City – City Population (Metro Area Population), City Density per Square Mile, City Traffic Fatalities
Oslo : 690,335 (1,588,457), 3,938, 1
Nashville : 692,587 (1,930,961), 1,374, 82
Portland : 653,115 (2,478,810), 4,911, 34
Milwaukee : 592,025 (1,572,245), 6,155, 68
Oslo: population 690k (metro 1.6m) / density 3938 / deaths 1
Nashville: pop 692k (1.9m) / density 1374 / deaths 82
Portland: pop 653k (2.4m) / density 4911 / deaths 34
Milwaukee: pop 592k (1.5m) / density 6155 / deaths 68
Doesn't Norway have huge taxes on automobiles which chill ownership? If so, then population is not relevant. If only 10% of people can afford to own cars, then the number of crashes and fatalities will certainly be low.
The US standard of living is far higher. Whether that leads to more fatalities or not is anybody's guess. I would prefer the idea that we don't bother teaching people to drive very well or that people don't value developing their own good driving skills.
In reality, though there is a lot more equality in Norway where much of the population shares in the wealth. Having traveled extensively in both countries, I can tell you that the standard of living for regular people in Norway is far higher than that of regular Americans.
No, you don't, the point is that a similar amount of people can exist in a city without killing each other with cars.
Than Norway? The country with 25% higher GDP per capita than the US, a 33h average work week, and an infant mortality rate of a first world country? Nah
That oil money does help living standards. Especially since a big state ownership plus big Nordic welfare state ensures it ends up helping pretty much everyone.
When the oil runs out, they’ll still have their (currently) 1 Trillion dollar permanent fund to cushion the blow.
If you happen to have traffic, and wish to improve the traffic in isolation, perhaps. More generally, what you need to look at really depends on whether you're trying to measure traffic safety itself, society's general safety and well being (very complex), or something more specific.
Speeds are often reduced if the road is sub par or if there have been accidents on that bit of road.
Yes. The limits are low, but definitivly not _incredibly_ low.
I drove Oslo Airport -> Flåm -> Bergen -> Oslo Airport. Looks like E16 / 7 / 52 were the roads involved, 968km loop.
The motorways are mostly on the south-eastern part of Norway, where it's reasonably flat. There aren't that many of them, building infrastructure here is really hard.
I don't disagree that it's very difficult to build infrastructure! Every road must follow the contours of a fjord, or go over or through a mountain. I was very lucky to be able to drive the world's longest tunnel; I had read about it but honestly forgot about it until I made a left turn into a mountain and was perplexed as to how I could get to where I was going by driving into it.
And yeah, that's gonna be a pretty standard speed limit, though some with 90-100kph are out there. Unless you meant 50kph... and in that case, it is low.
imo, american speed limits should be much lower in the city and significantly higher on limited access highways. 25 in the city often feels downright dangerous; I'll often go slower if I don't think I'll be creating an even more dangerous hazard. on the other hand, 65 feels like crawling on a straight, wide highway.
Best source I can find, suggests that travel times in Oslo are decent by world standards, and falls about where you would expect a US city of that size and density to be. It's conveniently right next to Portland, which was listed by the grandparent comment as a comparable.
The density required to have walking/biking/transit be realistic and efficient options makes over-subscribed roads a certainty unless you actively restrict automobile traffic. Private cars as the primary means of transportation works brilliantly in low to mid density areas, but fails utterly in high density ones.
There is no one size fits all solution for all cities. In my opinion it seems quite clear that there should be a negative correlation between density and private automobile usage in order to optimize safety and efficiency for all.
The speed limits are low, but you get used to that.
That's probably why we felt at home on the streets during our stay there, as a family from Turkey. I would love to have that 0 deaths statistics here instead, though.
You have to think what pedestrian lights are for. They exist solely to improve the flow of car traffic. Pedestrian lights are in gross contrast to the rights and benefits of pedestrians. Without lights, pedestrians would always have first priority on a crosswalk. Cars would have to stop for any pedestrian crossing the street. However, drivers (of inefficient but fast automobiles) don't like waiting for a more efficient form (on the city centre scale) of traffic (i.e. pedestrians) to cross the street so pedestrian lights exist to ensure enough green time for cars so that they don't always have to stop. Thus, it is no wonder that any sensible person wouldn't cross the street on red if there are no cars coming.
My suburb had 2 very popular parks at either end -- as kids, we always walked or rode our bikes there... on the road since there were no sidewalks. Likewise when we went to a friends house we generally walked on the road (or cut through people's yards).
There are plenty of reasons to have sidewalks even if there's no commercial destination to get to, not everyone can drive everywhere they need to go. Of course, this was a time when kids were allowed some autonomy, nowadays maybe parents would drive us 2 blocks to the park.
