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Author Topic: roads  (Read 3319 times)

Offline ArmenArtist

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roads
« on: 19/09/2006 06:31:05 »
This might sound weird, but ive always wondered why the world has let things like roads get so narrow for cars.

a few thousand people in september the 11th 2001 died and we spend 200 billion dollars i think for iraq and more money for the fight agaisnt terrorism, and yet, how many people die from car accidents?

"rashes — kill an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide each year, and injure about forty times this number" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_accident [nofollow]

It is well known that people say, "dont worry about airplanes, more people die from car accidents,"

Well, why do pilots have to have so much training, and before a plane takes off, it needs extensive maintenance.

Thus, why is driving such a non-issue in the world?

I think it is selfishness, for the world's economies have survived for thousands of years, and golden ages like the renaissance, the age of englightenment and such have occured with class and grace -- and without narrow roads for cars to drive...over people.

Cars and such are known to lead to global warming...and the OIL HELPS TERRORISM!

All i am saying is that nobody is saying, "why cant we look to science and our own inner humanity to REALLY make a difference."


 

another_someone

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Re: roads
« Reply #1 on: 19/09/2006 11:58:44 »
Raod accidents were always a fact of life, long before the arrival of cars (coaches were regularly side swiping pedestrians as they rounded bends, typically causing broken ribs at least, or not worse; and horses running away and throwing riders or overturning coaches, were all long established hazards).

Roads were often made narrow because they were not needed to be wider, and because narrow winding roads were more defensible against an invading army (hence why Israeli tanks will tend to bulldoze houses to give them a clear field of fire, rather than risking getting caught in a trap in the narrow streets of Gaza - in the days before tanks were invented, this was not an option).

No-one is suggesting that cars do not carry a cost – it is ludicrous to think that any technology can exist without a cost – but we live in a world where we expect to be able to travel substantial distances, and we need some infrastructure to do this (and air travel is no less of a problem).  It is true that our forefathers lived in a world where most people never travelled far from where they were born, and travelling a couple of hundred miles was something one would do only on rare occasions, and could take substantial time.  They lived in a world where life expectancy was shorter than we have today, despite the additional risk associated with car travel.  We cannot live in the modern world without cars (or some infrastructure that would perforce a similar social and technical function), and living in a world of a few centuries ago may alleviate the risks associated with the motor car, but would bring back many more serious problems that we had long since sought to overcome.



George
 

Offline ArmenArtist

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Re: roads
« Reply #2 on: 19/09/2006 12:26:39 »
im suprised you had such informative things to offer.

I feel like infastructures have been made poorly, and the future generations will have to pay the cost.  Its not that i dont like cars, i feel like the safest car made ought to be the only car governments allow to be sold. I feel roads should be wider.  I feel a law should pass that cars need to keep a certain distance.  

It seems like the governments of the world seem to be looking out for their citizens, but millions die for various things, and nobody is doing anything about it.
 

another_someone

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Re: roads
« Reply #3 on: 19/09/2006 13:16:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by ArmenArtist
I feel like infastructures have been made poorly, and the future generations will have to pay the cost.  Its not that i dont like cars, i feel like the safest car made ought to be the only car governments allow to be sold. I feel roads should be wider.  I feel a law should pass that cars need to keep a certain distance.  

It seems like the governments of the world seem to be looking out for their citizens, but millions die for various things, and nobody is doing anything about it.



Minimum safety standards are constantly being increased, but technology keeps moving forward, and what was state of the art safety is yesterday's car is now seen as unsafe, thus at any one instant in time, there will always be cars on the road that conform to different safety standards as they were built (and designed) at different times (the same also is true of houses – and as dangerous as cars may be, I think it is still true still more people die in accidents in the home than die in motoring accidents).  Beyond that, safety itself is always a matter of compromise, no matter what some people's rhetoric may claim.  The only truly safe car is no car at all – the moment you accept that a car exists, you accept that you want to trade some functionality for that absolute safety, and then you have to ask what function is the minimum functionality that is considered reasonable for the car (and don't forget that each persons demands upon their car will be slightly different), and how far you are willing to trade safety in order to achieve that functionality.

As for wider roads being safer – this depends on the context, and safer to whom.  Certainly, clearly separated lanes (i.e. dual carriageways) are safer than single carriageways, but wider lanes are a mixed blessing.  At very least, wider lanes would increase the difficulty to pedestrians and cyclists who may be using the roads (not an issue on motorways, but may well be an issue on urban and suburban roads).  If one really had unrestricted land upon which to build as much road as one desired, then maybe a better safety precaution would be to build totally separate road system for each category of transport, so that one need not mix heavy goods vehicles in with cars, nor cars in with cyclists, nor cyclists in with pedestrians.  It is the mixing of different categories of road user that tends to cause the most accidents.  I also think that building more roads is safer than building wider roads, since having more roads will allow better isolation of traffic, and if an accident were to occur, if it occurs on a smaller road, it will effect fewer cars, and allow other cars on alternate roads to remain unaffected.  But, alas, we do not have infinite land upon which to build roads.

