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Blue Line Striving for Fewer Deaths in 2011

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The Associated Press looks at the safety record of the Blue Line, LA's oldest modern rail line. Running mostly at street-level for 22 miles from downtown LA to downtown Long Beach, the line has the deadliest track record of all the city's five rail lines--101 fatalities since operation began in 1990 (23 have been ruled suicides).

Metro is spending a $1 million next year to install new swing gates to prevent people from running across the tracks; the transit agency is also considering inward facing cameras to monitor train operators. In related news, the Federal Transit Administration is lobbying for a bill that would set comprehensive safety standards for transit agencies and provide federal funding to implement the new guidelines. Metro representatives say that since opening the Blue Line they've continually added safety features that go beyond other transit agency efforts. USC engineering professor Najmedin Meshkati calls the efforts piecemeal but Metro's director of corporate safety, Vijay Khawani, tells the AP, "At some point, we've done it all. It's time for the public to pay attention." The Blue Line route will ostensibly be busier next year when Expo Line opens around the summer--the new line will share some track and two stations with the Blue Line near downtown LA.
· Blue Line Keeps Grim Distinction [Daily News]
· City's First Modern Rail Line Turns 20 [Curbed LA]