Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Mufi’s train might have double the fatalities of light rail, not less

by Larry Geller

Thanks to Ian Lind for doing the research on comparative accident rates for different transit systems. It’s nice to set propaganda straight sometimes. The claims that we’d be putting our lives at risk if the AIA plan succeeds are bogus, I felt, but Ian did the research that I think shows it.

You’ll find the details, links and a chart in his article, along with a discussion about paid blogging for Mufi’s rail and the distortions that it brings.

Bottom line, if I interpret the data correctly, is that a grade-level system will not be as accident prone as rail rapid transit (which is the category I think the Mufi system falls under).

In fact, Mufi’s train is twice (2x) as likely to result in fatalities as a grade-level system, according to the chart.

It’s not related to the comparison, but you probably know that perhaps the strongest group of actual rail opponents are those folks who would instead put a smelly, noisy, ugly highway up in the sky instead of the noisy, ugly train up in the sky (a pox on both their houses!, with apologies to Shakespeare). The same chart shows that highway fatalities are 3.86x, or almost four times (4x) higher than light rail.

Those numbers are all given in the chart on Ian’s website as per 100 million transit passengers or vehicle occupants.


Did you read Carlson's rebuttal?

The chart in Lind's post does not compare at-grade to elevated systems. Rather, the chart compares differing technologies of transit. I would not be surprised if ALL the data in that chart (buses, cars, trains, etc.) were measuring at-grade systems. Does it even make sense that elevated systems would have MORE accidents? Not to me. What are elevated systems going to hit up there, and, more importantly, since we're talking comparisons, what risks are up there that are not ALSO found (in larger numbers) at-grade?

At-grade systems may be safer than elevated systems---I happen to doubt it, but that's not my point. My point (and Carlson's point) is that one can't make an accurate judgment by looking at the table Lind provides.

And nobody is paying me to say it. Heh.

No, I didn't catch up to Carlson's rebuttal yet, though I expected there would be one.

What you say actually makes sense. I don't know. I guess a good place to start understanding this better would be to go read the rebuttal.

Purposeful rejection of manic capitalism and the insane commuter lifestyle that (literally) propels it could diminish, if not eliminate, Oahu's traffic congestion. Nothing short of that will have a sufficiently significant impact on this tiny but densely over-populated land mass.

Speaking of which, Honolulu is only #2. We try harder, yeah?

Honolulu hasn't taken any of the traffic mitigation measures (e.g., flextime) that cities try in order to reduce traffic congestion.

Forget all the death and injury statistics from everywhere else. Not that relevant.

Instead, look at anything on this island that is city- or state-operated. Aside from those very nice koa-furnished offices for the biggies, and the ever-shiny new SUVs we give them every year, you will see poor maintenance: roads, buildings, beach parks, airports, schools, universities, etc etc etc.

Anything they get their hands on turns to doodoo. And it doesn't help that much of the population enjoys vandalizing stuff since there's little police interference.

Any Honolulu rail system -- elevated, surface, underground, whatever -- will be maintained and operated like all the other stuff. The result will be smoking, twisted metal and piles of corpses.

The political culture here is focused on awarding big contracts and building big stuff. That's why every mayor and governor retires as a multimillionaire. There is no percentage in responsible maintenance of public property for these clowns, so it doesn't happen. Better to let it fall apart so you can build another one in 10 years and get even more kickbacks, gifts, bribes, etc.

Riding the train will be like playing Russian roulette.

Your reporting of accidents is using a flawed analysis. the chart makes no distinction between elevated and at-grade. I like your stories but please be more informed before you jump in from of an at-grade train!

That point has been made also by a previous commenter.

I'm not planning to jump in front of any train in the near future, hope you will avoid jumping onto tracks etc.

I LOVE the "a pox on both their houses!" comment

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