RTD already enhancing safety processes following January R Line derailment

The agency’s action plan will go before PUC commissioners

DENVER (June 19, 2019) – The Regional Transportation District (RTD) has already stepped up various safety measures on its light rail system as a result of the Jan. 28 derailment on the R Line in Aurora.

The safety elements are outlined in the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that RTD submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) staff in April. Now the PUC commissioners are taking up the item through an investigation proceeding that informs RTD by order to now file the CAP to the commission within 30 days – a normal part of the PUC process.

While RTD has an extensive training process for bus and rail operators that takes into account a variety of safety issues, the agency has taken an even more proactive and aggressive approach to safety following the accident.

“As soon as this incident occurred, we began analyzing our processes and started taking action right away,” said RTD Chief Safety Officer Mike Meader. “We will continue to partner with the PUC to address all of their concerns and respond as necessary as we work to enhance safety across our entire rail system.”

RTD conducted its own investigation of the incident and determined in February that speed was the primary factor that caused it. The light rail operator was terminated, and RTD developed a corrective action plan and submitted it to PUC staff. RTD’s action plan includes the following elements:

  • Enhanced training of all operators
  • Additional speed limit signage
  • Operator bulletins that address issues as they arise
  • Safety information shared through daily train orders
  • Additional unannounced observations of train operations to ensure compliance

The incident in January was the first of its kind over the 25 years that RTD has operated light rail service in the Denver metro region. In 2018, the transit agency delivered 13 million miles of light rail service, with only one accident determined to have been preventable by RTD.

“One accident is too many,” Meader said. “RTD is committed to continuous improvement and doing all we can to ensure that an incident like this can be avoided in the future.”



The Regional Transportation District celebrates 50 years of service this year. The transit agency develops, operates and maintains a public transportation system that meets the needs of close to 3 million people within an eight-county service area in the Denver Metro region. The agency’s buses, rail lines, shuttles and additional services provide 100 million annual passenger trips. For more information, visit rtd-denver.com, call 303-299-6000 and follow along on social media: www.facebook.com/RideRTD, on Twitter @Ridertd@ridertd on Instagram and rideRTDco on YouTube.