NEW YORK CITY — Forty-eight people were fatally struck by subways in 2016... in the Stations! Is Death by subway in New York more tolerable than death by UBER in Arizona? Even when it is 50 to 1? It would appear so. Arizona's governor literally shut down UBER AV in their state, over one accident.
Yet the New York subways remain open, as they have been for decades, as if it is just "par for the course" that 50 people are going to die every year while standing in a subway station in NY, and yet it remains operative... Every year somebody is going to trip, or bump another person, or get bumped onto a track when a train arrives. But in Arizona the Governor shuts down all Uber autonomous cars in AZ, indefinitely, after a strange incident (could be suicide). An inattentive pedestrian crossed a high speed 45 mph road at 10 p.m., not in a crosswalk, no street lights, dressed in a black shirt, and UBER gets the sole blame for this accident (an accident that no human could have avoided given the time constraints).
What about the designers of the subway in New York? Plenty of decades-old blame there, but I guess it is acceptable to talk now of "reductions" in deaths, we are so used to it, rather than talk about how unsafe the subway platforms actually are, and why are we accepting of this for so long?
The NY subway lacks proper safety compared to even the so-called "developing" country of China where their subways have glass walls with doors separating peds from trains to prevent this sort of thing. Yet, the NY subway still runs every day, show must go on, despite the huge safety flaws. This amazes me, the inconsistency of concern over human life, depending on in what part of our transportation system it took place.
It also amazes me, the concern some have over the safety of using robotics, when the human driven transportation system yields 37,000+ fatalities on the road in the Year 2017*, and every year in the USA. Are we now suddenly afraid of computers because they can drive a car? Computers drive the planes already, and the trains, the rockets, the military drones, etc., and just about all other things in our world. Cars are no different.
Despite 37,000 deaths in the USA each year, the roadways are still open and running same as always, and Highway Patrols in each state are tallying up the casualties, every year. How is it that Autonomous Vehicles are a bogeyman with a couple of accidents...but status quo transportation is not? It's not reasonable, how many become desensitized to the fact that 37,000 people die on the roads every year in the USA. My son died last year on the roads, hit by a drug impaired driver making crazy human "decisions" and caused a head-on fatality. My son was a part of that 37,000, and I am very much believing we have a better solution ahead, in robotics, in AV. I can say definitively, that if we had AV in place today, my son would still be alive. And so would the other 37,000.
Grant Johnson, Traffic Engineer http://www.prism.engineering/experience.html