Excusing failure

Excusing failure

Another Vision Zero failure story comes out of Portland, Oregon. Five years into its ten year plan to eliminate traffic injuries, it looks like deaths are increasing. The city’s transportation director made an off-the-script admission: “A lot of it is out of our control.” When deaths go down, Vision Zero is working. When deaths go […]

Two-faced regulators

Two-faced regulators

I recently read Katherine Eban’s Bottle of Lies, an investigation into the generic drug industry. I found some familiar themes in the discord between de jure and de facto rules. The FDA has a reputation as a tough enforcer. Stories abound of petty bureaucrats showing their authority. Every step of the manufacturing process has to […]

War of words

War of words

I suppose it was a win-win situation. The police officer got to yell at somebody and I got to my destination sooner. But more importantly it was a warning about how police testify. As a favor to police unions Massachusetts does not follow national standards for temporary traffic control. When the bucket truck comes in […]

Downward variation

Downward variation

I came across two strange articles recently. One claimed reducing speed limits reduced the speed of traffic. Another claimed reducing speed limits reduced crashes. Of course it’s not that simple. Reducing the speed limit in areas of heavy fog may have reduced speed more than the fog alone did. Reducing speed limits during snow storms […]

Sounds of silence

Sounds of silence

A little birdie told me the age of the car alarm is over. In the 1990s my life’s background noise was car alarms. They were especially a problem at the car wash next door. They were also part of general urban noise. My Escort had an alarm only because I saved more on insurance than […]

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