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Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report

Chapter 5: Safety Performance
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Index
Introduction
Highlights
Executive Summary
Part I: Description of Current System
Ch1: The Role of Highways and Transit
Ch2: System and Use Characteristics
Ch3: System Conditions
Ch4: Operational Performance
Ch5: Safety Performance
Ch6: Finance

Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Ch7: Capital Investment Requirements
Ch8: Comparison of Spending and Investment Requirements
Ch9: Impacts of Investment
Ch10: Sensitivity Analysis

Part III: Bridges
Ch11: Federal Bridge Program Status of the Nation's Bridges

Part IV: Special Topics
Ch12: National Security
Ch13: Highway Transportation in Society
Ch14: The Importance of Public Transportation
Ch15: Macroeconomic Benefits of Highway Investment
Ch16: Pricing
Ch17: Transportation Asset Management
Ch18: Travel Model Improvement Program
Ch19: Air Quality
Ch20: Federal Safety Initiatives
Ch21: Operations Strategies
Ch22: Freight

Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Ch23: Interstate System
Ch24: National Highway System
Ch25: NHS Freight Connectors
Ch26: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
Ch27: Transit Systems on Federal Lands

Appendices
Appendix A: Changes in Highway Investment Requirements Methodology
Appendix B: Bridge Investment/Performance Methodology
Appendix C: Transit Investment Condition and Investment Requirements Methodology
List of Contacts

Transit Safety

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 safety—incidents, injuries, and fatalities—collected 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.

    
Exhibit 5-15

Annual Transit-Related Incidents, Injuries, and Fatalities, 1990-2000
Directly Operated Service
 
YEAR INCIDENTS INJURIES FATALITIES
TOTAL PER 100 MILLION PMT TOTAL PER 100 MILLION PMT TOTAL PER 100 MILLION PMT
1990
91,773
251
53,844
148
325
0.89
1991
87,346
245
51,625
145
296
0.83
1992
73,795
210
54,518
155
277
0.79
1993
66,233
192
53,057
154
270
0.78
1994
71,429
200
58,794
164
318
0.89
1995
62,938
176
57,589
161
274
0.77
1996
59,709
165
55,643
154
265
0.73
1997
62,009
165
56,535
151
275
0.73
1998
60,367
153
56,369
143
286
0.73
1999
59,781
146
56,416
138
299
0.73
2000
60,638
142
57,457
135
292
0.69
Note: includes all modes (MB, TB, HR, CR, LR, DR, AG, VP, CC, FB, IP, JT) and all incidents, injuries and fatalities including those not directly associated with the operation of transit vehicles (suicides, personal casualties in parking lots and stations)
Source: National Transit Database/Safety Management Information Statistics

Annual safety information from 1990 through 2000 is shown in Exhibit 5-16.

Transit-Related Incidents, Injuries and Fatalities per 100 Million Passenger 
  Miles Traveled, 1990-2000
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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.

    
Exhibit 5-17

Transit-Related Incidents, Injuries, and Fatalities
Annual Rates Per 100 Million Passenger Miles by Mode, 1990-2000
Directly Operated Service Only (Purchased Transportation not included)
 
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
INCIDENTS
Bus
409
378
314
277
296
264
252
242
243
232
235
Heavy Rail
114
142
144
147
150
136
119
126
110
95
92
Commuter Rail
51
47
47
33
42
38
34
44
30
31
24
Light Rail
282
257
217
168
170
148
141
115
101
99
99
Demand Response
1,790
1,435
946
766
801
785
964
627
633
757
881
INJURIES
Bus
224
218
237
233
257
254
248
234
240
232
230
Heavy Rail
89
89
97
103
109
106
96
102
90
75
78
Commuter Rail
34
33
37
24
32
31
27
34
21
22
20
Light Rail
221
189
181
139
142
152
168
106
96
107
100
Demand Response
709
611
581
511
549
627
662
482
551
646
817
FATALITIES
Bus
0.63
0.50
0.59
0.51
0.65
0.50
0.63
0.65
0.64
0.57
0.51
Heavy Rail
0.98
0.95
0.85
0.81
0.80
0.75
0.64
0.64
0.44
0.65
0.56
Commuter Rail
1.44
1.34
1.17
1.35
1.52
1.21
1.01
1.13
1.16
1.16
0.99
Light Rail
0.88
1.97
1.00
2.13
1.56
1.75
0.63
0.29
2.06
1.43
2.24
Demand Response
0.00
2.95
0.00
1.57
1.52
4.04
8.26
3.00
2.07
0.48
3.77
Note: includes all incidents, injuries and fatalities including those not directly associated with the operation of transit vehicles (suicides, personal casualties in parking lots and stations)
Source: National Transit Database/Safety Management Information Statistics.

Transit-Related Incident Rates per 100 Million Passenger Miles Traveled By Mode, 
  1990-2000
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Transit-Related Injuries per 100 Million Passenger Miles Traveled By Mode, 
  1990-2000
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Transit-Related Fatalities per 100 Million Passenger Miles Traveled By Mode, 
  1990-2000
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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].

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