The neighborhood still has no sidewalks, but I see speed bumps and "Slow down - watch for children signs", so seems that kids do still walk on the roadway and parents are worried for their safety.
I rode the school bus to school because the school was way too far to walk -- it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that the school was only about half a mile away, but with no sidewalks, it wasn't realistically walkable despite the short distance. We spent more time waiting for the bus every morning than it would have taken to walk there.
At the time it seemed completely normal - why would anyone walk when they could drive!? But now I pay attention to walkability and bikeability and avoid driving when I can. (not just because it's good for the environment, but it's good for me too)
However, one thing I do remember was that there were absolutely no sidewalks, so for a lot of people it probably didn't seem walkable.
The only places I've seen without sidewalks would be clearly classified as "rural".
A much bigger issue is that you can't generally get to a store, across town, or to work on sidewalks.
Plenty of suburbs have sidewalks.
I've been guests at a few different suburban neighborhoods in the US. I realize that some of these are so big and remote that it really is too far to walk to anything significant, but those I visited did have grocery stores and such within a walkeable distance, but that's not always the case, and still there's not much if any sidewalks. One did have sidewalks, but using it to get to stores was a detour compared to other roads. The other did not have any sidewalks. I walked anyway (didn't have a car) and I felt like people looked oddly at me for doing it.
In Norway, almost all suburban areas have wide sidewalks now, even if grocery stores and such are far away. Kids generally use sidewalks for biking, and many kids bike or walk to school, even for a mile or more (3 for my high school, although there was school bus that I used in winter). People take walks from just outside their house to.. wherever. There's usually some park or just a patch of woods within walking distance. Maybe a shared playground or soccer field for kids.
There are generally walking paths between houses at regular intervals, so houses don't act as impassable walls. If there are steep slopes and hills, there's often stairs you can walk down.
I'm really astonished that Americans don't do it the same way. My mother in law house could've been a 5 minute walk from a lovely beach and supermarkets and cafes if there was just a path/stair that went down a slope from their house between other properties. Instead it's a 30 minute+ walk, along a long and winding road with an extremely narrow sidewalk, where a 100m stretch of the road for some inexplicable reason is missing sidewalk altogether (if you ask for directions on Google Maps it'll avoid this stretch, which gives you a 1 hour walk instead)
Americans tend to have strange ideas about walking. If they think about it at all, they tend to think of it as something that's only done in extremis.
I've discovered, for example, that, when I travel for work, it's generally useless to ask hotel staff if they can recommend any restaurants "within walking distance" when I'm staying in a suburban area. They will always say that there aren't any. Even when there are several within 500 meters of the hotel.
When I am visiting the main office (also in a suburban area) I stay about 1.5km away from the building. I choose to walk to get between there and the hotel. It's a lovely walk, all sidewalks, through a quiet neighborhood. My colleagues consider this to be very peculiar behavior. If someone recognizes me while I'm on the sidewalk, they'll stop, express concern, and ask me if I need a ride, and I generally have to assure them multiple times that I'm OK and I just prefer to walk.
In my mind that means looking up to 1.5 km walk or 10 km of cycling really says more about me and you than it says about the distance. The world walking record is 175 km in 24 hours. Think about it, that is much more than a hundred times 1.5km. Someone some day cycled.... over 900 km in a day! Climbing Mount Everest is only 20 km but it takes 55 days!
You have to be in terrible shape to look up to 1.5 km.
Is that right? That's 685 days of continuous walking at the world record speed.
You have 52 days to do it. Record: 40 days 09:06:21 by Ashprihanal Pekka Aalto
There is recreational walking, but it can be odd. I have family members who live in areas without sidewalks, and they do regularly go for pleasure walks, but such outings tend to start with a car ride. Because the nearest place where space has been made for walking is several miles away.
Walking on country roads generally isn't pleasant. The roads are narrow, the traffic is fast, the drivers are discourteous and/or texting while driving, and the only place to put your feet where you're not in danger of being hit by a car is often a drainage ditch.
In the suburbs I grew up in, walking, especially to accomplish practical tasks like grocery shopping, was seen a signal that you were "on welfare" - which was code for poverty.
Meanwhile, people drove to fitness clubs to walking miles on treadmills while slurping energy drinks.
Where, in the movies?
If you're talking about Manhattan, NYC, that place is absolutely nothing like the rest of America, except maybe for a few other large cities' downtown areas (DC, Boston, Portland, etc). These few places have entirely different lifestyles from the rest of rural and suburban America, where cars reign supreme.
Hit by a car at 3pm, i.e. broad daylight. "Deputies ticketed Weaver for not being as far off the road as possible. The driver who hit him was not charged."
with my road bike (i.e. no suspension) i usually prefer the road over adjacent bike paths (which is legal in my country), as the roads are usually in better shape.
