2015 Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake Rule: Comparison of DOT Forecasts for Selected Data Points for 2015 and 2016 to Preliminary Data for Those Years

In May 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule requiring, among other things, that freight railroads equip certain trains hauling flammable liquids, such as crude oil and ethanol, with electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes by 2021 and 2023, respectively. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to compare selected single point data forecasts for shipments of crude oil and ethanol, the number of crude oil and ethanol derailments and associated derailment rate, the amount of product lost in such derailments and the related costs of cleanup, and the number of injuries and deaths sustained in such derailments in DOT’s ECP brake final rule to the actual values realized for those data points in 2015 and 2016. This report examines how DOT’s forecasts for 2015 and 2016 compare to actual values realized during those years for the following selected data points: total annual rail shipments of crude oil and ethanol, as measured by carloads; the number of crude oil and ethanol freight train derailments and derailment rate; the amount of crude oil or ethanol released in such derailments and the related costs of such releases; and the number of injuries and deaths in such derailments. To make these comparisons, GAO reviewed relevant documentation from DOT’s 2015 ECP brake rule, including the final rule and its supporting economic analysis to determine forecasts for 2015 and 2016 for the selected data points, and interviewed DOT officials regarding these data and how they collect them. GAO then compared those forecasts to preliminary or, when available, final data for 2015 and 2016. The 2015 and 2016 data reviewed indicate that for those 2 years, DOT’s forecasted values for selected variables included in the review may be higher than values realized in those years based on preliminary data.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 10p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01638229
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-17-567R
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 20 2017 1:45PM