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Archive for July 7th, 2009

Traffic Safety Film of the Week

Well, speaking of road factors and human factors and all that, here’s this campaign from New Zealand.

(thanks Warren)

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Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 4:00 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
1 Comment. Click here to leave a comment.

A Few Thoughts About ‘On a Crash Course,’ by Miller & Zaloshnja

I’ve finally gotten around to reading ‘On a Crash Course,’ a report by Ted Miller and Eduard Zaloshnja that’s been getting a lot of play in the media. As the Post summarizes:

Bad highway design and conditions are a factor in more than half the fatal crashes in the United States, contributing to more deaths than speeding, drunken driving or failure to use seat belts, according to Ted R. Miller, who co-wrote the 18-month study released yesterday.

Road-related conditions were a factor in 22,000 fatalities and cost $217.5 billion each year, the study concludes. By comparison, Miller said, similar crashes where alcohol was a factor cost $130 billion, speeding cost $97 billion and failure to wear a seat belt caused losses of $60 billion.

Despite being sponsored by a consortium of road-building concerns, who naturally have a vested interest in highway improvements, there are some interesting and commendable points raised, or at least implied. The first is, given that road crashes bear a larger societal cost than congestion, we should be focusing whatever stimulus dollars (too many, in my opinion) are going to roads on indeed bringing up deficient roadways to modern safety standards, rather than building new roads. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.

Another thing that caught my eye was the high figure of deaths attributed to roadway condition: “Roadway condition is a contributing factor in more than half—52.7 percent—of the nearly 42,000 American deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes each year and 38 percent of the non-fatal injuries. In terms of crash outcome severity, it is the single most lethal contributing factor—greater than speeding, alcohol or non-use of seat belts.”

This surprised me, as any number of previous studies, including the famous (and much more comprehensive) Indiana Tri-Level Study, as pictured below, paint a different picture of causality.


(more…)

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Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 3:46 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Michael Jackson Closures

As I noted in Traffic the nexus of celebrity and L.A.’s car culture often has CALTRANS scrambling to keep up. Via the CHP incident report page, here’s a traffic-eye view of the Michael Jackson memorial service:

Incident: 0347 Type: Traffic Advisory Location: MICHAEL JACKSON CLOSURES ThomasBrothers: 563 4H info as of: 7/7/2009 11:07:12 AM
ADDITIONAL DETAILS
10:01AM OPEN **** EB AND WB SR-134 FOREST LAWN OFF RAMPS
7:47AM EB SR-134 FOREST LAWN OFF RAMP **** NOW CLOSED
7:05AM WB I-10 PICO OFF RAMP CLOSED ****
7:05AM SB I-110 OLYMPIC OFF RAMP CLOSED ****
7:05AM NB I-110 PICO OFF RAMP CLOSED ****
6:56AM WB SR-134 AT FOREST LAWN OFF RAMP **** NOW CLOSED
6:53AM NB AND SB I-110 4TH ST OFF RAMPS ARE CLOSED ****
6:26AM PER CALTRANS ** EB AND WB SR-134 FOREST LAWN OFF RAMPS WILL BE CLOSED @ 0700 HRS
RESPONDING OFFICERS STATUS
6:26AM CHP Unit On Scene

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Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 12:14 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Influence Pedal-ing

I’m not sure if the Times was trying to start its own Daily Telegraph style expenses-gate tempest with this filament thin story in today’s paper about DOT commish Sadik-Khan’s trips to transportation conferences, paid for by such nefarious interests as “walk and bike promotion.” Tammany Jane!

This sort of thing goes on all the time, of course, with not much comment — and usually, it’s the “road gang” paying the much, much bigger bills and haunting the halls of power — note this story, for example, from Georgia, about a construction contractor who essentially got their commish fired.

I’m sure we could drum up many other examples; but when the pedestrian-cyclist complex begins flexing its substantial muscles, sending public servants to foreign shores to soak up dangerous ideas and influences of the non-motorized variety, fire up the outrage!

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Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 10:01 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
1 Comment. Click here to leave a comment.

Cincinnati Across the Hudson

This video, from the indispensable Streetfilms and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, notes that the equivalent of Cincinnati commutes by bus every day into New York City; if all those bus riders chose to drive, traffic levels would be 84% higher.

On a similar note, Felix Salmon, running through Charles Komanoff’s “Balanced Transportation Analyzer,” notes:

After crunching the numbers, he calculates that on a weekday, the average car driven into Manhattan south of 60th Street causes a total of 3.26 hours of delays to everybody else. (At weekends, the equivalent number is just over 2 hours.) No one car is likely to suffer excess delays of more than a few seconds, of course, but if you add up all those seconds for the thousands of affected cars and trucks, it comes to a significant amount of time.

Many of those hours are very valuable things, especially when you consider big trucks, staffed with two or three professionals, just idling in traffic. Komanoff calculates (check out the “Value of Time” tab) that the average vehicle has 1.97 people in it, and that the average value of an hour of saved vehicle time south of 60th Street in Manhattan on a weekday is $48.89. Which means, basically, that driving a car into Manhattan on a weekday causes about $160 of negative externalities to everybody else.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 9:50 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

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U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

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