Friday, December 28, 2012

Aren't Subway Deaths Preventable?

Reports this morning of another fatality on the New York City subway tracks.

An unknown female, reportedly in her 20's wearing Nike's and a ski jacket was seen running from the scene shortly after a man was pushed in front of an oncoming subway train. The man died from his injuries. This follows the death of Ki-Suck Han under the same circumstances on December the 3rd.

If we agree that these sort of acts must be prevented, what kind of measures would it take?

I think a few common sense changes to current subway operating procedures could make a huge difference.

#1) Slower approach speeds to all stations - Require each train to slow to a speed of 5 mph as they approach every station along the route. Conceivably, someone could still be pushed into the path at the very last moment, but at 5 mph, the required stopping distance for these cars would be far less than what it may be now with higher speeds involved. Even if someone was pushed into the tracks in this situation, with a little luck, they might simply be able to out-run the train until it either stopped or the victim was able to climb to safety.

#2) Keep all boarding passengers away from the edge of the boarding platform - if no one is permitted to be near the edge, then that would also prevent people from getting shoved into the tracks below.

Yes, both ideas will slow travel down, but at this point, its by far the lesser of two evils...


1 comment:

  1. Some subway systems around the world are actually being retrofitted with safety systems to cut down on push-deaths (and accidents and suicides). So why not New York City? Last year, 146 people were struck by subway trains in New York City. Of those, 47 were killed. That amounts to one accident every 2.5 days, many of which would conceivably have been prevented by a feature now widely used around the world.