Our assignment was to find a problem in our community and then solve it. Over the course of the semester we found six different sources of 3 different types: audio, video, and text. I found a huge amount of information, from NPR, the governor’s office, the Anchorage Daily News, the US DOT, various government reports, and TV news stories. After synthesizing all this information together, I summarized the main problem, analyzed all the possible solutions, and deduced the best one. Here are my findings.
Project on SoundCloud
I am very satisfied with how I did. My research was comprehensive, in depth, and accurate, everything that research could hope to be. My analysis and conclusion seem logical and effective. Finally, I really like my final script for the presentation. I think I nailed the tone of a podcaster or reporter, exactly as I intended. If I could improve one thing, it would be the quality of my speaking, which was sometimes a bit shoddy as I mispronounced words or messed up the inflection. I might try harder to get rid of the background fuzz too, though I don’t know how to do that, as I used a higher quality microphone in a silent room. I like my music choices and editing as well. Overall, this project was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot too.
I – Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes
using technology. Students:
a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression
c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
d. identify trends and forecast possibilities
III – Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
a. plan strategies to guide inquiry
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and
c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
d. process data and report results
IV – Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make
informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
a. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation
b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project
c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions
d. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions
Conan, Neal, host. What’d Make You Stop Texting and Driving? N.d. Talk of the Nation. NPR, 07 June 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <http://www.npr.org/2012/06/07/154519836/whatd-make-you-stop-texting-while-driving>.
Neal Conan hosts a radio show for National Public Radio in which he discusses the problem of driving while using a cell phone and other distracted driving habits. Conan explores the topic and possible solutions by referencing various studies and statistics, explaining recent legislation that affects the issue, reading the comments and concerns of people who wrote in, and interviewing callers live. The author, in examining the issue, is both trying to get people involved, as well as find potential solutions that our government could possibly institute. The previous source indicated that the leading cause of accidents was driver error, which is greatly increased with distractions. While cellphones are only one sort of distraction, the preventative principles discussed here can be applied to other dangerous behavior.
I am very interested in this article because it applies so much to me, as well as everyone in general. It is almost guaranteed that the legal status and technology options for cell phones will change in the next ten or even five years. I’m not sure which methods I like more: the technological ones or the legislative ones. For instance, similar to the option that was discussed of a lock on cellphones when in the car, I’ve driven in a car with a radio that is inoperable when the vehicle is moving. This was incredibly annoying as I was merely the passenger, and it was entirely possible for me to adjust it while the driver maintained his concentration. The car would sound a reminder to buckle your seatbelt if you were in the passenger seat, showing that the car obviously already has a method of determining if there was a passenger. Why hadn’t the engineers thought to allow the radio to be operated in this case! I think this would be an issue for any sort of safety device or restrictive technology put into cars. People would hate it, and would oppose wherever they could, even if it made them safer, just because it is too obnoxious. That is where fines and the other options have benefits. But the technologies are fail proof, while enforcement is not omnipotent. I think the best thing would be a technology that is unobtrusive without drawbacks that would always work to prevent distractions. Unfortunately, people often find these distractions fun or necessary.
This is a great article, I would definitely check it out as well as reading my analysis.
Smith, Ken. “Public Meeting Addresses Seward Highway Safety.” Turnagain Times[Girdwood] 20 Aug. 2009: 1-16. Turnagain Times. Midnight Sun Communications, 2009. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <http://www.turnagaintimes.com/PDFs/TT8_20_09.pdf>.
Ken Smith, in this newspaper article Public Meeting Addresses Seward Highway Safety, discusses the recent issues associated with safety on the Seward Highway and the public effort to fix them. Smith goes about this by providing some specific crashes to show the need, then describing and quoting the events at the meeting, referencing statistics on the highway, and relating some solutions proposed at the meeting and the details about them. The author attempts to inform the community about the problem, efforts that are going on, possible solutions, so the reader may help. As an article that answers the research question very similar to mine, this was a great source to get inspiration from. A journalist hunted down this information and compiled it all in a great summary, which is just what I need to do. I can follow up and reference many of the sources he quotes.
At the bottom of the page there are three links to DOT sources about crashes. This is the kind of hard data that I was looking for earlier to figure out the situation. I thought it was interesting having all of the statistics on location, cause, and fatalities of all the crashes. This will be invaluable for figuring out the most effective way of reducing accidents. For instance, Windy Corner looks particularly deadly for unimpaired crashes, while drug and alcohol related incidents are more concentrated around Bird Point. Would education and enforcement be the best allocation of funds, or should we splurge on actual highway renovations? I could contact the experts that he quotes in the article. I thought it was interesting Bob McVitty’s comment on the cost of human life. It seems like after this many deaths $600 million would be worth it. Also, from personal experience I noticed that a lot of crashes, even maybe a majority, were around the easier sections of the road such as the straight aways right out of Girdwood. Maybe people stop being careful and think they haven’t gotten to the dangerous part yet.
