Tuesday, September 06 2016 @ 12:18 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
[B' Spokes: Alternate headline: Only you can prevent traffic fatalities (because no one else understands what's going on.)]
By Jen Kinney, Next city
The U.S. Department of Transportation is asking for big data help after 2015 numbers released this week showed that traffic deaths were up 7.2 percent last year, the largest annual increase in half a century. Reversing a recent historical trend that saw fatalities decreasing every year, 35,092 people died while walking, biking and driving on U.S. streets in 2015. The department released the data three months early, along with a call to action, asking nonprofits, tech companies and citizens to help interpret the data and use it to prevent future deaths.
“Focusing on one year’s count ignores that disproportionately high numbers of people have been dying on U.S. streets every year for decades,” said Executive Director Linda Bailey. “Even comparing against our safest year in recent history, 2010, the U.S. traffic fatality rate was almost double that of our industrialized peers.”
NACTO also published its own call to action of sorts — aimed at state and federal government. “Federal and state standards incentivize building wide streets that allow cars to go fast but create dangerous conditions for everyone,” reads the statement. “Good street design can make sure that a mistake or a distraction does not result in a death. Cities must redesign their streets to save lives, and they need to be supported by their state and federal governments as they do so.”
[B' Spokes: It amazes me how much attention the impatient driver gets in road designs and other aspects of our drive till you die culture. For example it is a known fact that allowing right on red is hazardous for pedestrains. So what do we do? Tell pedestrains that they have to cross using the most dangerous part of the road with the most conflicts and absolutely nothing geared for the impatient drivers. Or look at it this way, how much time are we saving drivers by allowing this? Unless most are traveling in circles (keep doing a right on red) absolutely none.
For every driver who saves time by jumping the red light by turning there are more drivers down stream that can't turn in/out of shopping centers or minor streets because of the traffic diarrhea. What else would you call the dribble of traffic that is the result? And what's the result of all the at time savings? Just to get at the next red light sooner with a longer wait , and that's the best we can say. We've put pedestrains lives at risk, delayed other drivers their proper place in line of traffic, and maybe just maybe if we can create enough traffic diarrhea they be so delayed that they well begin to take chances to get moving.
IMHO this is a major issue now. How do you safely make a left turn? Wait for a break in traffic and then turn. But what if we set things up so there is no break in traffic? People well start to take chances and "shoot the gap". Like this is going to improve safety? :/ And the secondonary reason to be concerned, we are rewarding impatience. It's like saying "Even the government thinks stopping at red lights is a waste of time. So do your part and never wait at a red light unless you absolutely have to." Then let's start adding a lot of high speed turn lanes and we get "The government wants you to do your part and never slow down, never stop to keep that traffic moving." Now let's add pedestrians into the mix and tell them "Look what we created for you to cross the street." It's not even close to being a safe place to cross the street.
My assertion is that more traffic means a increasingly amount of traffic diarrhea so more people are taking chances to make their turns. And adding pedestrians into this mix is naturally going to result in more fatalities. A simple solution is rid of right on red, the benefits are dubious at bestand the hazards are far greater than they are letting on. ]