The state of Pennsylvania has hired Allan Zarembski, a research professor at the University of Delaware who studies rail safety and risk analysis, to evaluate its freight system.

In addition to the evaluation, Zarembski will advise Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf on risk reduction and safety. Wolf’s concerns especially regard the rail transportation of large volumes of crude oil traveling across the state to East Coast refineries. Zarembski’s hire (a three-month contract) is part of a plan to avert potential disaster.

Besides research professor, Zarembski is the director of the Railroad Engineering and Safety Program in the Department of Civil Engineering. His areas of interest include failure and risk analysis of tracks and related components, derailment prevention, improved track inspection technology and applications, track maintenance, and more concerning freight, transit, commuter, and inter-urban rail operations.

In 1984 Zarembski co-founded ZETA-TECH Associates, a railroad engineering consulting firm based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, noted for helping to set track engineering and safety standards globally. He retired in 2012 from the company, which is now a business unit of Harsco Rail, to join the University of Delaware’s faculty. Zarembski earned an M.A. in civil and geological engineering in 1974 and a Ph.D. in civil engineering in 1975, both from Princeton University. His B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics and M.S. in engineering mechanics are from New York University.