ryanov wrote:Read the comments on almost any article about the accident. "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" will eventually appear in every one of them. And it's a good question.
That question, "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" doesn't appear in every comment. And these comments are coming via the Internet, correct?
Tommy Meehan wrote:I'm talking about keeping things in perspective.
Nasadowsk wrote:But humans are horrid at that.
Tommy Meehan wrote:I think that depends. On the Internet, yes. In real life, not so much. Just sayin'.
I'm disagreeing with the idea the general public is up in arms about railroad travel since the Spuyten Duyvil derailment. I'm very skeptical that is true. And the comments referred to are from people who have just read an article about a train derailment and are coming from people who feel strongly enough to respond with a comment.
The other issue -- and this is well known to pollsters -- is the way the issue is framed. Two examples:
- 1. People are surveyed about local transportation.
- When you use your car, say you're going food shopping, when you get in the car do you feel safe? Safe about the trip to the supermarket?
- Say you take a transit bus to the mall, when you board the bus do you feel safe? As a rider?
- When you board a suburban train to go to Manhattan, do you feel safe?
- 2. People are surveyed about train travel.
- Are you familiar with the derailment at Spuyten Duyvil? Four riders were killed? The engineer "zoned out" and took a 30 mph curve at 80 mph?
- Has that changed your feelings about train travel? Do you still feel safe when you board a train?
- Do you think the railroads should install overspeed protection, so the risk of that kind of accident -- ignoring a speed limit at a sharp curve -- would be automated out of existence?
In example two I would wager you will get a lot more people saying they have safety concerns about train travel than would the people being surveyed in example one. Because of the way the questions are framed you're going to get a lot more negative responses than you will in example one. You can influence the answers by the way you ask the questions.