Paris, 15 Feb. 2018.
This draft posting is intended for informal peer review and private commentary in the context of a new international collaborative program of New Mobility Master Classes being planned for 2018-2020. The core text you find here is taken verbatim from Chapter 3 of John Whitelegg’s well-received 2015 book Mobility A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future. The remainder of the text for this session is still in process and presented for now as a draft intended for review, comment and suggestions. It will shortly be completed with an introduction to the 2018 Master Class program by the editor who is serving as course leader, along with a short list of recommended reading (3-5 online references) and a closing discussion and commentary by participants and visiting colleagues)
- General introduction (2 parts)
- Mobility: Chapter 3. Death and Injury
- Conclusions and last words
- Selected references
- About the authors
- How to obtain
- Facebook page
- Reader comments
1. General Introduction
* * *
2. Mobility Chapter 3. Death and Injury
One of the most obvious, pervasive and unacceptable consequences of motorised mobility is death and injury in the road traffic environment. It is over 60 years since John Dean addressed the problem in his book “Murder most foul” (Dean, 1947):
“It is common ground that the motor slaughter ought to be stopped; it is also common ground that it can be stopped, or at least greatly reduced.. it is realised that the killing or maiming every year of about a quarter of a million persons ..are not items that any country can afford to ignore .. i t is also realised, if less clearly, that the motor slaughter leaves behind it an ever widening trail of private misery-bereavement, poverty resulting from the death of the breadwinner, crippledom and the rest and that this, too, ought to be stopped.
Finally, it is realised, if again it is less clearly, that the motor slaughter is bad in itself: that it is bad that human beings should kill and maim other human beings.in this cold blooded way: worst of all that as happens in a very large proportion of the cases, vigorous adults should kill or maim children and elderly and infirm persons and then criminally and meanly put the blame on their victims: that in short, it is not only the lives and well-being of about a quarter of a million persons and the material loss every year that are at stake, but to a high degree, the standards of decency and the moral health of the nation.
The idea of slowing top speeds on traffic in the city to reduce accidents and achieve other important systemic benefits would seem like a pretty sensible, straightforward and affordable thing to do. For a lot of reasons. Let’s have a look.
Sometimes life is simple:
Question: How fast will car drivers speed on any given stretch of road or street, in or out of the city?
Answer: As fast as they can.
Qualification: And if that is not true for every driver on the road (for example you or maybe me), it is true for enough of them such that if road safety is the goal, then this brutal, uncompromising reality must be taken into serious consideration.
Question 2: Now if this is indeed the case (and it most definitely is!) what if anything can we do about it?
In memoriam 2013
Streetsblog: Doing its job year after year in New York City.
Each year our friends over at Streetsblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians and cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, “public servants”) responsible for what goes on under their direct control.
Who is doing this job in your city?