Let’s make sure they’re not constantly crashing into things—-cars, pedestrians, dogs etc.
I lived in Houston when the city first introduced the light rail, just in time for that year’s Super Bowl.
It was a disaster. During the system’s first three months, there were 18 collisions, according to a USA Today article, published in March 2004.
No one has died in the accidents. Police blame motorists in all of them. “It’s not a rail problem,” says Ken Connaughton of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. “It’s a driver problem.”
That Mr. Connaughton sure knows how to deliver a comforting line. A streetcar slams into you, because—where for decades there were no light rail lines—all of a sudden there’s a train in the road, and it’s quite discombobulating. Now in addition to putting on blinkers, checking in rear view mirrors, watching the bumper in front of you and looking for street signage, there’s a whole ‘nother task: Avoiding the streetcar lanes, which in Houston were at roughly the same elevation as the street.
It takes some adjusting.
Image Pfrench99, Flickr Creative Commons