Rail Transportation of Toxic Inhalation Hazards: Policy Responses to the Safety and Security Externality

76 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2014

See all articles by Lewis Branscomb

Lewis Branscomb

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Mark Fagan

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Philip E. Auerswald

George Mason University - Schar School of Government and Policy

Ryan Ellis

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Raphael Barcham

SafeTREC

Date Written: January 2010

Abstract

Toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemicals such as chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia are among the most dangerous of hazardous materials. Rail transportation of TIH creates risk that is not adequately reflected in the costs, creating a TIH safety and security externality. This paper describes and evaluates policy alternatives that might effectively mitigate the dangers of TIH transportation by rail. After describing the nature of TIH risk and defining the TIH externality, general policy approaches to externalities from other arenas are examined. Potential risk reduction strategies and approaches for each segment of the supply chain are reviewed. The paper concludes by summarizing policy options and assessing some of the most promising means to reduce the risks of transportation of toxic inhalation hazards. Four policy approaches are recommended: internalizing external costs through creation of a fund for liability and claims, improving supply chain operations, enhancing emergency response and focusing regulatory authority. It is further suggested that the Department of Transportation convene a discussion among stakeholder representatives to evaluate policy alternatives.

Keywords: transportation, security, railroads, externalities, security externalities, corporate decision-making, risk

JEL Classification: D62, D92, F50

Suggested Citation

Branscomb, Lewis and Fagan, Mark and Auerswald, Philip Edgar and Ellis, Ryan and Barcham, Raphael, Rail Transportation of Toxic Inhalation Hazards: Policy Responses to the Safety and Security Externality (January 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2397482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2397482

Lewis Branscomb

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mark Fagan (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Philip Edgar Auerswald

George Mason University - Schar School of Government and Policy ( email )

3351 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://auerswald.org

Ryan Ellis

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Raphael Barcham

SafeTREC ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

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