They're absolutely terrified of flying, so much so they've considered strong sedatives to be able to do this. It's their only chance at escaping from under an oppressive, cruel, polity's thumb. -- Anon Guest
Social engineering can be used for evil. Case in point, The United Shareholders of New Economy. In order to stop citizens fleeing their polity, most Deregger empires simply make it too troublesome for the wrong sort to travel.
This one has spent a significant effort in making its citizens too terrified to travel. The news and media are overloaded with transit accidents, but only the transits involved in taking citizens away from The United Shareholders of New Economy. Transit to and from work is safer than one's own home.
As for the rest of the universe... Economeans are all bombarded with the images of Evil Aliens. Perverted Aliens. Disgusting Aliens. Regular Humans who have been corrupted by their wicked influence into lifestyles of pure dissipation. Rea had spent his lifetime steeped in such messages, but when it came to the choice between dissipation and slow death by unemployment, anything looked good.