The National League of Cities (NLC) is using data visualization to better understand train derailments and other safety issues nationwide.

The NLC’s new interactive map shows the frequency of train derailments, allows users to see an overview of derailments, and provides a deeper dive into details on specific incidents.

“With rail tracks running through the middle of thousands of cities, towns and villages, derailments are a big concern for residents who want to keep their families and businesses safe,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities. “Our new rail map shows what local leaders already know to be true – train derailments and safety issues are happening far too often and in far too many places.”

The map uses data from 2012-2023 provided by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Rail Administration. According to NLC, the map accounts for all railway networks in the U.S. and the congressional districts where derailments occurred. Based on Federal Rail Administration data, the top five states with derailments over the last decade are Texas, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

In a press release, NLC tied the new digital tool to the organization’s support of the bipartisan Senate Railway Safety Act of 2023, which includes a number of key provisions to improve rail safety. It was passed by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on May 8, and is now awaiting a vote in the full Senate.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs