Future River Freight Safety
On a rate per ton mile basis, nationwide there is one fatality within the inland marine sector for every 23 fatalities in the rail sector and 155 fatalities in the roadway or trucking sector. Injuries among these sectors equate to one injury in the inland marine sector for every 125 in the rail sector and 2,172 in the roadway sector. These statistics clearly show the safety record of the inland waterway system is favorable from the view of a transportation worker.
National Safety Comparison by Freight Mode per Ton Mile
1 river freight fatality for every:
= 23 rail freight fatalities
= 155 truck freight fatalities
1 river freight injury for every:
= 125 rail freight injuries
=2,172 truck freight injuries
Water transportation in the United States has a good safety record in moving hazardous materials. A 2017 Texas Transportation Institute study evaluates large spills (more than 1,000 gallons) as a measure of the overall safety of transportation modes. The rate of spills in gallons per ton-mile was found to be similar for both marine and rail transportation.
Overall, the transportation industry works diligently to prevent accidents, which is shown in the overall spill rates of liquid hazardous materials. On average, trucks lose 6.06 gallons per one million ton-miles; railcars 3.86 gallons; and barges 3.6 gallons per million ton-miles.
Future Safety Forecast
There were no reported incidences between 2018 and 2022 along the regional waterway system. This safety record is expected to remain, as operations continue to slowly transition from the movement of coal to increases in other bulk materials. Since little change is expected in the operations of the maritime freight network, safety systems, training and protocols will also remain to ensure the safe transport of goods via river to, from and through the region.