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  • Driverless Cars and the Trolley Problem

    The “Trolley Problem” is a long pondered ethical thought experiment; it is an intellectual exercise devised to highlight the moral conflicts that can arise in the making of decisions involving inescapable loss of life. Here is how Wikipedia presents it: “A runaway trolley is barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up …

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  • Fighting Traffic: the next battle

    Amazon Review Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, by Peter D Norton 5 out of 5 stars      By J. Adams, 9 May 2017 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase Fighting traffic is an instructive account of the social reconstruction of American cities that led to their domination by motordom – …

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  • The Pathway to Driverless Cars and the Sacred Cow Problem

    The Pathway to Driverless Cars and the Sacred Cow Problem Last Thursday (April 27, 2017) I was one of two speakers invited to lead the discussion at a National Infrastructure Commission roundtable on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. The first speaker discussed the “Readiness of the road network for connected and autonomous vehicles”. My presentation was …

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  • Driverless cars and the sacred cow problem

    The promoters of driverless cars have demonstrated remarkable progress in their ability to program their vehicles to respond with extreme deference to pedestrians, cyclists, and cars with human drivers. Such programming confers sacred cow status on all road users not in self-driving vehicles. The developers of autonomous vehicles acknowledge the need for new road safety …

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  • Risk and Culture

    Risk, most dictionaries agree, involves exposure to the possibility of loss or injury. Perceptions of this possibility are embedded in culture and vary enormously over space and time. One frequently encounters the contention that it is important to distinguish between “real”, “actual”, “objective” risks and those that are merely “perceived”. But all risk is perceived. Risk …

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  • Environmental groups’ failure over HS2

    Letter in Telegraph, 17 April2016 Environmental groups’ failure over HS2 SIR – It is now very clear indeed that the hugely expensive HS2 project is fundamentally flawed; yet it continues to make progress towards delivery in spite of compelling evidence justifying its cancellation. Its passage has been assisted by two important factors that are …

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  • Cycling and Safety: change must take root in people’s minds

      Last March I took part in a conference devoted to the promotion of cycling in Madrid. My presentation, in essay form, has now been published by World Transport: Policy and Practice. Herewith the abstract – This essay is a response to an invitation to provide an overview of the current state of cycling in …

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  • The Driverless Car Revolution – Amazon Review

    Driverless Car Revolution: buy mobility not metal by Rutt Bridges Review for **** 25 June, 2015 Highly recommended, but … Mobility Not Metal is an impressively clear and comprehensive account of the potential of the driverless car revolution – with a significant omission that we will come to shortly. It provides an intelligible description …

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  • Self driving cars and the child-ball problem

    “…if a ball were to roll onto a road, a human might expect that a child could follow. Artificial intelligence cannot yet provide that level of inferential thinking.” This quotation from 2012 has already been overtaken by the extraordinary progress in the development of self-driving cars. But programming a self-driving car to anticipate a child following …

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  • Risk: mathematical and otherwise

    Draft of essay commissioned for a special issue (June 2015) of the Mathematics Enthusiast entitled “Risk: mathematical or otherwise”. Still time to make changes so critical advice welcomed, especially from mathematicians.  Abstract What role might mathematicians have to play in the management of risk? The idea of turning a risk, a possibility of loss or injury, into a “calculated” …

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