Around the world, governments at all levels play very important roles in managing the safety of public transportation systems. Only in North America, however, do market forces (i.e., insurance and finance) play a bigger role than the public sector in both the construction and operation of public transportation systems. Here, risk management has a special meaning in both financial and legal terms. Public transportation "properties" work closely with government sponsors, insurance brokers, underwriters, and claim administrators in both managing and financing the risks. This long process involves the development of safety plans, standard compliance training, accident review, hazard analysis, risk mitigation, and legal action. Government regulation and insurance policy should be seen as two parallel tracks that together guide the safety improvement programs in rail and transit systems.
Received from the Guest Editor on July 31, 2006