This proposition makes perfect sense but it is one that we don’t tend to consider statistically.
In the US, according to citylab.com, even as cars have become safer, vehicle crash-related deaths have been increasing in urban areas since 2009, reversing a 30-year decline in road fatalities. Upon reading this, I checked the stats for London (the city is a member of the Vision Zero campaign) and according to one website there are approximately 80 people (pedestrians and cyclists) killed on London’s roads each year (figures vary as the official TfL numbers don’t include people who die from their injuries after 30 days from the date of the crash).
The research shows that there is one straightforward way that cities can make a big difference to road deaths: Improve local public transport. Places, where people take more trips on public transit per capita, have a smaller proportion of road fatalities.
“One of the most powerful traffic safety tools a city can employ to eliminate deaths and injuries due to road traffic crashes is its public transportation system,” Paul Skoutelas, president and CEO of APTA, said on a recent briefing call. “It takes just a modest increase in public transit use to result in a dramatic decrease in traffic fatalities.”
Previous research from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that public transport (in the US) is ten times safer per mile than travelling by car in terms of traffic casualty rate. Rail is even safer – with 18 times fewer traffic casualties compared to driving.
Typically, most benefit analysis of public transport is based on distance-based analysis, rather than per-capita analysis. But actually, if you measure the success based on human fatalities then that’s a pretty meaningful statistic.
Of course, the car is not going away. It is a fundamental part of our modern existence and public transport cannot yet hope to create such a significant paradigm shift that people, en masse, reject car usage. But, the point is that if we can encourage the use of public transport, then aside from the contribution to pollution and congestion reduction then we may, hopefully, also reduce the number of fatalities caused by road traffic accidents. Whilst that may be just a statistic to many, to others it means much, much more.
PassageWay real-time digital wayfinding and smart mobility signs transform any Internet-connected screen into a real-time local wayfinding point, displaying all the nearby transit options in real-time alongside mapping information. PassageWay real-time digital wayfinding and transport signs display local data to within a few meters of any location. PassageWay is currently available across Greater London, displaying real-time TfL data for the entirety of Londons’ network and the team are onboarding commercial operators prior to rolling out to other cities.