Toward a Moral Framework for Improving Rail Passenger Safety: Occupant Protection
Garcia, Anne Leopold
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is charged by the U.S. Congress to investigate significant passenger rail accidents to determine the probable cause and to issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing similar accidents in the future. These safety recommendations are NTSB’s primary product for improving transportation safety. The recipients of the safety recommendations, however, do not always accept and follow these recommendations. This creates a safety impasse.This thesis explores a means to move toward a resolution of this safety impasse, through a moral framework for improving passenger rail safety. The impact of the passenger safety impasse is traced to illustrate the need to address and resolve the safety impasse problem.To that end, a process for expanding the current post-accident investigation process for improving passenger rail transportation safety beyond the primary, evidence-based product of safety recommendations is provided. A new type of analysis, that is a second duty-based analysis within a moral framework, is developed.Within the duty-based analysis, the need to ensure safety on public transportation systems is posited as a Kantian Categorical Safety Imperative. From this a requirement is determined: that rail transportation safety measures, whether developed through research and analysis, or through the safety recommendation process, are equitably translated to rail applications that achieve the same safety goals for all people, across all sectors of society, regardless of socio-economic and demographic factors. This is posited as the Translational Categorical Safety Imperative for transportation, which is, to identify and address transportation safety disparities and ensure future transportation safety equity for all.
Embargo Lift Date