According to a new study from the Université de Montréal Public Health Research Institute (IRSPUM), taking a bus is far safer than taking a car to your destination as well as being much safer for cyclists and pedestrians traveling along the same route.

Looking at data from the 10 most heavily-traveled bus routes in Montreal, researchers found that people traveling by car were at greater risk (four times) of injury than those taking a bus.

Likewise, when compared with bus trips, car trips were, per kilometer traveled, linked to more pedestrian injuries (four times more), more cyclist injuries (five times more) and higher numbers of fatal and severe injuries (five times more).

Researchers concluded that the reasons for the difference in modes of transportation had to do with factors such as bus drivers being professionally trained, as well as driving at slower speeds and along predictable routes, all while traveling in the right lane. Additionally, fewer buses are necessary to transport similar numbers of people.

“The fundamental point is that pedestrians, cyclists and motor-vehicle occupants are mostly injured where the speeds are highest and where there are the most vehicles, on the major arteries," said lead author Patrick Morency.

"The solution? Permanent structure to reduce speeds, and public transit," said Morency, an assistant clinical professor at IRSPUM who works at the Montreal Public Health Department.

The study is published in the Journal of Urban Health.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com