<  Back to the Polytechnique Montréal portal

Traveling by bus instead of car on urban major roads: Safety benefits for vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists

Patrick Morency, Jillian Strauss, Félix Pépin, François Tessier and Jocelyn Grondines

Article (2018)

Open Acess document in PolyPublie and at official publisher
[img] Open Access to the full text of this document
Published Version
Terms of Use: Creative Commons Attribution
Download (579kB)
Show abstract
Hide abstract


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. We compared injury rates for car and city bus occupants on specific urban major roads, as well as the cyclist and pedestrian injuries associated with car and bus travel. We selected ten bus routes along major urban arterials (in Montreal, Canada). Passenger-kilometers traveled 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 also computed. The safety benefits of bus travel, defined as the number of vehicle occupant, cyclist, and pedestrian injuries saved, were estimated for each route. Overall, for all ten routes, the ratio between car and bus occupant injury rates is 3.7 (95% CI [3.4, 4.0]). The rates of pedestrian and cyclist injuries per hundred million passenger-kilometers are also significantly greater for car travel than that for bus travel: 4.1 (95% CI [3.5, 4.9]) times greater for pedestrian injuries; 5.3 (95% CI [3.8, 7.6]) times greater for cyclist injuries. Similar results were observed for fatally and severely injured vehicle occupants, cyclists, and pedestrians. At the route level, the safety benefits of bus travel increase with the difference in injury rate associated with car and bus travel but also with the amount of passenger-kilometers by bus. Results show that city bus is a safer mode than car, for vehicle occupants but also for cyclists and pedestrians traveling along these bus routes. The safety benefits of bus travel greatly vary across urban routes; this spatial variation is most likely linked to environmental factors. Understanding the safety benefits of public transit for specific transport routes is likely to provide valuable information for mobilizing city and transportation planners.

Uncontrolled Keywords

Accidents, Traffic/*statistics & numerical data; Bicycling/*statistics & numerical data; Canada; Humans; Motor Vehicles/*statistics & numerical data; Pedestrians/*statistics & numerical data; Safety/*statistics & numerical data; Transportation/*statistics & numerical data; Urban Population/*statistics & numerical data; Walking/*statistics & numerical data; *Injury rates and rate ratios; *Pedestrian and cyclist safety; *Public transit and car safety; *Road injuries

Subjects: 1000 Civil engineering > 1000 Civil engineering
1000 Civil engineering > 1003 Transportation engineering
Department: Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/5036/
Journal Title: Journal of Urban Health (vol. 95, no. 2)
Publisher: Springer
DOI: 10.1007/s11524-017-0222-6
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-017-0222-6
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2022 12:19
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2023 12:35
Cite in APA 7: Morency, P., Strauss, J., Pépin, F., Tessier, F., & Grondines, J. (2018). Traveling by bus instead of car on urban major roads: Safety benefits for vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists. Journal of Urban Health, 95(2), 196-207. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-017-0222-6


Total downloads

Downloads per month in the last year

Origin of downloads


Repository Staff Only

View Item View Item