We’ve all seen the numbers before: taking the bus is far safer than driving your car. Meanwhile, transit operators continue to advertise themselves in defensive mode, often telling people to be safe and exercise all types of caution. Hopefully new research will make bus operators think outside of the box and get customers excited and inspired to take their many-times-safer transportation option.
Your chances of arriving unscathed are better when you ride the bus rather than drive a car. That’s the conclusion of researchers studying injuries along major traffic corridors in Montreal. By perusing police reports from 2001 to 2010, they found motorists on these routes had more than three times the injury rate of bus passengers. Buses were also safer for people sharing the road. Cars were responsible for 95 percent of pedestrian and 96 percent of cyclist injuries on these arteries, they write in a presentation for this month’s meeting of the Transportation Research Board.
In the United States, car occupants have a fatality rate 23 times greater than bus passengers, while it’s respectively 11 and 10 times higher in Australia and Europe. They suggest getting more people on public transit could make a large impact on public health.
Here’s more from their full presentation: We estimated that a 50% modal shift from car toward bus would prevent 35% of all injuries and 38% of severe injuries. The benefits may be underestimated, because we did not take into account the effect of having fewer vehicles on the road, the risk reduction—for all road users—associated with a reduction in traffic volume. However, the benefits may also be overestimated, because a modal shift towards public transit would likely increase the number of pedestrians and which is associated with an increase in pedestrian casualties or in the overall number of road casualties.