Houston's Light Rail

Last year, when Houston finally got a rail line, the culture clash became physical. Since testing began in November, the silvery electric-powered train, which slides north and south along the street on a 7.5-mile route, has collided with more than 40 cars.

[…]Officials of the transit agency, known as Metro, do not come right out and say so, but their explanations for the accidents boil down to this: Houstonians are bad drivers. All the collisions, they say, can be attributed to driver error: illegal turns, failure to yield and disregard of signals.

There is plenty of support for that argument. The accident rate in greater Houston, train or no train, is well over double the national average.

“Houston Finds Some Pain in Car-Rail Coexistence”

As a native Austinite, I loathe Houston (actually, I don’t mind it too much at all, “loathe Houston” is just the party line…so…). As such, I love seeing “funny” stuff like this. Hah! Hah!…oh…we don’t even have a light-rail here in Austin…er…hah?

As the article points out, it looks like the “usability” of the system isn’t quite what it could be. First, there’s just some curb between the train and the car — instead of jersey walls or something, and,

To be fair to Houston drivers, they have had to master six new and complex traffic signs, including an icon that shows a train track, over which is superimposed a left-turn arrow, over which is a circle with a slash through it. The signs are symbols only, without words like “warning.”

[…]Some drivers complain that the train comes without the typical warnings.

“Are you from America?” Benny Delgadillo Sr. said indignantly. “I’m from America, 49 years. Here, you’re taught as a kid that flashing lights, arms come down – train’s coming.”