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Politics & Current Affairs

Terrorist Attack Risk Greater For Subway/Rail Commuters

Stepped-up security measures at airports have decreased the number of terrorist-related deaths during air travel, but there's a gap in similar security for people traveling on the ground that should be taken more seriously.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

MIT management science professor Arnold Barnett will deliver a presentation next week on his study that suggests that, despite overall homeland security increases in the past 11 years, people who use subways and trains for travel are at higher risk for terrorist attack than just about anyone else. Barrett uses statistics to show that the numbers of air-travel deaths and ground-travel deaths have reversed dramatically over a period of 30 years. “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.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Obviously, the crackdown on security at airports and on planes plays a large role in the decrease of terrorist acts in the air. And Barrett does note that the overall risk to ground commuters is still relatively low over the past decade. That said, preventing rail terrorism has been much more of a challenge, and one technique that deserves greater attention involves discovering and stopping plots in the early stages.

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