Impaired driving: Media is helping!

When reporters explain the causes of a collision and emphasize on drivers’ choices, they are also educating the public on how to prevent crashes, injuries, or fatalities. In fact, experimental studies have demonstrated that this type of journalism produces positive changes in the public’s perception of the problem.

Last week, I was glad to see that an impaired driving conviction was generously covered by the media and even made the front page of local newspapers1. In particular, Matt Kieltyka’s piece exhibited traits of what experts consider good road accident journalism: it contained a detailed description of the event, including its human context, antecedents, the aftermath, and it explained how drinking and driving led to the death of a little girl1.

Continue reading “Impaired driving: Media is helping!”

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it

Why would some people protest against an initiative to do them good? Why some altruistic endeavours get sabotaged by the very beneficiaries of the efforts?

Why would some people protest against an initiative to do them good? Why some altruistic endeavours get sabotaged by the very beneficiaries of said efforts?

Last month, a local Vancouver newspaper reported on a group of residents who oppose an ex-neighbour’s initiative to embellish a nearby city lot. Although this proposal includes investing $7,650 of the city’s money to improve this piece of land, many residents protested against it through anonymous emails, letters to the city and even confrontations on the street! “The neighbours are up in arms”—one resident commented [1].  Meanwhile, some us wonder why these people are protesting against a plan that seems well-intended and beneficial. What is it about the whole situation that makes it deserving of such tremendous furor?

Continue reading “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it”

Compromising sucks!

In a couple of months, Vancouver B.C. will undergo an important social experiment that will test transit users and drivers’ ability to coexist with bicycle riders. The Burrard Bridge, one of the three constructions that connect the west side of the city with the downtown area (see map), will have one of its lanes converted into a bicycle-only path. Approved by the city council in early May, this decision wasn’t free of controversy [1]: while a number of bicycle advocates were disappointed that only one lane will be converted, some drivers and transit users recalled with worry the traffic jams created by a similar experiment carried out a decade ago.

Continue reading “Compromising sucks!”

Rational negotiations have feelings too

A dispute between TransLink—the region’s public transit authority—and some post-secondary students made the cover of the Vancouver Sun on Monday last week. Although the students rightfully claim to be unfairly treated, negotiation and decision analysis shows that they made irrational choices in the past. On the other hand, TransLink could have handled more effectively the emotions involved in these negotiations.

A dispute between TransLink—the public transit authority in Vancouver, BC—and some post-secondary students made the cover of the Vancouver Sun on Monday last week. Although the students rightfully claim to be unfairly treated, negotiation and decision analysis shows that they made irrational choices in the past. On the other hand, TransLink could have handled more effectively the emotions involved in these negotiations.

Continue reading “Rational negotiations have feelings too”