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HRT Chief Concerned About Safety, Delays Light-Rail Start

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Phillip Shucet, the president and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit wants adjustments made to the safety and communications systems of the new light-rail system in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), so the trains will be kept separated from cars and pedestrians on downtown streets.

For example, radar devices meant to detect oncoming trains sometimes pick up large trucks at one intersection, tripping traffic lights to red unnecessarily, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

In order for Norfolk’s light-rail, the Tide, to begin operating, a complex network of computer systems, communications equipment, signals and gates must be integrated properly so that signals will actually sound and gates will lower when a light-rail train passes an intersection.

Once the communications system is running correctly, HRT needs time to prepare for customers, which includes training operators and other staff members to use the systems.

Even though people will probably get frustrated by the continued delays of Norfolk light-rail, we applaud Shucet for putting an emphasis on safety and accident prevention. Nothing would be worse than to start light rail and then a train wreck occurs killing a pedestrian or Norfolk driver while a train passed at an intersection.

Our firm has represented clients in train crossing accidents and we have seen, firsthand, the serious injuries that occur as a result.


About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.