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Suicide barriers recommended for SkyTrain: transportation expert

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Cities like Las Vegas, Beijing and Tokyo all have them and now Toronto is looking at suicide barriers on its subway system.

Provincial coroner Barb McLintock says a lot of factors need to be studied before considering them.

“All I can say really is that we’re always interested in any ideas that other people have that might prevent death and we look at things from all sorts of places across Canada, America, and around the world.”

She says the design of SkyTrain stations and death rates should be investigated as well as doing an overall cost benefit analysis.

“We’d have to look at everything from what are our [death] rates, where do they happen, what would the design be different there or here, there’s too much to come into play before I can even suggest if it is a good idea here.”

Without looking at numbers, she says SkyTrain related suicides don’t happen that often but aren’t unique.
SFU Transportation expert Anthony Perl thinks they are a good idea and points out how in many places in Asia such as in Taipei, Taiwan the safety features don’t cost anything.

“So they look at it as a revenue generator opportunity. People are going to be staring at those doors waiting for them to open and why not put some advertising on it and generate money out of it. We don’t have to think of this as a cost. Other places can show us that you can do it increase safety and reduce the cost of the system by generating revenue.”

Ontario taxpayers would have to spend roughly a billion dollars for the system-wide safety features.

TransLink was unable to comment Monday.