Leon N. Moses Distinguished Lecture in Transportation

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 – 7:30 pm

"The Economics of Transportation Safety"

Ian P. Savage


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Video of Presentation:

Transportation incidents account for approximately two in every five “unintentional injury” deaths in the United States.  The average annual death toll in the first decade of this century exceeded 43,000.  In this lecture, Ian Savage reflects on the role of economists in understanding the “transportation safety problem” and the ways in which economic insights can mitigate the risks.  While economists may have a rather subsidiary role compared with that of engineers, psychologists and physicians, the insights that economists bring help to productively frame the public debate on this controversial topic.

Questions that will be addressed include:

  • How much safety do transportation users want, given that the prevention of incidents is costly?
  • Do all users desire the same level of safety? 
  • Why might the market fail to provide some or all users with the safety that they desire?  
  • How are the interests of bystanders taken into account? 
  • Is intervention in the safety market warranted?
  • Why are some types of interventions better than others? 

The lecture highlights the considerable limitations of our knowledge, and the extensive potential for further research.

Biography:  Ian Savage has been a member of the faculty of both the Department of Economics and the Transportation Center at Northwestern University since 1986.  His research has been concentrated in two areas: urban public transportation, and transportation safety. He has published widely on the economics of transit finances and operations. During the past twenty-five years, he has conducted research into the safety performance, and the effectiveness of safety regulations, in most modes of transportation with particular emphasis on the trucking and railroad industries. 


The Leon N. Moses Distinguished Lecture in Transportation is named in honor of noted transportation economist  and former director of the Transportation Center, Emeritus Professor, Leon N. Moses

Dr. Moses passed away on Oct. 12, 2013.