cargo faster than ever, with fewer workers, on trains that are consistently longer than at any time in history. Railroads are getting richer, but these “monster trains” are jumping off of tracks across America and regulators are doing little to curb the risk.

  • EVsElectric vs. Gasoline Vehicles: Is EV Ownership Competitive in Your Area?

    Is it actually cheaper to own an electric vehicle instead of a gas vehicle? It depends. Researchers say that where you live matters. Cumulative recurring costs for a midsize SUV across platforms—traditional gasoline, hybrid and electric—are higher in some cities when taking key factors into account: financing, annual fees, insurance, maintenance, repairs and fuel costs.

  • RAIL SAFETYRail Industry Urged to Consider Safety Risks of Space Weather

    Solar storms can trigger powerful magnetic disturbances on Earth, creating geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) which could potentially interfere with electricity transmission and distribution grids. Train accidents could be caused by solar storms switching signaling from red to green according to new research examining the impact of space weather.

  • RAIL SAFETY“Do Your Job.” How the Railroad Industry Intimidates Employees Into Putting Speed Before Safety

    By Topher Sanders, Jessica Lussenhop, Dan Schwartz, Danelle Morton, and Gabriel Sandoval

    Railroad companies have penalized workers for taking the time to make needed repairs and created a culture in which supervisors threaten and fire the very people hired to keep trains running safely. Regulators say they can’t stop this intimidation.

  • TRANSPORTATION SECURITYFire-Tested Systems Help Crews Survive Truck Burn-Overs

    By Justin Leonard and Amy Edwards

    Terrifying moments when flames can overrun and burn over a fire truck are called flashover or burn-over. While firefighters have strategies and operational procedures to minimize risk, these dangerous events still occur and can be fatal. Water spray systems are protecting fire trucks and firefighters from burn-overs.

  • RAIL SAFETYRegulators Blast Union Pacific for Running Unsafe Trains

    By Topher Sanders

    The nation’s largest freight rail carrier failed to fix and continued to use faulty equipment, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Managers reportedly pressured inspectors to leave the yard so they could keep freight moving.

  • ENERGY TRANSITIONRailroads May Use Their Monopoly Power to Buffer Coal Plants from a Carbon Emissions Tax

    Railroads are likely to cut transportation prices to prop up coal-fired plants if U.S. climate policies further disadvantage coal in favor of less carbon-intensive energy sources. A new study argues that “If policymakers ignore real distortions in the market, like monopoly power in rail shipping, their climate policy efforts may not achieve the intended results.”

  • CYBERSECURITYBolstering Cyber Safety on Roads and Highways

    A new research center is helping prevent potential cyberattacks that could threaten to impede the safe and efficient movement of people and goods in the United States and throughout the world.

  • EVsPaving the Way for Electric Vehicle Adoption

    By Alex Kinsella

    For many car owners, their next purchase will be an EV. But as many current EV owners know, the environmental benefits of battery-powered cars come with a tradeoff and that tradeoff is the driving distance existing battery technology can support. The problem is the battery, specifically how much energy they can store, their longevity, and how long they take to charge.

  • EVsWill the Charging Networks Arrive in Time?

    By Peter Dizikes

    MIT Mobility Forum considers whether startups can provide the infrastructure for electric vehicles, or if more automakers must step in.

  • CYBERSECURITYBolstering Cybersecurity in Navigation Systems

    Interference such as jamming and spoofing that targets critical infrastructure has the potential to cause widespread delays and cascading failures across multiple modes of transportation including ships, trains, trucks, and cars—and the problem is only getting worse. New project aims to enhance resilience of transportation infrastructure against cyber threats, developing advanced countermeasures for GPS spoofing and jamming.

  • U.S. RAILHow the U.S. Rail System Works

    By Noah Berman

    A spate of train derailments, most notably in East Palestine, Ohio, has reinvigorated the debate over the nation’s railroad infrastructure. Here’s how U.S. rail could be brought up to speed.

  • PUBLIC HEALTHTackling Crowd Management in Subways During Pandemics

    Mass transit, and subways in particular, are essential to the economic viability and environmental sustainability of cities across the globe. Researchers are working with NYC’s MTA to develop machine learning and traffic models to optimize traffic flow during pandemics.

  • TRANSPORTATION SECUERITYTesting Environments Help Secure Transportation Infrastructure

    “All critical infrastructure sectors—including the energy, manufacturing, and transportation sectors—rely heavily on sophisticated technologies like industrial control systems, cellular networks, and artificial intelligence,” said DHS S&T’s Alex Karr. “These are all accessed, monitored, and controlled via the internet, which, in turn, makes them susceptible to hacking, malware attacks, and other malicious activities.”

  • RAIL TRANSPORTATIONRailroad Unions and Their Employers at an Impasse: Freight-Halting Strikes Are Rare, and This Would Be the First in 3 Decades

    By Erik Loomis

    The prospect of a potentially devastating rail workers strike is looming again. Strikes that obstruct transportation rarely occur in the United States, and the last one involving rail workers happened three decades ago. But when these workers do walk off the job, it can thrash the economy, inconveniencing millions of people and creating a large-scale crisis.