International benchmarking of railroad safety data systems and performance – a cross-continental case study

Chen-Yu Lin*, Marcelo Blumenfeld, Theodore Gerstein, Christopher P.L. Barkan, Anson Jack, Usman Abdurrahman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rail safety is a universal goal that every railroad system pursues. Comparing rail safety performance allows the identification of relative system strengths and weaknesses and potential adaptation of risk mitigation strategies from one railroad system to another. Achieving this requires comparable data from the railroad systems to be analyzed that are available and with high resolution so that fair comparisons can be established. This paper presented an international benchmarking framework for railroad safety-related data system and safety performance. A novel and standardized methodology was developed to collect railroad safety-related data sources among different countries and compare their data completeness and resolution. Six countries with high data availability and transparency were selected to demonstrate the benchmarking framework. High-level rail safety performance measures were derived and compared among these countries. The results showed that there are inconsistencies in the resolution of different types of rail safety data among the six countries. The countries that had the lowest and highest overall accident rate, grade crossing incident rate, and other safety performance metrices were identified. This research provided valuable insights into how railroad operators can improve their railroad safety-related data system and safety performance by benchmarking with other railroad operators to make the most efficient use of risk mitigation resources. The study also highlighted the importance of providing publicly available railroad safety-related data for the mutual benefits of overall safety of railroad systems around the world.
Original languageAmerican English
Article number100384
JournalJournal of Rail Transport Planning and Management
StateE-pub ahead of print - 14 Apr 2023


  • rail
  • safety
  • benchmarking
  • Train accident
  • data system
  • risk management


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