Health and safety hazards associated with subways: A review

R. R.M. Gershon, K. A. Qureshi, M. A. Barrera, M. J. Erwin, F. Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Subway systems are key components in mass transportation networks worldwide, providing rapid and affordable transportation to urban communities in 58 different countries. The benefits afforded by subway transit are numerous and mainly derived from the reduction in automobile use, thereby limiting environmental and health hazards associated with exhaust-air emissions. Additionally, by limiting congestion and providing vital transportation links within a city, subways also improve the overall quality of life of urban communities. However, to best maximize the positive impact on the urban environment, subway systems need to provide a safe and healthy environment for both passengers and subway transit workers. Periodically, safety concerns are raised, most recently in relation to the vulnerability of subways, to terrorist attacks. To examine this issue more carefully, we conducted a structured review of the literature to identify and characterize potential health and safety hazards associated with subways. A secondary goal was to identify various risk management strategies designed to minimize the risk of these hazards. This information may be helpful to urban communities, urban planners, public health specialists, and others interested in subway safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Mass Transit
  • Safety And Health
  • Subway Riders
  • Subway Transportation
  • Transit Workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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