December 2, 2010

2 Min Read
DOT Awards $1.54 Million Grant to AAR-Affiliate Organization for TIH Routing Tool

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has announced that the Railroad Research Foundation (RRF), an AAR-affiliate organization, has been awarded a Railroad Safety Technology Grant from the Department of Transportation for ongoing implementation of a risk management tool necessary for railroads to comply with federal regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials.   

Funded through the Railroad Safety Technology Grant Program (RSTG), the grant provides $1.54 million for enhancement and ongoing implementation of the Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS), a web-based software tool used by railroads to analyze the safest, most secure routes for the transportation of certain hazardous materials. The technology is being developed in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

“We are pleased that the Department of Transportation has recognized the Railroad Research Foundation for their important work,” said Edward R. Hamberger, AAR president and CEO. “As evidence by our industry’s stellar safety record, railroads are constantly working to ensure the safety of our employees and the communities we serve. The Rail Corridor Risk Management System is yet another tool to aide both railroads and our government partners in that mission.”

Railroads, as required by federal regulations promulgated by PHMSA in 2008, must conduct ongoing comprehensive risk analyses of the primary routes used to ship certain hazardous materials and any alternative routes over which they have authority to operate. These analyses include a minimum of 27 specific risk factors including input provided by state and local governments. The tool will also take into consideration the presence of train control systems in the risk scores for the routes. The RCRMS tool is critical to the evaluation of these routes, enabling to industry to accomplish the objectives of the PHMSA Final Rule.

Seven grants totaling $50 million were awarded by DOT through the RSTG Program which was created by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). The program requires that selected projects be ready for deployment within 24 months of receiving a grant award and that grantees share 20 percent of the total cost.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Railroad Research Foundation (RRF), is a non-profit policy research organization devoted to sustaining a safe, secure, technologically advanced and productive marketplace driven railroad industry. RRF research efforts focus on improving the safety, security and efficiency of passenger and freight rail operations.

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