Allocating Public Funds: Morality and Constraints

by James I. Taylor, Univ of Notre Dame, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Highway Safety: At the Crossroads


The highway safety engineer is continually faced with the trade-off between expenditures for highway safety improvements and reductions in highway fatalities, injuries, and property damage to vehicles and roadside objects. Unfortunately, many of these decisions must be made on the basis of estimates of the eventual outcomes of safety programs, and these vary widely in statistical reliability. There are at least four philosophical concepts that may be helpful in this type of decision making - (1) a 'moral imperative' which holds that preservation of life is always the paramount goal, (2) utilitarianism, and it's manifestation as benefit/cost analysis, (3) intuitionism, and (4) willingness to pay. These concepts are discussed as they relate to highway safety programs.

Subject Headings: Accidents | Traffic accidents | Highway engineering | Traffic safety | Safety | Damage (structural) | Vehicles | Statistics

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