Newspapers as a Source of Fact and Opinion on Pedestrians' Safety, Comfort, Convenience
Literature searches and reviews undertaken during the Walking Security Index project examined the following bodies of documentation: learned, professional, legal, regulatory, vested/special interest, and public interest. This report on the popular literature (newspapers) completes the literature search and review component of the project.
With the client's permission, accompanied by additional funding due to the difficulty of the newspaper study, this part of the WSI project was brought to conclusion after the final report - - Walking Security Index - - was submitted in July, 1998. As a result, a re-orientation in study design was required. That is, rather than contributing to the formation of indexes and recommendations, the newspaper study now serves the purpose of demonstrating the extent and degree to which articles in newspapers are consistent (or not) with the contents of the final report.
The central topics used to "test" for consistency are the concepts, variables, indexes and recommendations contained in Walking Security Index . Thirty tables, containing the keywords used for the searches and the titles of several hundred newspaper articles, are presented to illustrate the search and review activity.
It is our finding that the contents of Walking Security Index are confirmed in very large measure by the facts and opinions expressed in newspaper articles on the matter of pedestrians' safety, comfort and convenience. Conversely, to complete the confirmation statement, no articles were located which cause us to reject or modify the concepts, variables, indexes or recommendations contained in the final report.
It is recommended, therefore, that the Region of Ottawa-Carleton implement the WSI-based newspaper search and review procedures as a means of:
- Serving and promoting pedestrians' security - - safety, comfort, convenience - - when using signalized intersections; and
- Achieving the Region's Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan objectives of significantly increasing the walking share of trips made for school, recreation, shopping, business, work and other purposes in Ottawa-Carleton.
As a closing note on the Walking Security Index project, 1996-2000, Region of Ottawa-Carleton, contacts made during the search and review of newspapers greatly expanded the network of experts (elected officials, professional staff, citizen, journalists) with an interest in pedestrians' security. Indications are that publications (hardcopy, electronic copy) of this report will further expand the expert network, and the opportunities for information-sharing on how to better serve and promote pedestrians' security.