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Road design, safety and Vision Zero
#1
Further to all this discussion, the de facto acceptable levels of injury and death depend on the activity. For example, if any kid dies near a school bus, then clearly school bus safety was insufficient and must be improved. But if a kid dies due to being hit by a car, even in a location which is obviously designed in a grossly unsafe way (e.g., sidewalk separated from 80km/h traffic by nothing more than a normal curb), that’s just too bad. There is a similar double standard for public transportation as well, especially rail-based.

Of course it doesn’t help that some of our “safety” rules are actually disconnected from safety. I heard of a construction company that was destroyed because an incident on a neighbouring construction site killed 3 of its workers who were on break having lunch. Even though it was not a work-related injury (if the flying concrete or whatever it was had gone in a different direction, it would have killed somebody on the street instead of somebody next door; and the workers weren’t working — they were just sitting eating their lunches in a break room, not in the actual construction area), it still counted against their stats which made them un-hireable.
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#2
(05-07-2019, 07:46 PM)SammyOES Wrote: Your analogies are wrong.  I hate to break it to you but we do accept tainted water in the same way we accept car accidents.  And we accept people dying in fires and people dying from lack of healthcare intervention.  And we even accept bridges collapsing.  Of course all of this is if you use ‘accept’ to mean we know these things are going to happen because guaranteeing their prevention isn’t practical or possible.

 So we set rules for driving that are a trade off between safety and cost/convenience/etc.  And we set rules for inspecting water that is a trade off between safety and cost/convenience/etc.  And we set building codes that are a trade off between safety and cost/convenience/etc.  And we set rules around how healthcare is delivered and what procedures are covered for people that is a trade off between safety and cost/convenience/etc.

And in all cases we know the rules will fail us some percentage of the time.

Edit: I mean, I’d just love to hear how you think our transportation systems should work where don’t have to accept that people will die.  Hell, even the LRT is almost certainly going to kill someone at some point.  What rules do you think we should have for the 401?  Should it be closed and driving outlawed?  What speed limits will our trains have (since faster trains mean more people will die too)?  Like how do you think our society could even function without rules that are going to kill some people?

It sounds like you don't know how engineering works. When a bridge collapses, the cause is investigated, and policies implemented to ensure it does not occur again.  Just because engineers are human and not perfect, does not mean that we accept failure, it simply means that we learn from it.

We don't learn from failure in our traffic system, hell, we don't even consider it a failure, people dying is part of the expected outcome.  No modern bridge has ever been constructed with the expectation that it will collapse any percentage of the time, yet we construct intersections with the expectation that it will kill x people per year.

Airplanes are a more direct comparison.  Yes, airplanes crash.  When they do, we investigate why and how, and then eliminate the possibility, either through design changes, policy changes, any number of other changes.  We do not accept that any crash is inevitable or unavoidable.  And the "inconvenience" isn't a concern either. When the 787 MAX was determined to be defective, they were removed from service.  It was inconvenience, many people were temporarily stranded, large companies suffered substantial losses.  But we chose to do it because the idea of an airplane crashing is intolerable.  Yet on our roads, we have the equivalent of a fully loaded 747 crashing every single week, and we don't even care.

This absolutist belief that we must accept failure, because anything else is impossible is not shared by any engineering discipline except traffic engineering.
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#3
Accidents and traffic deaths are investigated. All the time. And studies are done (you linked one!). And improvements to cars and roads and regulations are constantly made. But it’s entirely obvious that the model for bridge investigations or plane crashes is prohibitively expensive for individual car accidents.

It’s the same thing with healthcare. We don’t investigate every death or mistake made in healthcare. That would be an insane waste of resources with very fast diminishing returns.

Tainted water isn’t always prevented or investigated either. It’s not just about limits of contaminants but about things like how often water systems need to be inspected. Rules around private wells. When boil water advisories are needed. Etc.

Aircraft accidents are still the same. It’s much easier to investigate individual commercial plane crashes because there are way fewer of them than car crashes and the cost per crash is significantly higher. But the recommendations that come out are just more trade offs. Never does anyone think their report is the one that will stop people from dying ever again.

And you still seem to think that there’s way more certainty in these things than there actually is. If you really believe that a bridge collapse results in that type of failure never happening again, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
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#4
Dan, I also love how you avoided my edit. How should things run? Do you want a full commercial aircraft level investigation and report for every fatality or major accident? You seem to think that an increase in the speed limit is an unacceptable decrease in safety, is the status quo ok? What changes should be made?

