Title

A New Transit Safety Narrative

Authors

Todd Litman

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2014

Subject Area

planning - personal safety/crime, planning - safety/accidents, ridership - perceptions, land use - transit oriented development

Keywords

transit safety, crash risk, crime risk, traffic casualty, transit-oriented communities, automobile-oriented communities

Abstract

Public transportation is, overall, a relatively safe (low crash risk) and secure (low crime risk) transport mode. Transit travel has about one-tenth the traffic casualty (injury or death) rate as automobile travel, and residents of transit-oriented communities have about onefifth the per capita crash casualty rate as in automobile-oriented communities. Transit also tends to have lower overall crime rates than automobile travel, and transit improvements can help reduce overall crime risk by improving surveillance and economic opportunities for at-risk populations. Despite its relative safety and security, many people consider transit travel dangerous and are reluctant to use it or support service expansions in their communities. Various factors contribute to this excessive fear, including the nature of transit travel, heavy media coverage of transit-related crashes and crimes, and conventional traffic safety messages that emphasize danger rather than safety. Transit agencies can help create a new transit safety narrative by better communicating transit’s overall safety and security impacts and providing better guidance concerning how users and communities can enhance transit safety and security.

Rights

Permission to publish the abstract has been given by National Center for Transit Research, University of South Florida, copyright remains with them.

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