Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

RongFang Liu

Second Advisor

Janice Rhoda Daniel

Third Advisor

Jian Yang


Along with the expansion and addition of guide way transit systems, such as light rail and subway, there came the need to compare the safety performance of each mode. The multimodal transportation systems with many different technologies, operating characteristics and diversified environments made it more difficult to compare their safety.

In order to evaluate the potential for intermodal comparison of safety performance measures, the thesis has focused on the subway and Light Rail Transit (LRT) modes at the national level. Starting with clear definitions of each safety category, the analysis utilizes mostly the National Transit Database (NTD) from recent years to estimate the impact and implications of various safety performance measures. A series of comparisons between LRT and subway on various fatality, injury and property damage categories demonstrates that accident rates may be unstable and easily distorted when the operational base is small. With increasing number of operations, the accident rate may become more predictable even if the simple numbers of accidents/incidents may still appear random.