The theme of the 2015 Transport Association of Canada (TAC) Conference is 'Getting You There Safely'. This year, it is being held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, our smallest Province. Being a Transportation Planner, I thought I'd take a look at how we may reduce fatalities moving into the future. Read on to view my TAC Abstract.
Travelling Safely into the Future
80 percent of the 269 fatalities recorded by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in 2013 were attributed to speeding, impairment or distraction. While not explicit, that leaves just 20% that could be attributed to driver error, road design, weather or other accidental causes. These fatalities however, do not tell the whole story, there were many more that drove above the speed limit, drove impaired by alcohol or drugs, or drove whilst distracted, luckily many without causing a collision or fatality.
While acknowledging that there are some sections of roadway that need to be upgraded to improve safety in order to reduce fatalities, our roads are not inherently unsafe. In each location where a fatality occurred, there were many other drivers who were able to negotiate that section of roadway without incident.
It is difficult to address the speeding, impairment and distraction issues as they are subject to human factors. The majority of the population will drive sensibly but a small percentage will feel the rules do not apply either through disregard for the law, foolishness, or naivety. So where should we be looking to remove these fatalities from our statistics? At the roads? At the drivers? Or the cars themselves?
This paper considers how transportation trends are changing, now and into the future, and how these changes may specifically relate to reducing the number of fatalities caused by speeding, impairment and distraction. For example: emerging trends being used in raising awareness; ways in which better and more responsible driving can be incentivized; and how vehicle technology is changing in ways that improve safety.