TRB Special Report: Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) sponsored the Committee for a Study of Domestic Transportation of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Ethanol to examine the safety performance of long-distance freight modes with a focus on the domestic energy revolution. TRB Special Report 325: Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape, reviews the response of the U.S. pipeline, rail, and barge industries to the surge in shipments after 2005 in domestic crude oil, fuel ethanol, and natural gas production. This article looks at the committee's observations and recommendations. Overall, the committee found that pipelines and waterways have accommodated major portions of the growth in domestic energy liquids and gases, and they have done so without creating major new safety problems and within the basic framework of their longstanding regulatory and safety assurance systems. Recommendations include: (1) the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) undertake a comprehensive review of the successes and failures in responding to transportation safety challenges since 2005, to inform the development of more anticipatory and robust safety assurance systems; (2) the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) enable and incentivize frequent and comprehensive inspections of rail routes that carry energy liquids traffic regularly and enable new capabilities in autonomous systems, high-resolution imaging, and sensor technologies; and (3) PHMSA and FRA take advantage of increased experience with tank car unit train movements to systematically model all the factors that can cause and affect the severity of flammable liquids train crashes, including the propagation of internal rail defects and the kinetics that arise from multicar derailments.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 44-47
  • Serial:
    • TR News
    • Issue Number: 317
    • Publisher: Transportation Research Board
    • ISSN: 0738-6826
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01682768
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 2 2018 4:15PM