If you think that a sidewalk in a purely residential area only goes to nowhere, you spend way too much time looking at screens. Get out, meet, and spend some time with your neighbors.
Seriously, get out and meet your neighbors.
And then you could have second story pedestrian entrances to buildings, which already have elevators in them, so it wouldn't even be an issue for people who have trouble with stairs.
Plus, said catwalks need to be accessible, so how many elevators are you planning on putting in and maintaining now?
Pedestrian bridges flat-out suck. Better to get rid of as many vehicles as possible and slow the remaining ones waaaay the hell down so that people can walk along streets and across intersections safely.
If this idea were viable, someone somewhere in the world would have already done it. But the closest I can think of is Las Vegas, and that's only along one road, and it's not even a full pedestrian pathway but instead just some bridges over intersections, and those are primarily there to prevent drunks from getting run over by cars.
Hong Kong does this in the downtown area. It’s viable because of the very high population density and prevalence of foot traffic.
It works out great. Though admittedly it’s more of a workout than walking in flat Manhattan.
That's a several orders of magnitude difference between the capacity of the two systems.
Consider further coverage and commentary such as
The closest thing I can think of is a series of connected pedestrian tunnels that you see in some Canadian cities like Montreal and Toronto. Those primarily exist for a different reason; winter is months-long and so cold that you don't want to step foot outside at all. Pedestrian bridges don't accomplish this goal.
For Minneapolis, the first segment was built in 1962. Segments are often retrofits, as many of the buildings predate there system.
Quite a few cities do do this (Florida, I'm looking at you!). It's a terrible design, might as well have a machine that punches all pedestrians in the face as they go by.
I assume it would cost more in building and maintenance costs than sidewalks.
I'd argue that the lights are not to improve traffic flow, but to signal pedestrians that it's safe to cross, something sighted, young or otherwise healthy people often take for granted by just looking both ways before crossing.
So no - the lights aren't only to improve traffic. The dynamic changes when there are no jaywalking laws.
The road markings were black and white stripes, which mean "cars must always stop for pedestrians crossing here" where I live (UK). The description above chimes with my experience. Who does have priority when the light is red but cars are still turning right?
In the end, I went back and had the nasty coffee in the university. It seemed to dangerous to try to cross.
Edit: this is different in different states? It was in North Carolina for reference.
OTOH, especially at a busy intersection, if you're just standing on the sidewalk looking confused, a driver looking to make a turn is probably going to just shrug and turn right through the crosswalk. Some drivers will doubtless be overly aggressive or inattentive. But a random driver is also not going to sit there forever waiting for you to make up your mind about whether to cross or not.
Also, as a note, college campuses are some of the worst places for cars and pedestrians to have to interact. The students seem to ignore the rules of the road regardless of whether they are pedestrians or drivers.
For evidence that people don't know state/local laws, ask a group of people in the US when they are permitted to u turn. It varies widely, mostly in insignificant ways.
In your case if there was no indicator light. Then you could go for it when the traffic was going in the same direction as you or when clear from the other direction.
The general rule of thumb is from any corner you can cross. That does not mean you get to stop traffic to do so. Though it seems much more common now for people to just cross wherever they want in the area I live in. They seem surprised when I honk at them. It shakes them out of them looking down at their phone while randomly walking around. You may have 'right of way' but the driver does not always see you in time. Be safe.
Maybe roll down your window and say something instead of blaring your horn at people who aren’t encased in a car. Although I am not sure why you think you have a right to teach strangers a lesson.
Jaywalking is dangerous, especially on busy streets. And I admit to my fair amount jaywalking when I worked in downtown Chicago.
The horn is primarily about expressing anger but about imminent danger. A pedestrian steps out, from limitted visibility between cars, into traffic they deserve to be honked at. Not because of anger, but because they are putting themselves and others at undue risk.
That said, I don't think Ive ever personally seen someone respond to a horn in a fashion to avoid an accident. Twice last year, I was involved in accidents caused by someone else changing into my lane. Both times I saw it coming, laid on the horn and braked, but they kept coming faster than I could stop.
One, I couldnt avoid at all. We were in a construction zone, and the car next to me just kept coming over. I saw it coming, but had no where to go. No shoulder, just a concrete K-rail with about 6 inches of wiggle room. Side swiped me at about 55 mph. Entire driver's side was fuckedd up. Couldnt even open my door. Also managed to fuck up some of the passenger side as I did everything I could to get out of the way. (little bit of fender damage, cut both tires and scraped up a wheel)
The second one was I was in a left turn lane and the dude tried to force is way in. I didnt even see his signal until it was too late. Again, laid on the horn and brake, still mamaged to put his rear door into my passenger side front quarter panel.
