How Safe Are Trains?

Travel Safety

In response to the tragic train crash in Spain, Caitlin Dewey reviews data on train safety and concludes that trains “remain one of the safest ways to travel in Europe.” Waldman adds that “train travel and air travel are both substantially safer than road travel”:

The real killer, though, is motorcycles. A doctor once told me that medical professionals sometimes call them “donorcycles,” since they produce so many organ donors. I tried without success to find one source that gave comparable data on miles traveled per fatality for all different kinds of U.S. travel, but I did come across this report from the European Union from 2001/2002, which gives some pretty striking numbers. …

Even though these aren’t the latest numbers, you get the idea. What jumps out is that the individual means of transportation are the least safe, and the communal ones are the safest. Emotionally, though, we feel more safe when we feel that we, and not somebody else or an automated system, is in control.