Newspapers as a Source of Fact and Opinion on Pedestrians' Safety, Comfort, Convenience
There are two important research design aspects to the newspaper article searches and reviews. On the one hand, both the process and product aspects of the WSI project appear to be generally supported. And, on the other hand, the searches and reviews did not produce evidence that causes us to reject the findings, formulations, and recommendations presented in Walking Security Index .
At a general level, then, it is concluded that the contents of Walking Security Index are confirmed by the newspaper literature. As a result, it appears reasonable to claim that due regard has now been given to all the bodies of literature — learned, legal, regulatory, professional, public interest group, private (vested) interest group, and popular (newspaper) — that contribute to (better) serving and promoting pedestrians' security.
In addition to confirming what has been done, the newspaper study also revealed several avenues to be pursued as future WSI-related activities.
First, newspaper articles are a rich source of substantive ideas about new or different WSI-related concepts, formulations, and variables. And, they provide news about WSI-related developments in a variety of locales, traffic situations, planning environments, political circumstances, etc. As a result, it appears clear that a high-order newspaper search and review capability is a "must" for any government which is committed in practice to serving and promoting pedestrians' security.
Second, newspapers comprise the only literature examined which is "open" to all manner of commentators. This feature is of great importance since it means that the facts and opinions presented by elected officials, professional staff and citizens in general are publicly available for all to see. As a result, on topics such as traffic calming, roadway widenings, red-light cameras, etc., newspapers provide a relatively timely and balanced commentary on what is being said by whom about pedestrians' circumstances, expectations and experiences.
In terms of immediate implications, one that comes to mind involves pilot studies and other projects that are designed to implement WSI findings and circumstances. On the basis of the positive results realized to date, it appears highly advisable to incorporate a newspaper search and review component into the research design of such studies and projects.
The kinds of literature pertinent to the Walking Security Index project were initially outlined in Interim Report I (Wellar, 1996a) and were discussed in detail in several subsequent project publications (Wellar, 1997b, 1997c, 1998a).