Tuesday, June 18, 2019

State Level Traffic Safety Targets are Likely Ineffective, even Confused

Strong Towns linked to a Streetsblog piece today about the latest round of traffic safety goals the FHWA is compiling.

via Twitter and Streetsblog
The Streetsblog piece compiles a number of States' goals that actually adopt increasing numbers of deaths and injury.
some of the most progressive states are calling for more people dead under new “targets” for certain performance measures they must report to the federal government....

But the first round of goal-setting makes it clear states aren’t willing to make the substantive, structural changes to really improve safety. All of the states seem to be treating it more like a modeling exercise than any sort of call to action.
We've occasionally checked in here on SKATS' work on goals as they compile the regional subset of the statewide goals, but not really looked at the whole for the state.

So it was natural to see if Oregon, as a "progressive state," was calling for more people dead.

It was somewhat reassuring to see Oregon's numbers do not call for an increase. Still, given the current trends, what is the likelihood we will suddenly fall from our current death rate around 500 deaths per year to the "target" value of 343? This is a Potemkin standard!

from Oregon's set of goals

This is a safety program also!
It remains true that like other states, Oregon shies away from making "the substantive, structural changes to really improve safety."

If we really want to make our roads safer, we will focus on driving less often, driving shorter distances, driving more slowly, making driving a choice of secondary or even last resort; and focus on making walking, biking, and busing lovely, appealing, and efficient, the mobility choices of first resort.

The green transportation hierarchy is not merely useful as a guide to carbon reduction and sustainable travel; it points the way also to a safety program, one with enduring benefits, far more structural that futzing around on distracted driving or promoting TNCs as a drunk-driving strategy.

And see also here:

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