This is a guest post from Bevan Woodward
Recently I lodged a complaint with Engineering NZ relating to the common practice of road engineers who trade-off the safety of pedestrians to avoid minor inconvenience for motorists. I believe that such practice contravenes the Engineering NZ’s Code of Ethical Conduct which requires all members to “take reasonable steps to safeguard the health and safety of people.”
The details of my complaint are here.
In a nutshell, the road engineer in question has developed the “Australasian Pedestrian Crossing Facility Selection Web Tool 1 ” which is a spreadsheet that explicitly trades off safety for pedestrians against minor (and inconsequential) travel time delays for motorists.
The end result is that:
- pedestrian crossing facilities are typically given very poor (typically negative) Benefit Cost Ratios, meaning new pedestrian costing are unlikely to be approved for funding, and
- the tool favours pedestrian crossing facilities that provide poor levels of service for pedestrians, eg: refuge islands, as these do not cause delay for motorists.
This tool is distributed by NZTA to all Councils for their use.
The initial feedback from Engineering NZ is that this complaint is too hot for them to handle, and could I take it to Austroads or NZTA instead. I have refused, as I believe Engineering NZ is the proper forum and I make no apologies about this being a sizable issue which will cause discomfort for many road engineers.
UPDATE: The Transportation Group National Committee, a subgroup of ENZ, has informed us that they are considering Bevan’s complaint, and are not ignoring or dismissing it.