Terrorism, transit and public safety: Evaluating the risks


Todd Litman

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - safety/accidents, planning - terrorism


This paper evaluates the overall safety of public transit, taking into account all risks, including recent terrorist attacks. It indicates that transit is an extremely safe mode, with total per passenger-mile fatality rates approximately one-tenth that of automobile travel. It is important for individuals and public officials to avoid overreacting to terrorist threats in ways that increase overall danger. Transit terrorism would cause more total casualties and harm to society if individuals respond to attacks by shifting from public transit to less safe modes, or if decision makes respond by reducing support for public transit