Darwin Schafer received his Master's degree from the University of Illinois in Civil Engineering in May 2008. He is originally from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago where he attended Lake Park High School. Darwin graduated with his B.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Illinois in 2006. His research focused on predicting the location of service failures and broken rail derailments, as well as the economic impact of those events. Broken rails are the leading cause of severe derailments for all major railroads in the US and the ability to predict where a broken rail is likely to occur would be a valuable asset to any railroad. His research also examined the cost-effective solution for the railroad to implement based on the prediction. This research will assist railroads in reducing the number of service failures and broken rail derailments as well as planning effective maintenance strategies.
Schafer, D., Barkan, C.P.L. The Relationship Between Train Length and Accident Causes and Rates . Proceedings of the TRB 87th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC (January 2008).