Increased data collection will help prevent accidents and improve railway safety across Canada
The Government of Canada is introducing amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations to better identify and address safety risks proactively.
Railway data reporting in Canada
Currently, railway safety data is collected after an accident happens—commonly referred to as lagging indicators. Lagging indicators help Transport Canada target inspections and monitor compliance with the Railway Safety Act and its regulations, rules, and standards.
Under the changes, rail carriers will be required to report leading indicator data to Transport Canada. Leading indicators are measurable factors that can be used to proactively identify and address safety risks before accidents occur. This new requirement will help improve rail safety by supporting better planning and performance measurement, more focused audits and inspections, and targeted programs that address specific safety issues.
Information Collection, Analysis and Dissemination Working Group
In 2008, the Information Collection, Analysis and Dissemination (ICAD) Working Group was created to respond to recommendations stemming from the Railway Safety Act Review. The Working Group, which comprised representatives from government, industry, and labour, identified 15 leading indicators to be gathered under the proposed regulations.
The leading indicators are grouped into three categories—operations, equipment, and engineering—and may include, for example, data on:
- railway staffing and training activities (e.g. employee proficiency tests and results);
- condition and maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock (e.g. number of broken or cracked wheels found on a train in a yard); and
- railway infrastructure repairs (e.g. number of bridges with temporary speed restrictions).