How do you make this work?
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#5
Dan, Vision Zero is great marketing and sounds like a good effective program. But if you believe that it’s actually a path to zero fatalities while still allowing cars to travel at speeds of 100 km/h you’re deluding yourself. There will *always* be fatal crashes if we let the majority of individuals drive and let them drive at high speeds.

You’re similarly deluded if you believe everything else is unaccepting id casualties. It’s all risk mitigation. I’ve given you obvious ones (investigating all actual deaths in healthcare). And can keep giving you more. We know crew fatigue is a major cause of plane crashes (or any form of accident). We set duty and rest limits not to maximize safety but to optimize safety while still keeping commercial aviation (and other industries) economically viable.

There’s not much point continuing down this path. I’m not sure what else I can say to make it clear that cost/benefit analysis for human life is happening everywhere.

I guess one final point I’d make is that I view the world as a very complex place with lots of trade offs. Decreasing travel time means more time with families. Doing leisure activities. Less stress. Etc. Is a change from 100 to 120 a net benefit here, who knows at this point. But I know that a world that really thought all traffic fatalities were unacceptable would be miserable in a lot of other ways.
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#6
(05-08-2019, 10:19 AM)SammyOES Wrote: Dan, Vision Zero is great marketing and sounds like a good effective program.  But if you believe that it’s actually a path to zero fatalities while still allowing cars to travel at speeds of 100 km/h you’re deluding yourself.  There will *always* be fatal crashes if we let the majority of individuals drive and let them drive at high speeds.

You’re similarly deluded if you believe everything else is unaccepting id casualties. It’s all risk mitigation.  I’ve given you obvious ones (investigating all actual deaths in healthcare).  And can keep giving you more.  We know crew fatigue is a major cause of plane crashes (or any form of accident).  We set duty and rest limits not to maximize safety but to optimize safety while still keeping commercial aviation (and other industries) economically viable.

There’s not much point continuing down this path.  I’m not sure what else I can say to make it clear that cost/benefit analysis for human life is happening everywhere.  

I guess one final point I’d make is that I view the world as a very complex place with lots of trade offs.  Decreasing travel time means more time with families.  Doing leisure activities.  Less stress. Etc.  Is a change from 100 to 120 a net benefit here, who knows at this point.  But I know that a world that really thought all traffic fatalities were unacceptable would be miserable in a lot of other ways.

Deluded, or just informed.  You go get a job as a structure engineer who offers to build a bridge that collapses x percent of the time, and see how far you get.  You're right, there doesn't seem to be any point in continuing down this path, since you've decided you're right, and that if you cannot eliminate all risk, then we have nothing to learn and there's no point in prioritizing reducing harm at all...

But hey, seems like the government agrees with you, along with most of the traffic engineering industry.

Lemme know though, which of your family members you think are worth sacrificing to get somewhere slightly faster?
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#7
(05-08-2019, 11:38 AM)SammyOES Wrote:
(05-08-2019, 10:48 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: since you've decided you're right, and that if you cannot eliminate all risk, then we have nothing to learn and there's no point in prioritizing reducing harm at all...

Lol,  this was never even close to the argument I was making.  And of course you were the one arguing the absolute.  

(05-08-2019, 10:48 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Lemme know though, which of your family members you think are worth sacrificing to get somewhere slightly faster?

I can’t roll my eyes enough at this.  This is why probability and things like expected value need to be taught more in schools.

Let me put it this way, I happily drive my family on the 401 instead of taking slower backroads because even though the backroads would be safer I value the convenience more than the extra safety the backroads would give me.

Sometimes though, I might forgo driving in the 401 or other expressways in favour of safer but slower alternatives.  Like if it’s freezing rain or blowing heavy snow at night I’d prefer risking slower accidents on city streets than taking the expressway.

Actually the back roads aren't safer, because the 401 has greater safety features, specifically it eliminates the most common fatal collisions of crossing the middle lane.

But you really are not understanding the point...especially since you're talking about expected value and probability (which I've taken in school by the way).

Just because the probability of being in an airplane crash isn't zero, doesn't mean that engineers build airplanes that they know will crash--unlike traffic engineers who build roads they know will kill people.

Why you refuse to understand this distinction, I do not understand.
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#8
As if one factor like blocking crossovers is enough for you to definitively claim one road is safer than another. You need to take into account a whole host of factors like traffic volume, typical speeds, types of drivers, road design, etc.

