Sunday musings: Cruise ship pollution, Old airport lessons again, Pedestrian deaths

cruise ship pollutionToday we look at airports of the future, where the problems of travelers are about the same as they were in the past. Only today, the airports are far bigger and so are the same old problems. We look at the counterintuitive fact that as traffic accidents and deaths are decreasing, pedestrian deaths are increasing. Strange. And, finally, we examine cruise line pollution that is just as bad as that found in small cities. What seems pure and natural, is anything but.

A single cruise ship pollution effect can be as much as a million cars

If you’re planning a vacation somewhere with fresh air, a cruise ship might not be your ideal destination. Today’s cruise ships create the same pollution that can be found in a city of the same size. From effluents being tossed overboard to particulate matter swirling around the ship from the smokestacks, there is plenty of pollution to go around. What seems isolated and pristine sailing along the ocean blue can be filled with pollution that follows the massive ships and also affects the coastlines of many islands.

A lot of people are enchanted by the prospect of leaving their noisy and polluted city homes for a couple of relaxing weeks in the open sea. But although they might be in the middle of nowhere, cruise passengers are exposed to more pollution than in their crowded cities.

When the particle counter was placed on the deck downwind of the ship’s funnels, it measured 84,000 ultrafine particles per cubic centimeter — that’s more than double the levels measured in London’s Piccadilly Circus by the same crew. Right next to the ship’s funnels, though, the measurement jumped to 144,000, peaking at 226,000.

And because a cruise ships’ engines have to operate 24/7, they contribute significantly to coastline pollution and affect the health of people living in port towns.

How to Sail Happy DownloadIn ‘Airports of the Future,’ everything new is old again

This article from posits that many of the old problems of airports are still unsolved. The author said that airports of the future are still faced with trying to solve the problems of the past. The new airports are still facing the same old problems but now on a much grander scale. What do you think?

…as a scholar of the history of U.S. airports, I’m most interested to see that all these shiny improvements are still struggling to solve the problems that have vexed airport managers and passengers since at least the late 1950s. Even at the dawn of the jet age, airlines had trouble moving people and bags through airports — and they still do. It’s unclear that bigger airports serving ever more passengers will have an easier time than their smaller, less crowded predecessors.

As more people fly more often, the pace of growth and unexpected events have often overwhelmed the best intended designs and plans. After more than 60 years of trying, it’s an open question whether the ultimate airport of the future — one where passengers and their bags move quickly through a space that’s enjoyable to be in — could ever exist at all.

People aren’t walking more, but more pedestrians are getting killed

The number of pedestrians getting struck and killed by vehicles on America’s roadways has been on the rise in recent years and there are steps that all levels of government could be taking to address the problem, according to a report released last month.

Despite the increase in fatalities, people were not walking more during the 10-year period that researchers examined. And while people were driving more, vehicle miles travelled in 2017 was only 8.1 percent higher than in 2008, while pedestrian deaths rose over a third.

Pedestrian fatalities during the decade also increased as a share of all motor vehicle-related deaths, from 11.8 percent to around 16.1 percent. In contrast, motorist deaths declined.

Included in the report is a ranking of all 50 states and 100 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. based on a Pedestrian Danger Index.

Featured photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen of cruise ship on Unsplash