Had a third actual miss earlier this year. Was driving in the 2nd from left lane in a rain storm, doing around 80mph on the highway. Car in the left lane, without signaling, starts coming over. Again, slam on the brakes and the horn, asshole keeps coming. Went from 80 to 60 in about a second or so, nearly getting rearended in the process. My car also started going sideways. In a lesser car, I probably would have lost it, but mine is pretty stable. Soon as I let hard off the brake, it recovered easily.
Point is, everyone assumes if someone is honking they're road raging at you, and some surely use it that way, but it's primarily about signaling imminent danger, and you should really take note (and probably return to your lane until you can figure out what the danger is by checking your blind spots, etc).
It's one person out of hundreds of thousands who visit each day. And the comment is downvoted.
That's not what horns are for. You seem to think it's a punitive device, and I certainly would interpret it similarly to you aiming the muzzle of a gun at my chest.
Granted, I'll agree that's a dumb situation to cross the street, but your actions make it even worse.
To be clear, I mean that if everyone did what you do, going around rationalizing how people "get the horn" when they upset you rather than when your car is in legitimate imminent danger of a collision, we're mainly accomplishing two things:
1. Making driving more aggressive as a whole, associating all these little driving interactions with BLARING CAR HORN SOUNDS
2. Cheapening the meaning of the car horn for when it actually matters
The horn isn't a tool for letting out your aggression. Try screaming obscenities loudly in your car or something else fun like that.
> Although I am not sure why you think it is OK for that 1 dude to hold up about 40 other people
This is a perfect illustration of the US's driving-first culture. Let's do some math here. 40 people / 1.7 people per car average  = ~23.529 or 24 cars (which may be the case if it's rush hour, but probably not if it's not). If this is a 3 way intersection, and each of the cars is evenly distributed between directions (which I realize is incorrect, of course), then there are ~7.843 or 8 cars per side. Assuming an (informally weighted) average car size of 174 in. per car , with 2 ft of distance between each car, then the block length is a minimum of 1406 ft. Given that the average person walks at 4.6 ft/s , this distance would take 5.09 min. to traverse, just to get to your well lit next block. The average US commute is 26.1 min , which means just getting to the next block to cross at the well lit intersection would be 1/5 of the average commute, let alone the time most people are willing to tolerate to go to the grocery or pharmacy.
Obviously there are a lot of assumptions in this calculation, but it really goes a long way to showing how little American car-first culture thinks of pedestrian infrastructure, attractiveness, and travel times. "Just" walking over to the next, well-lit block, immediately makes a pedestrian trip for chores non-viable for anyone that values their time. To me, there also seems an in-built disdain for the time and safety of the pedestrian, and those attitudes do nothing but make it more difficult for Americans to do anything without their cars.
1. There is a pedestrian signal that says to NOT cross, or
2. The traffic signal going in the direction the pedestrian is walking is red.
So if the light is green and the pedestrian signal does not say to not cross, then the pedestrian has the right of way over any cars turning. However, as with anything traffic related, that doesn't mean that a pedestrian can intentionally create an unsafe situation (e.g., start crossing the street as a car is turning).
So does that mean a person is allowed to intentionally create an unsafe situation by maneuvering their 2 ton+ vehicle into a crosswalk when a pedestrian is approaching it
It isn't every car by any means, but enough cars that pedestrians need to assume that drivers are incompetent until given evidence otherwise.
Strange, because most likely the majority of drivers also walk at least a short distance around the same cities they drive into.
In the US in particular, eyballing the number of cars and the number of pedestrians in images of places like New York etc that I've seen, it's very hard to believe that there's a clear line separating all those people walking about from all those people who drive cars, other than the specific time of day they do one or the other.
So you'd think that being careful around pedestrians should come naturally to most drivers, if nothing else because they'd want other drivers to be careful around them as pedestrians also.
You sound like a non-American. Let me give you some advice: take everything you've ever seen about NYC, and file that in a different place in your brain's filing system away from your file labeled "America". It does not represent America in any way when talking about cars, walkability, culture, or really anything else really. It's a place that's totally unique in the world. For some reason, too many non-Americans see movies set in NYC and think that all of America is just like this, and it isn't at all.
(Personally, I wish it was more representative of America in terms of walkability, but it just isn't.)
(This is not to imply that severe injury and death are appropriate "punishments" for walking inattentively, merely that the pedestrians have large incentive to modulate their behavior, while drivers do not.)
But it certainly seems true in busier areas with less pedestrian traffic such as mini malls. Especially when pulling out of parking lots.
This is pretty limited to urban areas, in my experience. In more suburban and rural parts of the country, people are much more cautious and obedient to traffic signals and rights of way. Of course there are exceptions in both cases, but running red lights, turning into pedestrians/cyclists/etc is much more prominent in major cities. As an urban pedestrian, I just have to keep my head on a swivel because there's a good chance that the taxi/Uber across from me is going to run the light that just turned red so he can make his left turn instead of waiting for his signal.
