Here’s a chart that was tweeted out today by Alex Cecchini, who argues that US cities should be doing much more to grade separate transit modes and make them safer.
You can read the Twitter exchange here.
While writing an article on light rail safety a few months ago, I researched some of the factors that come into play with pedestrian and transit designs. These include the perception of risk, street and station design, perception and distraction issues, and signal timing.
There have been a few fatal crashes along the light rail lines over the past few years, most recently two fatalities in two days back in December. Just as with cars, there’s a basic conflict between having at-grade high-speed transit next to complex walkable spaces and streets.
Of course, there are huge differences in safety records within this data. For example, check out this article in Planetizen that compares safety records of high-transit versus low- or non-transit neighborhoods:
The study, The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation, reveals that transit-oriented communities 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.