I'm tempted to answer, but I don't really have an answer for that, namely because all we have is observational evidence.
From what I'm seeing, WMATA can only operate in two different ways:
- Manual, where the operator has total control but also has to have total awareness (which is happening now)... and total responsibility to everything
- Automatic, where a computer controls everything past certain triggers that the operator hits... and the emergency stop mushroom button.
MTA's Light Rail has a third way, where there's a speed and signal enforcement system (Automatic Train Protection) which sends a speed and signal line into the vehicle, and if you're going over, you're getting beeped at for five seconds before you go into emergency and everything stops. (ATP isn't done well up in Baltimore, BTW, as you get signal dropouts, but that's besides this point).
Call it "Regulated" but I bet WMATA needs that "third way" to prevent these types of accidents. Granted, setting them up will need dispatcher coordination, but aren't they supposed to be doing their jobs anyway?