“The existing infrastructure for motor vehicles simply cannot sustain the sheer number of vehicles expected to be on the road in the coming years,” he told the audience. “Our roadmap has to include not only smarter cars, but smarter roads and smarter cities.”
The average car is stationary 96% of the time. That’s a fairly consistent finding around the world, including in Australia. A car is typically parked at home 80% of the time, parked elsewhere 16% of the time, and on the move just 4% of the time. And that doesn’t include the increasing time we spend at a standstill in traffic.
Bill Ford, executive chair of the Ford Motor Company, says we’re heading for “global gridlock”. And he’s not alone in saying we cannot simply keep adding more cars to our roads.
While the political divide does seem to be city vs rural so maybe the idea is to capture more of the suburban mind set. But I see just one problem, few seem to be doing the metropolitan area as a economic engine well. We are on the cutting edge of a lot of new concepts like complete streets which seem to be taken as a war on cars when really they are trying to get the streets to work well for everyone, including cars. Basically every thing we should be doing is fought tooth and nail because it does not continue old fashion ideals that the car is king so everyone should get a car. And that's just one issue that needs to be settled before a metropolitan party could become main stream.
More people drove in 2016 than in 2015, according to new data released this week by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Alongside that increase was a disproportionately high rise in pedestrian fatalities — a trend that the authors attribute to increases in distracted driving and distracted walking.
This analysis is wrongheaded, and blames individuals for what is a systemic problem. The way we design and build streets is a fundamental part of whether people can walk safely along a road or whether they are at risk for being struck and killed. Street design does not seem to be a priority for GHSA — but it should be.
We know street design is part of this problem because there are patterns to where fatal collisions occur. Heat maps of pedestrian fatalities show that pedestrians are struck and killed by cars at the same intersections and along the same corridors over and over again. Are people using cell phones more in these locations? I doubt it. Street design plays a clear role.
And if street design is part of the problem it needs to be part of the solution. Instead of blaming pedestrians, GHSA would do better to explore how state highway departments — the groups they represent — can make streets safer for everyone from the ground up.
Reducing pedestrian fatalities needs a “yes and” approach. Should we reduce distracted driving? Yes. Should we reduce drunk driving? Yes. We should also change the way we design and build streets to protect people from fast-moving cars. Until that happens, it should surprise no one that pedestrian fatalities continue. This problem is bigger than our phones.
Bicyclists break traffic laws, but they do so at a lower rate than either drivers or pedestrians. It would be safe to say that almost 100 percent of roadway users break traffic laws. Yet the general public’s perception of lawbreaking behavior by drivers and bicyclists is vastly different—at least if you listen to talk radio or read the comments section to online news stories.
In an article in the Journal of Transport and Land Use, Marshall concludes that while almost 100 percent of road users are scofflaws, regardless of mode, the reasons for lawbreaking differ. Drivers and pedestrians generally report that they are saving time. Saving time came in third as a reason for bicyclists, but personal safety was the top reason, with saving energy as second. Visibility to other road users was the fourth place answer.
All road users feel they are acting safely, and statistically they are. Even drivers who speed or run red lights have a small risk of a crash, even with decades of driving. However, if a fatal crash does happen, there is a 50 percent chance the fatality will be an innocent party. This is in contrast to the chances of an innocent-party fatality due to a scofflaw bicyclist, which is extremely rare.
WASHINGTON — Pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year — the highest total in more than two decades, according to an analysis of preliminary state data released Thursday.
Someone struck by a large sports utility vehicle is more than twice as likely to die as someone hit by a saloon car travelling at the same speed. The finding by American researchers will add further weight to calls for SUVs sporty vehicles with a high, blunt-fronted body atop a broad chassis to be made safer.
In March, Jeffrey Runge, the head of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), called on the automobile industry to make SUVs safer (New Scientist print edition, 8 March).
Their high centre of gravity makes them more likely to roll over. According to the NHTSA, 36 per cent of fatal SUV crashes in the US in 1998 involved a rollover, compared with only 15 per cent in cars.