Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Terrorism risk greatest for subway/rail commuters

Date:
October 11, 2012
Source:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Summary:
Despite homeland security improvements since 9/11, subway and rail commuters face higher risks of terror than frequent flyers or those engaged in virtually any other activity. While successful terrorist acts against aviation fell sharply, those against subways and commuter trains surged.

Despite homeland security improvements since September 11, 2001, subway and rail commuters face higher risks of falling victim to terrorists and mass violence than frequent flyers or those engaged in virtually any other activity. And while successful criminal and terrorist acts against aviation have fallen sharply, those against subways and commuter trains have surged. These are among the findings of a new study by Arnold Barnett, George Eastman Professor of Management Science at MIT's Sloan School of Management, who will deliver a presentation titled "Has Terror Gone to Ground?" at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix on October 15.

Related Articles


Barnett found that during the period 1982-91 deliberate acts of malice caused 1,327 deaths worldwide among air travelers, but none on subways/commuter trains. But between 2002-11, the pattern reversed: there were 203 aviation deaths and 804 among subway/rail commuters.

Further statistics depict the implications of this reversal. A recent subway/rail commuter in the Developed World has faced twice the annual death risk of a frequent flyer, while the risk per mile traveled by subway/commuter rail was ten times as high as by air. Criminal and terrorist acts account for about 8% of the overall death risk of air travel, but they account for 88% of the mortality risk on subways and commuter railroads.

Barnett contends that this reversal does not imply that aviation security measures are less necessary; instead, it might suggest that the success of such measures has displaced criminal/terrorist activity to other venues like commuter rail systems.

Barnett paid special attention to the events on 9/11. He noted that the number of air passengers killed on that day -- at 232 -- was similar to the death tolls in later bombings on the commuter rail systems of Madrid and Mumbai, and in an arson attack on a South Korean subway. What made 9/11 singularly horrible was the enormous death toll on the ground (2,700 killed).

Subsequent measures to secure airline cockpits may be the reason that there have been no further attacks that used commercial airlines as weapons. Indeed, Barnett notes, the most publicized of the recent air-terror plots -- the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the liquid-explosives plot, the ink-cartridge bombs -- have reverted to trying to blow up airplanes, the primary tactic that was used before 9/11 with greater success.

Barnett notes that even among subway/rail commuters, the risk of falling victim to terrorism or mass violence was very low in the last decade, at approximately 1 in 2 million per year. But because successful terrorism has such far-reaching consequences, Barnett argues, the prevention of rail terrorism warrants high priority. Stopping attackers once they reach stations and trains has proved difficult, so the most realistic way to prevent attacks might be to uncover and thwart terror plots at earlier stages. It was good intelligence work that averted a planned 2009 attack on the New York subway, not security measures at Times Square or Grand Central Terminal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Terrorism risk greatest for subway/rail commuters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121011141445.htm>.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. (2012, October 11). Terrorism risk greatest for subway/rail commuters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121011141445.htm
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "Terrorism risk greatest for subway/rail commuters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121011141445.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First U.S.-Based Bitcoin Exchange Goes Live

First U.S.-Based Bitcoin Exchange Goes Live

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) — Known as Coinbase, the startup exchange debuted Monday morning, initially causing a spike in bitcoin’s value. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama's Wildlife Plan Renews Alaska Drilling Debate

Obama's Wildlife Plan Renews Alaska Drilling Debate

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) — President Obama&apos;s proposal aims to protect more land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but so far, all that&apos;s materialized is a war of words. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) — The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins