Identifying Organizational and Contractual Drivers behind Subway Construction Accidents in China: A Tale of Three Cities

In most Chinese metropolitan areas, ambitious investment programs in new urban subway networks are underway. The safety record of this nation-wide program is rather disturbing. Official reports have been drafted on the technical, organizational, and regulatory causes for the accidents that have occurred, identifying the violation of safety and labor regulations. In this article, the authors will take this analysis one step further by systematically mapping behavioral patterns among involved organizations and relate them to the underlying configuration of institutional factors. This article builds on the existing debate on Rasmussen's concept “drift to safety boundaries,” problematizing the existing institutional incentives imposed on parties involved. These incentives drive them to trade off safety for the benefit of other values, thus crossing the safety boundary. Trade-offs in subway construction accidents in Hangzhou, Beijing, and Dalian, are investigated and compared, in order to identify the institutional patterns underlying them.


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  • Accession Number: 01494712
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 24 2013 3:00PM