Traveling by Bus Instead of Car on Urban Major Roads: Safety Benefits for Vehicle Occupants, Pedestrians and Cyclists

Some studies have estimated fatality and injury rates for bus occupants, but data was aggregated at the country level and made no distinction between bus types. Also, injured pedestrians and cyclists, as a result of bus travel, were overlooked. The authors compared injury rates for car and city bus occupants on specific urban major roads, as well as the pedestrian and cyclist injuries associated with car and bus travel. They selected ten bus routes along major urban arterials (Montreal, Canada). Passenger-kilometres travelled were estimated from vehicle counts at intersections (2002-2010) and from bus passenger counts (2008). Police accident reports (2001-2010) provided injury data for all modes. Injury rates associated with car and bus travel were calculated for vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. Injury rate ratios were computed to compare the safety of travel by car and by bus. For all ten routes, the injury rate ratio is over three times greater (3.7, 95% CI [3.4, 4.0]) for car occupants than for bus occupants. The rate of pedestrian (4.1, 95% CI [3.5,4.9]) and cyclist (5.3, 95% CI [3.8, 7.6]) injuries, per hundred million passenger-kilometres travelled by car versus by bus, is significantly greater for car travel than for bus travel. Similar results were observed for fatally and severely injured vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. Results show that city bus is a safer mode than car, for bus passengers but also for pedestrians and cyclists travelling alongside these bus routes. On urban major roads, a modal shift from car to public transit may greatly improve road safety for all modes.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP018T Task Force on Transit Safety and Security.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

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    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Morency, Patrick
    • Pepin, Félix
    • Tessier, François
    • Strauss, Jillian
    • Plante, Céline
    • Grondines, Jocelyn
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2017


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 13p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 96th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01623319
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 17-01216
  • Files: PRP, TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 8 2016 10:22AM