I considered putting this in Failures and Disasters, since it’s to me, a systemic failure in the Civil Engineering discipline, and 100 fatalities per day in the US alone is certainly a disaster. I also considered Business and Ethics, since it is also an ethical issue. Maybe I should have.
I’m currently reviewing a proposal for professional services for the redesign of an intersection. The “Traffic Assessment” section discusses data collection and operation performance assessment. Nowhere does it even mention the safety effects of the new design! However, doesn’t this at least warrant some discussion in the report?
This is a common occurrence. At least in my part of the US, a lot of effort goes into traffic operations (capacity and delay) evaluations, but safety is often omitted from highway design reports. At the end of the day, however, isn’t whether people using the road get home safely more important than whether an extra lane will save them a few seconds?
Why do we, as a profession, think delay is more important than safety? I think it’s ethically indefensible given the safety analysis tools are readily available. IHSDM is even free.
How do we change this?