The collision of two trains in the metro system of the District of Columbia raised concerns on the increasing neglect of the transport system that serves a large number of commuters. Preliminary analysis indicated the flaws in the trains’ control system as the cause of the accident.
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Further investigations revealed that the train that caused the accident was an old model that operated on outdated technology. Reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicated that fitting the train with an automated control system could have averted the collision. The lack of proper maintenance policies is only one aspect of the underfunding of the D.C metro system, which has led to the underutilization of the second largest metro system in America.
By 2006, the D.C metro system required about 15 billion dollars to address the backlog of repairs and about 3 billion dollars annually to sustain the update of systems and technology used in the metro system (Post 136). Despite the fact that the metro system plays a central role in the economic progress of the District of Columbia, state and local authorities have increasingly overlooked the need for a revamped metro system to meet the criteria of a reliable transport system.
An analysis of the federal budget indicates that the allocation of funds for the metro is one of the most overlooked issues. The stimulus bill has so far dedicated about 8 billion dollars to the improvement of the D.C train system with the requested 57 billion dollars designated for the replacement of the old fleets still unavailable (Perez 51). In comparison to other systems of transport, the D.C metro system receives the lowest percentage of federal funding.
The demand by the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority for increased funding of the D.C metro system have attracted criticism regarding the need for a balanced overall transit funding. In this regard, stakeholders in the highway system have expressed support for the proposed cutting of budgetary allocations for the D.C metro system by about 15 million.
The fact that the current funding of the D.C metro system does not guarantee satisfactory levels of security and reliability illustrates that cutting the D.C metro budget will put the transit system in jeopardy. The D.C metro system constitutes of more than 25 percent of the total metro system in America (Cervero 229).
Due to the depilated condition of the D.C metro system, the number of trains that operate in an hour is considerably below the maximum capacity. Furthermore, the use of outdated systems has increasingly reduced commuters’ confidence in the metro system (Weiss 136).
However, evidence shows that a revamped metro system offers greater reliability in comparison to the bus system. At full capacity, the D.C metro system can ferry about 20, 000 passenger within an hour and thus considerably reduced traffic jams in the District of Columbia (Toole 71).
The discrepancy between the funding of highways and metro systems undermines the benefits of the metro system in terms of performance and safety. In this regard, there is need for increased funding of the D.C metro system in response to the anticipated increase in the use of public transport.
When operating at full capacity, the D.C metro system will significantly reduce the amount of time that people spend travelling to and from work. Considering that federal budget for the repair backlogs of the national metro system was about 5 billion dollars in 2006, the D.C metro system will remain unreliable and thus underutilized.
Cervero, Robert. Transit-oriented development in the United States: experiences, challenges, and prospects. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 2004. Print.
Perez, Benjamin G. Financing surface transportation in the United States: forging a sustainable future–now! : summary of the fourth international conference. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board, 2012. Print.
Post, Robert C. Urban mass transit: the life story of a technology. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007. Print.
Toole, Randal. Gridlock: why we’re stuck in traffic and what to do about it. Washington, D.C.: CATO Institute, 2009. Print.
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Weiss, Joseph . Protecting Industrial Control Systems from Electronic Threats. Princeton (New Jersey): Momentum Press, 2010. Print.