Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Transportation Safety Stats From the U.K.

Well, according to an editorial in Plus Magazine (a math magazine) the United Kingdom had the following fatality rates in 1999 by mode of transportation. It's grim but interesting stuff:

(Unit: deaths per billion passenger kilometers)
Air (.02)
Water (.3)
Rail (.9)
Car (2.8)
Bicycle (41)
Pedestrian (49)
Motorcycle (112)

Passenger kilometers means the number of kilometers of travel times the number of people in the vehicle. It factors in the idea, for example, that many more people are in a train than, say, a car. Hence, we're talking about equivalent amounts of people traveling, not of vehicle motion. There are over 7,600 "level" (at-grade) crossings in the U.K. according to Network Rail.

Unfortunately, since the rail data include both at-grade and grade separated crossings, we won't be able to settle the debate about which is safer, at-grade rail or driving, today, with respect to the British case.

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