Part three rolls on in.
James, Kyle. German Town’s Traffic Plan: Remove Signs, Curbs. N.d. NPR: Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR, 19 Jan. 2008. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18217318>.
National Public Radio in the short radio program “German Town’s Traffic Plan: Remove Signs, Curbs” describes the efforts of one small town to increase safety along one of their busiest roads. Kyle James researches the issue by conducting interviews with locals, industry representatives, city officials, and by quoting statistics and other primary sources. The purpose of the article is to open America’s way of thinking of managing our traffic. Perhaps this could be implemented into some of our similar cities. This source is relevant to my topic because it offers a different philosophy into my problem. While our two situations are wildly different, maybe a minimalistic approach is a better option, as opposed to adding new technology.
I liked the counter-intuitive problem solving. I know from personal experience that my best/safest driving is when I’m unsure or hesitant. The human factor, while often the hardest to control, is still the most effective. If people are too scared to go fast, then there is no danger at all because they cannot lose control. But on the Seward Highway this may not work because there are not all of the pedestrians to worry about; the default is for people to be careless, not careful. However, it could be effective to use this same psychology, and make drivers scared in some way, while not actually giving them specifics. AM radio traffic updates, such as warning drivers about “Ice near the Potter’s Marsh Weigh Station” might do more harm than good, because then drivers would be careless on all other sections of the road because they assume that means it’s safe. Doubt is the best medicine.
Parnell, Sean. “Governor Announces New Seward Hwy. Safety Plan.” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLK_MdB7pU>.
This is a press announcement by Gov Sean Parnell and his administration, detailing the past and future efforts of the state to minimize the danger along the Seward Highway and other Alaska Safety Corridors. He supports his claim by offering examples of various planned and completed projects in each of the plans three components: Enforcement, Education, and Engineering. Parnell called upon three other experts, Public Safety Commissioner Joe Masters, Transportation Commissioner Pat Kemp, and DOT Consultant Steve Horn, to provide details and back him up. Their purpose was to document the efforts that they’ve taken and show that they are good administrators
Included are many possibilities for improvements. I could pick any one of these solutions and work on my own improvements from there. For instance, I think some improved public education in Girdwood would be an excellent topic. Perhaps I could propose a message board on the way out of Girdwood that displays current weather conditions and advisories, similar to the one near Potter’s Marsh. I found that this wasn’t a very in depth source however. These are politicians at a press conference, trying to prove something to the public. There aren’t any real technical details and it’s full of empty words. But it’s a good starting place for ideas, and I can fill out the details for each project from different sources.
Here is my first installment of my CRAVE Research. It falls into the category of Reading.
United States. US Department of Transportation. “Washington’s Target Zero Teams Project: Reductions in Fatalities During Year One.” Behavioral Safety Research. By J. Chiccino. N.p., Nov. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/811687.pdf>.
This is a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing the success of a diving safety initiative started in Washington in 2006 called the Target Zero Team Project. It was comprised of a special task force of 21 troopers who patrolled during prime times for impaired driving, focusing on catching DUI’s, speeding, and reckless driving. The agency summarizes that the program was effective, reducing fatalities and accidents caused by speeding, drugs, and alcohol, in the targeted area. This claim is backed up first by a description of the program, then by a collection of data on the number of tickets given and the number of accidents that occurred before and after the program. The purpose of this report is to provide a source of information for other states or municipalities that are considering a similar program, and to prove that the program was a success and the department did not waste funds. This is exactly what I need, because it provides a relevant example of one type of solution that may work on the Seward Highway.
I found the results surprising as well as positive. I didn’t imagine that merely an increased officer presence would solve people’s behavior, but it did. Also, the project only cost $4.5 million, which isn’t much for the scope of their project. We would need to only patrol 40 miles of highway, as opposed to a whole state! This could be a real economical solution to the dangers of the Seward Highway. But perhaps this isn’t relevant because it addresses impaired drivers and not the environmental hazards. The natural hazards of the Seward highway could be the main cause of the danger. More research is necessary to uncover the source, so we can target this specifically.
Topic: The Seward Highway
Research Question: How can Girdwood and Anchorage as a community make the Seward Highway safer for everyone who travels on it?