USA: Rail industry veteran to lead Operation Lifesaver

6 Jan

Bonnie_Murphy_color1-140x186Bonnie Murphy, a former commuter rail executive and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) official, will become President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver (OLI) within the USA in late January 2016, OLI Board Chair Bill Barringer announced on January 5th, 2016.
“Bonnie’s expertise in the rail industry, her deep understanding of safety issues and track record of accomplishing organizational goals will advance Operation Lifesaver’s mission to prevent collisions, injuries and fatalities on and around railroad tracks and highway-rail grade crossings,” said Barringer. “She brings extensive leadership experience to the position, as well as familiarity with the responsibilities of state Operation Lifesaver programs from her work with the FRA,” he noted.

Murphy is a veteran of both the railroad industry and the federal government with 30 years of professional railroad experience and 10 years of executive-level government experience.

Currently a consultant with engineering and technology services firm CDI Corporation, Murphy was previously general manager with the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail (MBCR), the nation’s fifth-largest commuter rail system. From 2003-2013, before joining MBCR, Murphy served with the FRA as regional administrator for the Southwest, based in Texas, and later as deputy associate administrator for safety compliance and program implementation in Washington, DC.

Before her tenure with the FRA, Murphy was director and chief operating officer of Trinity Rail Express, the commuter rail service between Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas. She began her career with Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, serving as general supervisor and assistant transportation manager in Chicago, transportation manager in San Jose, California, and senior transportation manager in Oceanside, California.

Murphy holds a Master of Business Administration, Master of International Business and Master of Criminal Justice from Touro University, and Bachelor in Business Administration from Le Tourneau University in Longview, Texas.

“Ninety-five percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers at a railroad crossing or a person on the tracks. I am excited about the opportunity to address these critical public safety issues, and I look forward to joining the Operation Lifesaver team,” said Murphy.

8 Responses to “USA: Rail industry veteran to lead Operation Lifesaver”

  1. andrewfraser2015 January 7, 2016 at 08:31 #

    She doesn’t appear to be qualified in any discipline relevant to the functioning of the human brain, but I suppose that doesn’t necessarily mean that she doesn’t understand the need to ensure that someone in her organisation does …

    • aidannelson January 7, 2016 at 09:28 #

      In so far as my knowledge of Bonnie Murphy extends, I believe her to be very well equipped to lead the national team at Operation Lifesaver. As I’m sure you are aware, education is an important component of a balanced response to risk arising at level crossings. My perspective places delivery of a ‘safe’ crossing with rail and highway specialists who must have access to ergonomists and human factors specialists at the design stage and through the life of a level crossing. This is an area where, in many jurisdictions, inclusion of these specials is either absent or inadequately resourced at the modal interface.

      • andrewfraser2015 January 7, 2016 at 10:56 #

        As far as I am aware, no-one is entirely sure what contribution (if any) education makes to reducing risk in the “roads” arena. Belief in it however appears to be unshakeable – in spite of the evidence, and the best efforts of the luminaries in the arena. as to the inclusion of specials – yes, they appear to be absent in most jurisdictions. For some reason, we seem to prefer inventing crimes and punishing people, rather than thinking …

  2. aidannelson January 7, 2016 at 11:10 #

    I’m a believer in the Operation Lifesaver model as adapted from the 3E (Education, Engineering and Enforcement) to 5E (Enabling, Engineering Education, Enforcement and Evaluation). Firstly there needs to be an enabling framework within which engineered solutions are delivered with ergonomist and human factors inputs. This then earns the right to educate road users and employ enforcement strategies with priority given to tackling intentional misuse, meanwhile evaluate the impact of the various components of an holistic approach.

  3. andrewfraser2015 January 7, 2016 at 11:30 #

    Beliefs are not sufficient – there must be evidence. I don’t know about “enabling frameworks”, but certainly “solutions” must take account of human factors. Education of the managers in that area might be the right first step. As to “enforcement” – which probably wouldn’t be necessary in a properly designed situation, I’d be interested in how intentional misuse would be identified. At the moment, it doesn’t matter whether “misuse” is intentional or not … a disgraceful and potentially dangerous approach, which the “authorities” show no sign of correcting.

    • aidannelson January 7, 2016 at 12:31 #

      There is academic work by Dr Ian Savage at Northwestern University which demonstrates the long-run benefits of education of road users through operation Lifesaver as a component of a broader programme to reduce the harm arising at level crossings.

  4. andrewfraser2015 January 7, 2016 at 13:32 #

    I’d be interested in seeing his work … as would “education” colleagues, I’m sure.

  5. aidannelson January 7, 2016 at 13:43 #

    Operation Lifesaver holds a copy of his work on this topic

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