Right-on-red is a huge problem in areas where pedestrians want to cross. If memory serves, the UK does not allow turns on red. That makes more sense to me.
On my walk to work, I have to cross one 8-lane suburban street. 4 thru lanes, plus several turn lanes in each direction. The radius of the corners is smooth. Stop lines are far back from the actual apex of the corner. So, cars can easily roll through corners at 40mph. They do this when I have a walk signal because they either have their own green, or they're turning on red and only looking for oncoming traffic (to their left) and not for pedestrians (to their right).
I have to cross a fairly wide, busy road to get to work. I wish it had a scramble with no-turn-on-red signage. That would make my commute massively safer.
This is where you are mistaken. In the US, cars are obligated to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk while turning, even with a green light. The pedestrian signal indicates pedestrians have the right of way. Of course, drivers may illegally fail to yield, but whether a driver obeys the law is a different matter than what the law says.
As a pedestrian I want traffic flow to be as predictable as possible because that makes it easier to get where I'm going safely and lights accomplish that goal better than roundabouts or stop signs even if the traffic speed through intersections is higher. Higher stakes, better odds.
Traffic lights in combination with a pedestrian crossing proper (a zebra crossing) seem to be rather rare, at least in Europe. Thus most crossing points of pedestrian would, in absence of traffic lights, not give them the right of way, because crossing traffic generally does not have the right of way. Traffic crossing from something other than a street never has the right of way.
So I don't see at all how "lights are in gross contrast to the rights of pedestrians".
Yes, that's what I wrote. "Crossing traffic" refers to traffic crossing your road. In general, traffic that follows your road always has priority over you making a turn. Hence if you make a left turn you have to yield to oncoming traffic, and pedestrians going straight on the left. Similarly, if you make a right turn, you have to yield to the pedestrians going straight on your right. (When you make a right turn, there should be no way for someone (motorcycle, bicycle) to drive on the right of you, since you are supposed to be the rightmost thing on the road. Obviously you still have to watch out for bicyclists driving on the sidewalk.)
For the same reason you have to yield to pedestrians crossing your exit when leaving a roundabout, even if they don't have a zebra crossing.
Zebra crossing = pedestrian right of way, but the pedestrian should acknowledge the driver. This means that on the zebra crossing pedestrian has right of way, except when there is a pedestrian traffic light.
Not sure that traffic lights with zebra crossings are rare in Europe? Most intersections in cities are like that at least where I visited.
Pedestrians here make sure that there are definitely no cars moving anywhere near the crosswalk, and no one potentially wanting to make a left turn, before venturing out.
Canada has a very intense car culture. What you are describing has to be some sort of local exception.
However, I actually meant at intersections (which is, I guess, where I mostly crossed streets). This arrangement was new and refreshing to me.
However, it is of course reasonable that pedestrians can not assume to just walk on a street everywhere, at any time.
Before you say that I can read or listen to music on the way in public transport, I listen to audiobooks in the car, and the trams are lately so packed that for me it's especially hard to not puke because of the terrible air (and sometimes smelly people, luckily not that much in winter) there, sadly I would puke right into someone's face. Even though there is a lot of traffic which slows my car down, I am still in comfort. I'd rather sit 45 minutes in a car listening to wonderful music than be pushed inside a can full of people for the same time, and given the traffic, I am not the only one thinking the same.
First improve public transport, make it at least a tiny bit comfortable, then hate cars, not the other way around, that just won't work.
(let the downvotes rain... What did I expect, a discussion? Lol)
Is the route longer because there isn't a line that goes straight from your home to your workplace?
Is it because there aren't a lot of trains, so they take too long to arrive?
Otherwise it's hard to tell what the problem with public transport in your city.
I live in London for instance, where cars are _almost always_ the slowest option for trips around zones 1-2 or even 3, because the center is always very busy. So when commuting here the fastest option is usually cycling, then 5-10 minutes slower is public transport and driving, which depending on the time of day will also be slower...
The unfair advantage is not cost effective to grant to all cars, but still need to be acknowledged.
- you're looking at individual efficiency rather than system: in particular the fact that public transport is made less efficient by people driving. You're describing a chicken-egg problem if you want improvements in public transport
- you're focused on time as a metric, not accounting for economic cost (both individual and municipal: car infra is expensive), and other costs (health, env)
That it is possible that there a few individuals for whom driving is more advantageous than public transport? Of course, it is possible.
Is it likely that if everyone drove instead of taking public transport driving would become unbearable for everyone, you included? Of course again.
So what are you arguing for exactly? That everyone should drive? Are you looking for absolution for liking to drive? Are you looking for an arrangment where it is ok if you drive but not others?
also public transport is not there to help you shave off minutes from commute time, it's there for those who don't have the option of going by car.
