Rail Transit Safety Enhancements: Cost/Benefit and Risk Analysis

Focus Area



Air Quality, Environmental Process






2-3 years

Research Idea Scope

The proposed research need is a decision tool for rail transit executives to use when considering rail transit safety enhancements.  This would most likely require a cost/benefit and risk analysis which compares the cost associated with rail transit incidents to the financial outlays required to eliminate or mitigate the risk of their occurrence.

Urgency and Payoff

Rail transit executives have difficulty supporting expenditures on safety enhancements due to the difficulty in measuring their long term benefit.  Rather than taking a proactive approach, far too often these enhancements are only implemented following urging by the public and media in response to a serious incident or near miss.  

As the budgets of transit agencies become more and more contrained, investments in safety enhancements are some of the first items to be eliminated. This research would make a convincing case that over the course of their lifecycle, investing in these enhancements will actually reduce the total financial outlays of the agency. 

Suggested By

Mike Flood, Washington State Department of Transportation, 206-464-1291

[email protected]