According to CityLab, Japanese railways have been attempting to stop train station suicides throughout their metropolitan areas for some years now, but the implementation is tricky. Tokyo is currently working towards their goal of installing preventative barricades in all 243 of their stations by 2023 – but the barriers are expensive to construct, and many train stations lack the infrastructure to support the barricades.
So until a more efficient solution is used, stations are relying on the calming effects of blue light as a means of dissuading potential suicide victims.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, studied the effects of installing blue light-emitting-diode (LED) lamps on railway platforms and at railway crossings as a way of deterring suicides in 71 different stations.
Over the course of 10 years, the suicide rate at the stations plummeted by 84%.
“As blue lights are easier and less expensive to install than platform screen doors, they can be a cost-effective method for suicide prevention,” says the study’s authors.
Since the study was published, several UK train stations have implemented similar fixtures in their own facilities. In addition to suicide rates falling, the station works have also provided anecdotal evidence that there have been less incidents of vandalism and crime as well.