The D line is a meme at this point, it is supposed to be finished for 20 years now.
Still, to me, train is superior - I can just sit and relax. Driving is much more tiring. 15 minutes or so difference is not worth it.
I just checked a Rotterdam subway line and it does 30 stops in an hour which is a ~32KM distance as a bird flies.
Do you mean that car ownership is disincentivized by making people bear more of the cost of their car ownership?
I'm referring to a relatively small (but very vocal) segment of almost uniformly young and able bodied city dwellers with a fairly narrow and very strongly held set of views about what city life should look like. These people seem to want to hijack urban planning and tax policy to legislate in the exclusive interest of their preferred lifestyle without regard (and often with outright contempt) for the views of their fellow citizens. That's what it means to "impose" their views.
My prediction is that if and when any of this makes its way into mainstream discourse and actual policy, the backlash will be severe and rather ugly. This is particularly unfortunate, since there are plenty of real issues with urban planning and transportation, but instead of real debate we have polarized flamewars over trivialized strawmen (essentially "ban cars, maximize density" vs. "freedom and country living").
There's is an equally loud segment of older car drivers who complain about the so called "war on cars" everytime somebody wants an alternative to driving.
I didn't assert that. As far as I can tell it's a tiny minority of millenials.
> There's is an equally loud segment of older car drivers who complain about the so called "war on cars" everytime somebody wants an alternative to driving.
They might be equally loud somewhere, but certainly not on HN. Also not in most EU countries as far as I can tell, but I don't presume to speak more broadly than that.
It's natural that a locking mechanism would evolve for all cases. It's not a matter of being a car-centric monster, it's a matter of organizing traffic.
> Without lights, pedestrians would always have first priority on a crosswalk
Not all pedestrians cross in a crosswalk or look at what they're doing when they cross. Sure, let me stop abruptly for the pedestrian crossing right in front of me. Or in some situations pedestrians are always crossing (city-center)
This works (mostly) for slow streets or very low pedestrian traffic (and car) ones.
> hus, it is no wonder that any sensible person wouldn't cross the street on red if there are no cars coming.
This is the price you pay for deciding to drive a car in a city. If you choose a less lethal (to others) form of transportation, you'll have to yield less frequently.
The general principle of yielding downward (in terms of size of the conveyance) is hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old, and is more sensible today than ever.
Physics doesn't care who's right or wrong.
Edit: I'm not talking about crosswalks, I'm talking about people crossing outside of them
People should be able to cross outside of crosswalks, because the cars should be driving fast somewhere else, or driving at a safe speed in the city. That safe speed is far, far slower than I expect Americans or Australians are comfortable with. We are talking walking pace or slower.
The benefit of slowing cars down that much in a CBD is it makes it very obvious and intuitive that cars are the lower priority in the CBD. It makes it so cumbersome to drive through city areas that it is self regulating as people stop driving their cars through unless they absolutely must.
If it's so dangerous, maybe we should get the cars out
of the places where people are walking around a lot.
Since the primary purpose of a city is for people to get
business and life done, and not to move cars from one
side of it to the other.
People use cars for a variety of reasons - convenience just being one of them.
One's safety in public places (which cant be guaranteed in public transit atleast to the same degree as offered by motor vehicles), security from riffraff & sinister actors, protection from the elements in even slightly inclement weather, securing & securing valuables (like an expensive laptop or other gadgets) to & from work or otherwise, to receive & place phone calls when commuting in a private & noise-free environment, to enjoy a meal / breakfast while commuting (most transit options forbid eating foods or even drinking liquids) and a whole host of other reasons too long to list here - are all reasons why people prefer cars over transit.
Its foolish to dismiss cars as just A-to-B conveyance method for human bodies.
My reasoning to de-prioritize cars is simply that cars protect only some individuals at a high cost to everyone else in the city. They do it without solving the underlying issues, in some cases making them worse.
For most cities, focusing on cars takes resources (space/time/money) from systems that would otherwise help everyone in the city, like public transport and better amenities. Things like wider shared walking/biking paths, better lighting, safer public toilets and public spaces.
Cars create enormous amounts of noise, pollution and danger, and take up square miles of real estate, while getting in the way of everyone else. There's often dozens to hundreds of people waiting in the weather for just a handful of cars at one intersection alone. I forget how many times me and 20 others have to spend 10 minutes standing in the 40c heat waiting for five cars to muddle their way over the road.
The kicker is it doesn't even work that well, most cities with heavy car traffic are highly congested. Filling the space with pollution, noise and generally getting in the way while they barely achieve their own goals. Then when it's not so busy, the pedestrians are waiting for nothing. The car infrastructure itself is what's in the way. Increasing walking times, distances and exposure to the elements for everyone.
