Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Responsibility, scale and the valuation of rail safety

Covey, J; Robinson, A; Jones-Lee, M; Loomes, G


A Robinson

M Jones-Lee

G Loomes


We report the results of two stated-preference surveys (one conducted using face-to-face interviews, the other via the internet) which examined how the values people place on preventing fatalities from rail accidents are affected by the extent to which victims are responsible for their death, and the scale of the accident. The results showed that respondents placed a premium on preventing deaths which involved a failure of the rail system, rather than the irresponsible behaviour of an adult victim, though this differential was less marked when the person behaving irresponsibly was a child, rather than an adult. However, the prevention of a death in a multiple-fatality accident was not accorded a significantly higher value than the prevention of death in the single-fatality case. As far as the overall results are concerned, there was an encouragingly close correspondence between the findings of the face-to-face and internet surveys.


Covey, J., Robinson, A., Jones-Lee, M., & Loomes, G. (2010). Responsibility, scale and the valuation of rail safety. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 40(1), 85-108.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2010
Deposit Date Nov 8, 2012
Journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty
Print ISSN 0895-5646
Electronic ISSN 1573-0476
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 1
Pages 85-108
Keywords Value of statistical life (VSL), Context effects, Risk characteristics, Railway safety, Person trade-off.