U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report
|Chapter 5: Safety Performance|
Part I: Description of Current System
Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Part III: Bridges
Part IV: Special Topics
Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Public transit in the United States has been and continues to be a highly safe mode of transportation. This is evidenced by information on three indicators of transit safetyincidents, injuries, and fatalitiescollected by the National Transit Database. These data are reported by transit operators for directly operated services and exclude information on purchased (contracted) transit.
Reportable transit safety incidents include all collisions and any other type of occurrence (e.g., derailment) that results in injury or death, or fire or property damage in excess of $1,000. Property damage includes damage to transit vehicles and facilities and to other non-transit vehicles that are involved in the incident. Injuries and fatalities include those suffered by riders as well as by pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles. Injuries and fatalities may occur while traveling on transit or while boarding, alighting, or waiting for transit vehicles to arrive.
Incidents, injuries, and fatalities in absolute terms and per 100 million passenger miles traveled (PMT) for all transit modes are provided in Exhibit 5-15. In absolute terms, transit incidents were 36 percent lower in 2000 than in 1990 and 2 percent lower than in 1997. Injuries in 2000 were 7 percent higher than in 1990, and 2 percent higher than in 1997; fatalities in 2000 were 11 percent lower than in 1990, and 6 percent higher than in 1997. When adjusted for changes in the level transit usage, incidents per 100 million PMT fell from 251 in 1990, to 165 in 1997, to 142 in 2000, a decrease of 14 percent between 1997 and 2000. Injuries per 100 million PMT increased from 148 in 1990, to 151 in 1997, decreasing to 135 in 2000, a decrease of 11 percent between 1997 and 2000. Fatalities per 100 million PMT decreased from 0.89 in 1990, to 0.73 in 1997, to .69 in 2000, a decrease of 6 percent between 1997 and 2000.
Annual safety information from 1990 through 2000 is shown in Exhibit 5-16.
Exhibit 5-17 shows incident, injury, and fatality annual rates per 100 PMT for the five largest transit modes. These rates span the averages for all modes as reported in Exhibit 5-15. Changes in occurrences on bus, heavy rail, and commuter rail modes, which combined accounted for 96 percent of total PMT in 2000, have the largest effect on the averages reported in Exhibit 5-15. The information provided in Exhibit 5-17 is graphed in Exhibits 5-18, 5-19 and 5-20.
Transit vehicles that share the roadway with other non-transit vehicles have higher incident and injury rates than transit vehicles that travel on fixed guideways. Incident and injury rates have consistently been the highest for demand response vehicles. Buses consistently have had incident and injury rates above rail transit modes, but substantially below demand response vehicles. Incidents and injury rates have been the lowest for commuter rail vehicles.
Although buses have relatively high incident and
injury rates, bus fatality rates have tended to be lower than those on
other transit modes. Heavy rail also has had low fatality rates. Fatality
rates for commuter and light rail have, on average, been higher than fatality
rates for heavy rail. Demand response vehicles have widely fluctuating
fatality rates often well above those for other types of transit services.
[See Exhibits 5-18, 5-19 and 5-20].