I think you are totally incorrect that nobody is doing anything about road safety – Governments in all countries continually improve upon road safety (the number of people killed on the roads today in Britain I believe is slightly less than was the case in the 1930s, despite many more people who are using the roads).  Nonetheless, it would be naοve to suggest that Governments do all they could do – but then, Governments are run by politicians, not by engineers – that is the way we choose to be governed – that is what democracy is all about.  So, the reality is somewhere between the assertion that Governments do nothing, and that Governments do everything that could be done – that is the inescapable imperfection of reality.



George
 

another_someone

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Re: roads
« Reply #4 on: 19/09/2006 11:58:44 »
Raod accidents were always a fact of life, long before the arrival of cars (coaches were regularly side swiping pedestrians as they rounded bends, typically causing broken ribs at least, or not worse; and horses running away and throwing riders or overturning coaches, were all long established hazards).

Roads were often made narrow because they were not needed to be wider, and because narrow winding roads were more defensible against an invading army (hence why Israeli tanks will tend to bulldoze houses to give them a clear field of fire, rather than risking getting caught in a trap in the narrow streets of Gaza - in the days before tanks were invented, this was not an option).

No-one is suggesting that cars do not carry a cost – it is ludicrous to think that any technology can exist without a cost – but we live in a world where we expect to be able to travel substantial distances, and we need some infrastructure to do this (and air travel is no less of a problem).  It is true that our forefathers lived in a world where most people never travelled far from where they were born, and travelling a couple of hundred miles was something one would do only on rare occasions, and could take substantial time.  They lived in a world where life expectancy was shorter than we have today, despite the additional risk associated with car travel.  We cannot live in the modern world without cars (or some infrastructure that would perforce a similar social and technical function), and living in a world of a few centuries ago may alleviate the risks associated with the motor car, but would bring back many more serious problems that we had long since sought to overcome.



George
 

Offline ArmenArtist

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Re: roads
« Reply #5 on: 19/09/2006 12:26:39 »
im suprised you had such informative things to offer.

I feel like infastructures have been made poorly, and the future generations will have to pay the cost.  Its not that i dont like cars, i feel like the safest car made ought to be the only car governments allow to be sold. I feel roads should be wider.  I feel a law should pass that cars need to keep a certain distance.  

It seems like the governments of the world seem to be looking out for their citizens, but millions die for various things, and nobody is doing anything about it.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: roads
« Reply #6 on: 19/09/2006 13:16:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by ArmenArtist
I feel like infastructures have been made poorly, and the future generations will have to pay the cost.  Its not that i dont like cars, i feel like the safest car made ought to be the only car governments allow to be sold. I feel roads should be wider.  I feel a law should pass that cars need to keep a certain distance.  

It seems like the governments of the world seem to be looking out for their citizens, but millions die for various things, and nobody is doing anything about it.



Minimum safety standards are constantly being increased, but technology keeps moving forward, and what was state of the art safety is yesterday's car is now seen as unsafe, thus at any one instant in time, there will always be cars on the road that conform to different safety standards as they were built (and designed) at different times (the same also is true of houses – and as dangerous as cars may be, I think it is still true still more people die in accidents in the home than die in motoring accidents).  Beyond that, safety itself is always a matter of compromise, no matter what some people's rhetoric may claim.  The only truly safe car is no car at all – the moment you accept that a car exists, you accept that you want to trade some functionality for that absolute safety, and then you have to ask what function is the minimum functionality that is considered reasonable for the car (and don't forget that each persons demands upon their car will be slightly different), and how far you are willing to trade safety in order to achieve that functionality.

As for wider roads being safer – this depends on the context, and safer to whom.  Certainly, clearly separated lanes (i.e. dual carriageways) are safer than single carriageways, but wider lanes are a mixed blessing.  At very least, wider lanes would increase the difficulty to pedestrians and cyclists who may be using the roads (not an issue on motorways, but may well be an issue on urban and suburban roads).  If one really had unrestricted land upon which to build as much road as one desired, then maybe a better safety precaution would be to build totally separate road system for each category of transport, so that one need not mix heavy goods vehicles in with cars, nor cars in with cyclists, nor cyclists in with pedestrians.  It is the mixing of different categories of road user that tends to cause the most accidents.  I also think that building more roads is safer than building wider roads, since having more roads will allow better isolation of traffic, and if an accident were to occur, if it occurs on a smaller road, it will effect fewer cars, and allow other cars on alternate roads to remain unaffected.  But, alas, we do not have infinite land upon which to build roads.

I think you are totally incorrect that nobody is doing anything about road safety – Governments in all countries continually improve upon road safety (the number of people killed on the roads today in Britain I believe is slightly less than was the case in the 1930s, despite many more people who are using the roads).  Nonetheless, it would be naοve to suggest that Governments do all they could do – but then, Governments are run by politicians, not by engineers – that is the way we choose to be governed – that is what democracy is all about.  So, the reality is somewhere between the assertion that Governments do nothing, and that Governments do everything that could be done – that is the inescapable imperfection of reality.



George
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: roads
« Reply #6 on: 19/09/2006 13:16:47 »

 

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