Railway safety in Tokyo (a lesson for New York)

A great thing about living in Tokyo is that trains can take you anywhere, quickly and conveniently.

A bad thing about living in Tokyo is that if you fall off the station platform, a train can kill you.

Those two statements may sound like a pair of eternal truths, but the second one is gradually becoming less true as safety barriers are installed along platforms in more and more stations.

Earlier this year, a good friend of mine was hit by a train in New York. Fortunately, he survived. When I went to visit him, I read in the New York Daily News that the Big Apple was considering installing its own safety barriers. But there was some resistance to the idea, not the least of which came from the Daily News itself.

Resistance to the idea of safety barriers seems unfounded. It reminds me of the resistance that once existed to the idea of wearing seatbelts in cars, and I’m sure that in the future people will look back on it as being just as silly.

I made the video at the top of this post in an effort to shed some light on the issue. I start by visiting the sites of a few notable accidents in Tokyo, and then demonstrate how the safety barriers operate.

Production note: A couple of scenes shot at train stations include background noise, so I added subtitles. In future efforts, I’ll either look for quieter spots or buy a quality microphone.

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3 Responses to “Railway safety in Tokyo (a lesson for New York)”

  1. Locohama (@Locohama) Says:

    Man, Tom, well done! great video response to a serious issue! Being a New Yorker myself, I have heard or been around people either getting pushed by mentally ill people or had accidentally fallen on the tracks, fainting from the heat or pushed on overcrowded platforms. This seems like a common sense solution. As for the Daily News, it’s a tabloid that, even about a decade ago when I last lived in NY, was rapidly approaching having less value than the paper it’s printed on. Anyway, I learned a lot watching this video so thanks again!

  2. Mart Says:

    Resistance to the idea of safety barriers is ridiculous. Take a look at theme parks. One doesn’t think that safety barriers are out of place on theme park rides, do they?
    People are creatures of habit and just love to resist, complain, moan and groan but they’ll get used to it eventually.

    I couldn’t see the video because our IT blocks it to save on bandwidth but kudos to you sir!

  3. Steve Taylor Says:

    Excellent job, Tom. I wish they’d install the barriers in London, as announcements concerning a “person on the track” seem to be more common than I thought it would be.
    Steve Taylor

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