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Trains, Planes and Automobiles: Amtrak Tragedy Shines a Light on the Need for Increased Infrastructure Spending.
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The New York Times reports that Amtrak train number 188 was carrying 243 people when it crashed in Philadelphia on Tuesday evening. At least eight people were killed and dozens more were injured, several of whom are reported to be in critical condition. According to the Times, the train was travelling at 106 miles per hour when it derailed—more than twice the speed limit on that section of the track—suggesting that the tragedy likely could have been prevented by the installation of a safety system called ‘positive train control.’

Positive train control is designed to prevent human error, such as allowing trains to travel at their maximum speed. CNN reports that such safety systems have been tested and implemented since 2007. After a 2008 rail accident that killed 25 people in California, Congress mandated that safety systems be installed on most heavily travelled passenger rail lines by December of 2015.

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