This is like a perfect Dan post. A crazy over simplified view of the world in whichever way you need to try to make some point you want to make.

But even if the 401 is safer (which it’s clearly not most times) are you telling me you don’t drive the most convenient route but instead maximize your time on the highway to maximize your safety? You should build a new gps device that instead of routing by time taken routes by overall safety! I’m sure it’ll be a big hit.
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#9
(05-10-2019, 01:26 PM)SammyOES Wrote: As if one factor like blocking crossovers is enough for you to definitively claim one road is safer than another.  You need to take into account a whole host of factors like traffic volume, typical speeds, types of drivers, road design, etc.  

This is like a perfect Dan post.  A crazy over simplified view of the world in whichever way you need to try to make some point you want to make.

But even if the 401 is safer (which it’s clearly not most times) are you telling me you don’t drive the most convenient route but instead maximize your time on the highway to maximize your safety?  You should build a new gps device that instead of routing by time taken routes by overall safety!  I’m sure it’ll be a big hit.

"A perfect Dan Post..."

I'm done with this conversation.
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#10
(05-10-2019, 01:26 PM)SammyOES Wrote: ...But even if the 401 is safer (which it’s clearly not most times) ...

What makes that "clear" to you? My understanding is that divided highways are much safer than undivided four-lane highways, which are much safer than two-lane divided roads. 400-series highways have excellent lighting, wide shoulders. Head-on collisions as a result of passing can not happen, for instance.

I don't have a link to numbers. I know, though, that contrary to most people's intuition, most fatal collisions involving trucks do not happen on the 400-series highways, but rather undivided highways.
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#11
(05-10-2019, 01:26 PM)SammyOES Wrote: As if one factor like blocking crossovers is enough for you to definitively claim one road is safer than another.  You need to take into account a whole host of factors like traffic volume, typical speeds, types of drivers, road design, etc.  

This is like a perfect Dan post.  A crazy over simplified view of the world in whichever way you need to try to make some point you want to make.

But even if the 401 is safer (which it’s clearly not most times) are you telling me you don’t drive the most convenient route but instead maximize your time on the highway to maximize your safety?  You should build a new gps device that instead of routing by time taken routes by overall safety!  I’m sure it’ll be a big hit.

Iowa's DOT says that the crash rate on interstates per 100 million miles over a five-year period was 50. Two-lane state and federal highways, 82.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/...537538001/

That opinion piece does cite facts to explain that, yes, crossovers are in fact why divided highways are safer.

As we've been discussing, yes, also differences in speed are dangerous.
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#12
(05-10-2019, 01:26 PM)SammyOES Wrote: As if one factor like blocking crossovers is enough for you to definitively claim one road is safer than another.  You need to take into account a whole host of factors like traffic volume, typical speeds, types of drivers, road design, etc.  

This is like a perfect Dan post.  A crazy over simplified view of the world in whichever way you need to try to make some point you want to make.

But even if the 401 is safer (which it’s clearly not most times) are you telling me you don’t drive the most convenient route but instead maximize your time on the highway to maximize your safety?  You should build a new gps device that instead of routing by time taken routes by overall safety!  I’m sure it’ll be a big hit.

If you recall from previous posts, Dan doesn't drive to GTA, he takes the trail or GO bus...
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#13
I don’t think those stats actually prove that the 400 series highways are safer than backroads, but it’s definitely closer or more likely than I thought.

But that still doesn’t change the point. Dan seems to think trading safety for inconvenience is always wrong and a terrible thing to do. To the point where some how I’m suppose to pick a family member that will die from some small convenience increase...

But it’s painfully obvious that people do this all the time. It’s how we live our lives. Maximizing only for safety would be a terrible way to live and commute. Hell, there’s a bunch of bike riders and heavy pedestrians in this forum. You should all give that up and take the bus everywhere because it’ll be a lot safer.
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#14
(05-11-2019, 09:37 AM)Rainrider22 Wrote: If you recall from previous posts, Dan doesn't drive to GTA, he takes the trail or GO bus...

I never know if posts like this are purposefully missing the point or not.
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#15
I would guess that based on AADT the 401 is safer than a lot of smaller roads(for fatal collisions) The percentage of cars on the road that get in accidents is lower than on a road that carrier 1/10 of the traffic. All traffic going in same direction is similar to why roundabouts are safer (fatality wise) than standard intersections.
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