passenger

JR Stations, Blue Lights and Suicide prevention

JR Yamanote line

There was an interesting article about how East Japan Railways has installed special blue LED lights in all 29 stations of the central Yamanote loop line as a measure to reduce suicide. And Keihin Electric Express Railway Company, operating in Tokyo and Yokohama, has installed blue lights in two stations.

Six percent of all Japanese suicides, more than 2,000 per year, take place in stations by people jumping in front of trains.

There is no scientific evidence that these lights will help, although some experts are quoted as saying that blue lights have a calming effect. The cost was US$165,000.

I wonder why Japan Railways did not consider installing plants on their platforms. Plants on elevated lines would receive some natural light, and native plants would contribute to the urban ecosystem.

It would be great to see such a planted platform on even one Yamanote station, and investigate whether a live platform contributes to any decrease in what is euphemistically called “human accidents.” It seems strange that technology solutions receive quicker funding than simpler natural solutions that would have a multiplier effect in terms of benefiting all passengers and the environment.