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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, 7am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jorg Hackemann

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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Published on Friday, January 27, 2017 in CityLab
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