The next installment in our ongoing examination of the City's public data takes a close look at where subway fatalities and train-related injuries most commonly occur. The data, obtained from the MTA through New York State's Freedom of Information Law, details every incident involving a subway train that led to either injury or fatality from 2010-2012 (the most recent year for which data is available). Click each station on the map to see details from each incident and a description of what happened.
N.B.: In response to our FOIL request, the MTA provided us with sometimes incomplete descriptions of the incidents, but even in their fragmented form, they offer harrowing details about the nature of the injuries.
It's interesting to see how a relatively small number of stations make up a large percentage of the suicides and accidents. The worst stations for injuries and fatalities, as would be expected, are some of the most-used: 42nd Street Port Authority and Union Square each had over 10 incidents. Penn Station and Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center also ranked highly, with 7 and 8 incidents a piece, respectively.
One stand-out from the pack is Spring Street, which ranked only 118th on the most-used station list last year, but cracked our top-twenty subway incident list, with four incidents (three were fatalities). After what appeared to be a spike in subway-related deaths last year, the MTA announced that it was considering testing platform sliding doors at some of the deadliest stations. The problem is that with so many different types of stations and trains, such a safety measure will be extremely costly to implement city-wide.
Manhattan stations generally see more fatalities and injuries than outer boroughs, but some Brooklyn stations do stand out for morbidity: Franklin Avenue - Fulton Street saw three incidents, one stemming from an intoxicated passenger. Nearby Prospect Park B/Q/S station had four incidents, including one in which an "intoxicated customer fell into the side of the train as it was leaving the station."
While most stations in the city see their fair share of suicides and injuries, taken in toto the numbers could be far worse: the data from the map covers three years of incidents. Most stations average less than one injury or fatality per year. To be sure, even one fatality or serious injury is too many, but considering how many millions of people use the system's 450-plus stations, the overall safety record is still not nearly as bad as it could be.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.