Not everyone can afford a car based metro commute either, parking alone can be prohibitively expensive. By focusing on cars, you're also creating a very tangible gap between those who get to enjoy the luxury of their car and those who have to stand in the sun/rain/snow/danger/noise and suffer. If you focused on making a better city instead of better roads, you could make it better for everyone.
Also, you really shouldn't be "receiving and placing calls when commuting" in your car. Hands-free included.
Finally, I struggle to see how you can "enjoy a meal" when you have to drive. Unless you're driving at the suggested walking pace, that is.
None of those conveniences is more valuable than the
human lives that are lost in traffic accidents.
We, as a society in modern times, weigh the trade-offs of many deadly and even fatal things and allow them, only if the net good is far too great to be ignored or sidelined. There are well established norms, standards and guidelines to vet those "net goods" as well. These things arent arbitrary decisions we make over a whim or fancy.
If horses and buggies were even 60% as "efficient" or rated 60% as good as any motor-vehicular form of transport I'm sure you would still see them on streets despite the downsides.
They arent. Thats why we dont see them (unless you count communities such as the Amish or Irish travelers racing horses on roads). They arent even half as good as cars, when you consider _all the factors_.
Despite all the downsides ( like pollution which should be a non-issue with the advent of electric cars or hydrogen-fueled cars like the Mirai ) cars are an out sized net good.
I could point to many other such conveniences that are more harmful than they are useful, e.g. electronic devices that cause much environmental damage, but the discussion is about cars and safety.
Regarding efficiency, this is a very vague term in this context. Cars are certainly more "efficient" than e.g. horse-drawn carts in terms of how much load they can carry but not, e.g. in terms of the fuel they require, or the necessary infrastructure. A horse carriage doesn't need to be mass-produced at a factory, the feed for the horse can be grown cheaply and sutainably and horse-drawn carriages dont' need asphalt roads. So, no, I don't think it's considerations of "efficiency" that is the reason we have so many cars.
I wouldn't dare propose a reason why we do. You seem to be much more convinced you understand the complex economics of the industrial age better than me, and most. I find this a bit hasty.
>> Despite all the downsides ( like pollution which should be a non-issue with the advent of electric cars or hydrogen-fueled cars like the Mirai ) cars are an out sized net good.
Electirc cars still require electirc power to be generated somewhere, somehow and power generation is the major cause of greenhouse gas production. Electric cars only displace the problem of environmental pollution.
Again, it's very vague to speak of a "net good" in this context. As long as there's cars we'll have fatal accidents and environmental pollution. What is the "net" in this case? E.g. how many human lives do we accept to be lost for how many hours gained travelling or carrying goods a certain distance?
To be honest, I always look forward to car threads on HN. They are quite entertaining, even if they are filled with at best weird opinions, misunderstandings of traffic laws, fun beliefs of traffic laws ("pedestrians always have right of way, globally"), and curious ideologies. A space entirely devoid of common sense, mostly populated by people whose experiences are exclusive to a country whose road safety stastistics are indistinguishable from the third world.
That's not right in my experience. Swedes walk across when it's red. Danes wait for green, even when standing by an empty road in the middle of the night. When the Øresund bridge was opened, Swedish television made news spots informing people in Scania that Danish motorist aren't used to people stepping out on the road, and to be attentive spotting danish cars.
Maybe it's because I was paying attention to tourists like me who obviously reluctant to cross on red in a foreign country.
This extends to people waiting in the middle of the road between traffic flows (usually on wider roads) which in my experience is only common behaviour in countries where jaywalking is not seen as a problem.
We have a ton of accidents on pedestrian crossings so those rules are probably bad.
I'm not sure that it's viewed as OK, but yes, absolutely, people will do this. People will actively walk past a marked crossing, and 10 - 20 meters down the road walk straight out into traffic.
It's amazingly absurd. Rather than wait a few minutes for a green light, some people will prefer to run between moving cars in an attempt to save a little time.
And being of croatian descent I can confirm they do it there too. It's not a cultural thing, it's a human thing to be impatient.
If anything it speaks of the flow of traffic.
Here in Sweden you can often safely cross the street because the entire length of the street has lights that work in a pattern. So there are long gaps in traffic due to lights further up/downstream on the street.
For the most part, this is not a problem, people just explain their kids that these are things that they cannot do now but will be able to do later (hopefully explaining why).
But people don't put crossing the road at a light in those terms, they tell them nobody can safely cross the road safely when the light is red. So an adult doing just that and being safe directly contradicts your message and your authority. It makes you look dumb. And that's why they get riled up.
We should just treat the red light as an aid for the young and infirm and explain it to kids as just that.
I stay out of principle.
