Is Public Transportation Safer Compared to Driving?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Not only does it provide traffic safety but it also increases air quality overall and gives the community an inexpensive mode of travel. In addition, public transportation is associated with reduced crash rates and less severe injuries. A study by the American Public Transportation Association reported that using public transport reduces accident risk by 90 percent. 

Public transportation safety is 10 times greater per mile than traveling alone in a motor vehicle. This is because it registers less than 10 percent of the injury or fatality rate of car transport per mile. While auto manufacturers’ safety protection device usage has increased in the last 10 years, public transportation still has a lower casualty rate than what is seen when using a private vehicle.  

Although taking a car to work is the norm for many people, in larger cities and even smaller towns, commuters are seeing the benefits of taking public transportation. 

Stress Is a Big Part of the Problem When You Drive

Stress can affect us in more ways than just making us short-tempered. It can affect our cardiovascular health and make it harder for us to function seamlessly. Eliminating stress is one of the goals of many exercise regimens from yoga to running.

Driving has many stressors such as:

  • Being careful to avoid an accident on the road
  • Dealing with traffic congestion
  • Locating a parking space 
  • Maintaining an automobile
  • The expense of operating an automobile
  • Worry over reducing one’s carbon footprint

Most of this is eliminated if public transportation is used.

How Safe Is Public Transportation Statistically?

Studies have shown that public transport reduces the risk of being in a car accident by roughly 90 percent. According to The National Safety Council, over 46,000 people nationwide died in car accidents in 2021. Overall, the majority of fatalities were in cars and light trucks. While the number of motorcycle crashes was much less than car accidents, the fatality rate is close to 30 percent higher. Riding a motorcycle is the most dangerous way to travel. 

Alternatively, public transportation offers a safe way to travel. The number of people who die in train and bus wrecks is substantially lower. 

How Safe Are the Different Modes of Transportation?

Airplane travel is known to be the safest mode of transportation. This is followed by buses and trains. Some may believe this is wrong because accidents in the air or traveling by bus and train, for that matter, seem always to make the news. Because of this, many people swear off flying. However, regarding safety, flying on commercial flights is still the best mode of transportation.

Train Travel in the United States

Traveling by train in terms of safety comes in third directly behind buses and planes. When a train accident occurs, it seems all the news services pick it up. However, if you think about it, it is a fact that they rarely happen and are newsworthy as compared to car crashes.  The vast majority of train accidents involve pedestrians who are walking along the tracks or motorists who try to beat the locomotive or ignore signals. 

Traveling by Airplane

The rarity of commercial airplane crashes makes it newsworthy when an accident happens. However, such accidents are rare. Commercial airlines in the United States are the safest in the world based on the number of accidental crashes.  Roughly .006 fatalities for every billion miles of air travel are reported, mostly among small, light planes. Six hundred and forty-six deaths were recorded in the United States in the decade between 2000 and 2009, and 549 of them were in private planes.

Boat Travel Is Safe

Travel by boat has become considerably safer in the past 10 years and is now considered to have a high safety profile. Today, nine out of 10 deaths occur in recreational boats. Ferries, cruise ships and others are second to trains in terms of safety. During the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, cruise ship protocols were implicated in transmitting the disease to passengers. In response to the outbreaks, the cruise lines developed protocols for cleaning and checking passengers as they boarded the ships to prevent this from happening again.

Car Safety on the Road

Even if people travel aboard airlines, trains or buses often, chances are they use their cars daily. The sheer number of vehicles on the road compounded by driver error leads to approximately six million auto accidents annually. Fatalities occur in roughly every 100 accidents. Fortunately, increased safety devices and other protocols have reduced the risk in the past several decades. 


This high-risk form of travel accounts for many injuries and deaths. It is considered a dangerous form of transportation since riders are exposed and vulnerable, and car and truck drivers are often oblivious to their presence.