Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Defying death on Portland's roads

Lying with Statistics
Steve Novick's shameless propaganda-filled bid for a Swedish-style car policy

OPB reported yesterdat (June 17, 2015) that the Portland City Council is touting dire statics about Portland's high traffic death rates as reason to fund major traffic-calming projects to decrease speed and increase the safety of automobiles in Portland.  They are torn between making roads safer and making them drivable.  Should Portland spend money on its backlog of road paving, or continue Portland's European make-over to bike-and-ride instead?

Portland Coty Council voted to adopt Sweden's "Vision Zero" program to Nd all traffic fatalities within 10 years with strategies like road design and lower speed limits.  There are some good aspects of the safety program, but let's be straight about the facts and motivations before buying into the validity of a problem or suggested solutions.

OPB News, June 17, 2015 By Amelia Templeton
Portland aims to eliminate traffic fatalities - Funding TBD
Here's a question: which city has a higher rate of traffic deaths per capita, Portland or New York?  If you guessed Portland, you're right.  On average, a littler more than 6 people out of 100,000 die on the road in Portland, compared to about 4 per 100,000 in New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

What they all forgot to mention is the rate of public transit riders per capita in New York compared to Portland.  Over 30% of New York commuters travel by public transit, compared to about 7% in Portland.  I am not a statistician, but could it be that Portland's roads actually safer than New York's given the percentage of people actually using the roads?

US Census:
Traffic fatalities by state for the 20-year period from 1990 to 2009 were down overall and were halved in Oregon, from 2.2 to 1.1.  The state and country are safer places to drive, probably due to safer cars, but no reason was given.

CDC-United States Census and National Vital Statistics System. 2009

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