Rail News

APTA Study Reveals Public Transit is Ten Times Safer than Cars

The most effective life-saving traffic safety tool for a commuter and a community may be the daily metro transit pass.  A new study released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) shows that a person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90 percent, simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car.  This means traveling by public transportation is ten times safer per mile than traveling by auto.

LYNX Stonewall Station, North Carolina © James Willamor (license)

In the study, The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation, authors reveal that transit-oriented communities are five times safer because they have about a fifth the per capita traffic casualty rate (fatalities and injuries) as automobile-oriented communities.  This means public transit cuts a community’s crash risk in half even for those who do not use public transit.  Public transportation communities spur compact development which reduces auto miles traveled and produces safer speeds. The study was prepared by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute for APTA.

APTA Acting CEO and President, Richard White, said:

“It is time we employ public transit as a traffic safety tool because it can dramatically reduce the crash risk for individuals as well as a community.”

“While no mode of travel is risk free, the safety of public transit is striking when observing the number of fatalities that are a result of auto crashes.”

According to recent data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 35,092 fatalities as a result of auto accidents in 2015.  That is an increase of 7.2 percent from 2014, the largest since 1966.  While APTA officials note that even one death is one too many, the small number of fatalities related to public transit travel pale in comparisons to the tens of thousands of lives lost on our roadways every year.

Related Post:  Brexit and the Rail Industry: Findings of the Lords Report

The study authors of The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution:Public Transportation, emphasise that auto deaths and injury rates tend to decline in a community as public transit ridership increases. Cities that average more than 50 annual transit trips per capita have about half the average traffic fatality rates as cities where residents average fewer than 20 annual trips.  Since Americans average about 1,350 annual trips on all modes, this increase from less than 20 to more than 50 annual transit trips represents a small increase in transit mode share, from about 1.5 percent up to about 4 percent.  That equates to an increase in transit mode share of less than 3 trips a month per person.

Related Post:  ERA Set to Become the THE Railway Authority in Europe

White added:

“We must address expanding public transit with urgency and ensure the reliability and safety of these systems.”

“Nationwide, there is an $86 billion backlog of state of good repair needs for the nation’s public transit systems.  Addressing this backlog is directly tied to maintaining the safest public transit network possible.”

When paired with traditional roadway traffic safety strategies, public transit can be very valuable in addressing high-risk and vulnerable driver groups, according to the study.  Efforts to reduce higher risk driving, such as graduated licenses for teens, senior driving testing, and impaired and distracted driving campaigns, become more effective if implemented in conjunction with public transit improvements.  For instance, urban teens take five times as many public transit trips and drive half as much and have about half the per capita auto death rate.

Related Post:  Travelling with Confidence: Accessible Travel Policy Guidance Published

White concluded:

“This study makes clear that public transportation investment and supportive policies continue to save lives and reduce injuries for travellers and our most vulnerable road users as more shift from the automobile to public transit.”

“The community-wide crash reductions, as a result from decreasing auto travel and safer speeds, multiply as areas become stronger transit oriented communities.”

The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation was prepared by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute for APTA.  The results were derived from an analysis of public transit, traffic safety and public health data.

For the original article and to read the study in its entirety please go to www.apta.com

News categories

    22 Sep 2018
    Nanov Display Presents Innovative Transit Center Kiosks at APTA
    19 Sep 2018
    US: FRA Publishes Funding Opportunities for Positive Train Control
    12 Apr 2018
    USDOT Announces $22.5m Grant for San Rafael Commuter Rail Extension
    02 Feb 2017
    U.S. DOT Launches New Railroad Crossing Safety Ad
    06 Jan 2017
    US DOT Commits $1.5 Billion in Grants and Loans for LA Metro Purple Line Extension
    20 Dec 2016
    FTA Announces $499 Million Grant Agreement to Build TEX Rail Commuter Line
    02 Dec 2016
    Chicago: Freight Rail Industry Improves Train Management
    Subscribe to Railway-News
    Get the latest contract alerts and Railway News emailed directly to your inbox.

    We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.

    Please tick to confirm you would like to receive emails we think may be of interest to you. We sometimes tailor the content you see to what we think you'll find interesting, and so monitor your interaction with our website and email content (find out more).