Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation - (Ph.D.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

RongFang Liu

Second Advisor

Hindy L. Schachter

Third Advisor

Janice Rhoda Daniel

Fourth Advisor

Joyoung Lee

Fifth Advisor

Wenge Guo


This study uses a complex network model to analyze the causes of accidents in high-speed railway operations. By identifying the key factors that led to high-speed railway accidents, hidden safety hazards were discovered. This will help improve the operational safety of the U.S. high-speed rail line under construction.

The analysis uses the regional high-speed railway network in Guangzhou, China as a case study, including the railway (including high-speed railway) accidents that occurred in the company's jurisdiction from 2013 to 2017. With comparative analysis between general railways and high-speed railways, the changes of high-speed railway safety factors are explored. Data analysis results show that the main accident causes of high-speed railways and general railways have no significant differences in categories, Equipment and human factors are the most important categories of factors leading to accidents. However, there are obvious differences in specific accident factors. Which include the significant impact of driver staff on the safety of high-speed railways, and the safety of high-speed railways is highly sensitive to incidents. Another key factor is the stability of the equipment, especially the performance of the signal system is critical to the operation of high-speed rail. The underlying reasons reflected by these safety defect factors include:

  1. In the short term, a large number of equipment purchases and the construction of new railway lines will cause maintenance, driver, and mechanic pressures and staff shortages.
  2. The lack of training system leads to insufficient professional quality of maintenance employees and drivers.

The proposed strategy includes enhancing the training organization within the operating company, and adjusting the high-speed railway construction and equipment procurement policies should be gentler in order to reduce the pressure on the system and improve the level of safety.



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