Different cultures and legal system. I moved from UK to Poland. Almost everybody walks on red light in UK, almost nobody in Poland - you will get fined for doing so. I don't think anyone was fined for walking on red light in UK.
True, but certain cultures see impatience as much worse flaw than other cultures leading to significant cultural differences in, say, crossing roads.
Seriously, if you ever visit Japan it will seem strange but people do almost always wait for the light.
There's still some people that don't know their limits, but that gives an idea of how this works in practice
but more than that, in the UK in any intersection with traffic lights the pedestrians will never have a green light at the same time as cars.
meanwhile, in most countries i've visited making a left or a right turn in an intersection will most likely cause you to stop for pedestrians that also get a green light. frustrating and illogical!
That’s certainly a matter of opinion (and as a German currently living in the UK I disagree): Having separate green light for pedestrians means that the average waiting time is much longer (both for cars and pedestrians) and, further, green light times are often kept much shorter. Having simultaneous green light for parallel car and pedestrian traffic does mean you have to pay more attention, and could theoretically increase the risk of accident (but I’m not convinced that this is the case in practice — in my experience it definitely isn’t!). But on the other hand it means that my time waiting at traffic lights is greatly reduced on average. I thus find the UK system a lot more frustrating.
I actually see the point of the UK system and think it’s entirely defensible. But both systems have their pros and cons.
If there were penalties for hitting pedestrians or cyclists, this might change. I presume Germany has stricter enforcement of rules with regard to vehicle/ped/cycle interaction. In the US, there is almost none. Hitting a pedestrian or cyclist is almost always deemed an accident, with no fault assigned (or, if fault is assigned, a $200 fine is the result, not loss of driving privilege).
This is common also in Sweden, but parallel green still generally works well. So enforcement cannot be the only explanation.
- the roads are more car-centric than European cities and suburbs. Crossings are poorly timed, poorly lighted, too wide, in the wrong places, etc.
3-phase signalled intersections (where pedestrians get a green signal to cross in all directions) are a relatively new development in the UK. They’re certainly common in London but I’d be very surprised if they’re rolled out to all intersections the UK.
If you want to turn right (in right handed flow) you can enter intersection on red (in Poland when additional green right arrow is lit up) but you have to yield to everybody, also pedestrians (that have green at the time).
In theory you are required to stop before you enter on red but most drivers don't and some don't even slow down more than is physically required to make a turn.
So if a cyclist or a pedestrian appears in path of such car unexpectedly (because there might be high vehicle waiting for green on the next lane) it is a dangerous situation.
And I live in Europe.
Dublin is similar to the UK as far as I could tell, and honestly it felt like one of the worst design of traffic lights ever. Waiting for 2-3 minutes on a red light is pretty common, and green only lasts for 20-30 seconds. It's an absolute disaster for pedestrians, and as a result everyone jaywalks like crazy. I would say other countries have this right, even if drivers do have to give way to pedestrians immediately after a turn.
In some areas extra lights for new cycle paths operate asynchronously to the road traffic lights, these can be within 25m, worsening the gridlock and the pedestrian invasion of junctions.
In city centre areas a 30kmph speed limit is in force. A green for a motorist only ever means "proceed with caution", and a pedestrian already crossing the road at a junction always has priority (something many drivers don't seem aware of). Urban road user mortality is ~50% higher than Sweden, still relatively low compared to the EU overall, but the pending 2019 stats are worse.
Nearby, in a shopping/student district, there is a dual-carriage-away with high pedestrian crossing flow. It is only green for pedestrians for a few seconds before going to flashing-amber for both. It makes some sense as it's so wide that many cars can pass while people are still crossing.
However, as a pedestrian, I really hate it and feel unsafe. It rewards driver aggression because they treat it as green try to intimidate pedestrians by racing at any that are crossing or thinking about it.
Ultimately I think it angers both parties because each one thinks they have right of way and the other party is in error when really the flashing-amber has made it ambiguous and turns it into "aggressor wins".
So when you're driving around Oslo you have to be prepared for a pedestrian to step in front of you at any second. It certainly creates a careful, "slow & steady" driving mentality towards pedestrians. (This does not necessarily make them safer drivers at other times. Immigrants to Norway often discuss amongst themselves how bad Norwegian drivers can be.)
Also I was quite suprised the first time I heard of it being on to run a red light if you’re turning right. This is not legal AFAIK in all of Scandinavia nor the majority of Europe.
I'd like to stress that Italy is quite diverse throughout and not all us Italians resemble the stereotype. Happy new year.
In LA you get a ticket for jaywalking, while in NYC everyone crosses anywhere including weaving though moving traffic. And some cities in Maine the pedestrian always has the right away at cross walks and otherwise don't have lights.
Isn't that the very point of a crosswalk?
This is mostly true for Germany as well. At least in big cities.
However, people try not to do that when there are children present.