Better traffic planning

The traffic management watchwords are Education, Engineering and Enforcement. The 3 E's. An article in the Vancouver Sun by Jennifer Saltman apprises us of an ICBC initiative to help the first “E”. Some statistics that are given by ICBC records show the number of crashes in BC grew by 23% between 2013 and 2016(from 260,000 to 320,000, an average of 875 crashes per day or 36 per hour). Further she points out that last year ICBC paid out 2.7 billion in injury claims costs and 1.5 billion in vehicle claims. If anyone wants to verify these statistics, they are available from ICBC.

The ICBC campaign is all about encouraging all BC drivers to be part of the solution to improve the overall quality of driving in our province. The program will include media advertisements, partnerships, public outreach, and online resources including an online quiz that will show drivers where they may need to improve their habits. A survey of BC drivers by Insights West showed that while 99% of respondents considered themselves to be good or excellent drivers, three quarters of them incorrectly answered road test questions.

The second “E” lies in the purview of traffic engineers to design safe highways and streets using the principals of physics and driver tendencies to provide for increasingly fast vehicles and heavier volumes of traffic. Often old roads must handle new vehicle designs or volumes that outstrip the roads capability. While opinions are important, the hard science holds sway and budgets can have 9 figures.

The 3rd “E” can hold a solution if limited budgets and awful driving habits seem to be tenacious obstacles. A good place to start investigating this issue is Wikipedia and a look at the “ traffic enforcement camera”. The articles fairly and objectively provides the reader with a comprehensive look at this option. Additional objective reading is provided by the Royal Automobile Club's comprehensive survey of camera enforcement written by Richard Allsop of the University College of London. The conclusion is that camera enforcement   “must be included in a traffic management” program. An easy reference to FAQ is the Saskatchewan Government Insurance article on a three year experiment that has resulted in adoption of camera enforcement in that province.(SGI photo speeding enforcement).

Kelowna could enter the 21st century of speed enforcement and save more than it's cost of installation and operation during the first year. The safety of police officers engaged in enforcing speeding on busy streets and highways is another reason to consider this option. The goal is to eliminate speeding and the hemorrhaging cost of crashes not to mention the human sacrifice that is currently happening. 

I remember a sign I saw in an office once that has stuck with me “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part” or my translation “I can't justify speeding just because I neglected to plan enough time to get somewhere”. 

Fred Evans

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