Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2005-04-27

Safe Design Can't Withstand the Race for Ultimate Efficiency

I was reading Robert Brady's post on the strict adherence to timeliness which may put undue stress on train conductors in Japan.

They certainly are on the dot; you can practically set your watch by them. If a train is late even by half a minute, waiting veteran passengers know immediately, begin looking at their watches and down the track for the reason.

Eerily enough, Rick and I caught an episode on PBS that spotlighted Japan's high speed trains the night before the awful crash. Conductors, engineers and passengers spoke highly of the efficiency and accuracy of the trains, and we watched with envy knowing our own commuter system is substandard on a good day.

I awoke the next day to learn Japan's '40 year no-passenger-fatality record' no longer had relevance.

I wonder if we as a society place so much emphasis on "right here, right now" that we push the best, safest, most well designed products to the point of implosion.

The design of new automobiles continues to get safer; however, with China's population waxing and affluence on the rise, there will soon be an even greater number of cars, trains and other wheeled vehicles on the road.

Can good design withstand the impact of an even faster, more immediate world attitude?
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