Here in Brazil, with the automobile culture having basically killed the trains over the past 70 years, it’s not very common to live with iron crossings – that is, places where streets or roads intersect with train lines. Still, this is a very common occurrence in the rest of the world – and it is giving tech companies a headache.
The information is Political: about three years ago, an accident killed an engineer and injured dozens of people after a truck driver broke into a railroad crossing and collided with a passenger train in California (United States). Shortly after the incident, traffic safety officials began calling for Google, a Apple, a Microsoft and to other companies that maintain map platforms: expressly signal railway crossings in their services.
The problem: almost three years later, none of them particularly endeavored to do so.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB, the US traffic safety agency), one of the main reasons for the 2016 accident was the fact that the truck driver was disoriented in an area he did not know; he broke into the intersection because he believed he had the preference. According to the agency, if the map platforms indicated more rigidly the areas of iron crossings, incidents like this could be avoided.
The NTSB, analyzing this incident and noting that hundreds of people die in such incidents every year in the USA, has notified a number of companies about the need to intensify iron crossing markings. Not only Apple, Google and Microsoft were targeted by the campaign; other manufacturers and developers, such as TomTom, Garmin, MapQuest and UPS, also received the organ’s appeal.
Of all, only two responded to the NTSB: TomTom said it has included iron crosses on its maps for more than a decade. Google, on the other hand, was less collaborative, saying that it was afraid to make the experience of its maps too full of information and «below ideal» for its users. Apple and the other companies remained silent.
If something about the subject will change in the near future, we will have to wait and see.
via The Verge