Perceptions may have been altered

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By Patricia Max

During at least two public meetings where several designs of Trinity were proposed, the contractor, MIG, displayed a graph and explained that it showed how dangerous Trinity Drive is.
That graph represented data found in a document entitled Environmental Assessment New Mexico 502 Improvement Project: Knecht Street to Tewa Loop Los Alamos County, New Mexico.  
The lead agencies were the Federal Highway Administration and New Mexico Department of Transportation. The graph purported to show that there are 528 accidents per million vehicle miles in the 8/10 of a mile between Tewa and Knecht. Using the traffic count of about 15,000 cars daily between those two streets, it is easy to calculate that it would take about 90 days to travel a million vehicle miles. That means there are 528 accidents every 90 days or so or 2,112 accidents per year between Tewa and Knecht. The data really represented 528 accidents per 100 million vehicle miles but was typed incorrectly in the state assessment.
Using the same traffic count, it would take about 24 years to travel 100 million vehicle miles between Tewa and Knecht, resulting in about 2.2 accidents per year.  
Companies that make a living using accident data as a basis for street design should verify the data they use to generate designs and to perform traffic simulations.

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