Research: Bus Riders Safer Than Car Drivers

Taking the bus might not feel as comfortable as going by car, but according to this research from Montreal, it's safer.

February 2, 2017, 7:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Miami Bus

Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock

It's often said that it's statistically safer to ride a plane than drive a car, although it doesn't always feel that way. The same may be true for bus passengers. According to a recent study, bus riders in Montreal are only a third as likely to get injured on the road.

John Metcalfe writes, "By perusing police reports from 2001 to 2010, [researchers] 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."

"[This] work backs up, on the city level, what's been known for some time on the macro scale. 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. [Researchers] suggest getting more people on public transit could make a large impact on public health." Of course, conditions vary from place to place, and further micro-scale research in the U.S. would be helpful.

Metcalfe also notes that these statistics cannot apply to bus drivers, whose jobs are often dangerous and unhealthy.

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