Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A day without road accidents

In Israel yesterday a private initiative calling for 'a day without road accidents' had ended with another sad addition to the statistics - 3 casualties, 149 accidents. While I don't want to dicuss this specific initiative, I would like to discuss some ideas it represented.

Two axis of reference
One of my thoughts over this was that we can picture two axis of reference to 'how to handle road accidents'.

The first axis will be about the plane of the actions and will scale from the Physical on the one end to the Perception (or Cognition) on the other. An action such as 'making people believe that there will be no accidents if they just want to' (the way the 24/7 initiative was perceived by many) will be at the Perception end entirely. An action such as 'building wider roads with more lanes' will be at the Physical end entirely. An action such as 'police enforcment of speeding limits' will be in the middle, as it combines a physical element (actual policeman with a speed tracker, actual reports) with a preception (such enforcement is used mainly to deter drivers from speeding, after all you can't track all drivers who cross the limit).

The second axis will be about the actors and will scale from the Governmental\Public on the one end and the Private on the other. A actor such as the 24/7 initiative is purely Private, not endorsed or funded by any governmental institute. An actor such as the legislator who leads a law requiring seat-belts is purely governmental. An actor such as as the 'Or Yarok' lobby is in the middle, as it's organized by a ombination of private people and public personas (such as Mayors, former legislators and former policemen, professors and doctors).

A magic quadrant or an equal spread?
What will we get if we try and place current efforts to minimize road accidents on a graph with these two axis? This is the graph that I came with, where the size of the circle represents the presence the activity has in the public eyes (IMHO):

So, is this graph an analyst 'magic quadrant', where the axis has direction and so one of the quadrants is the best to be in, or is it just a map of activities and the desired outcome would be a more or less equal spread of circles all around?
Well, assuming that the resources are limited (both governmental and private), I would like to see a more equal spread, but I think the public yearns for the 'magic quadrant' approach for two main reasons - physical actions are more real and short-term proving than perception actions, and the public wants the government to take responsibility over everything.

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