The language of transport matters

The words we use to describe a situation can influence how that situation is perceived.

“Vehicle accident” means some wheeled transport had some bad luck. It implies that no-one is to blame. Whereas “car crash” reminds us there was sudden, unplanned stop by a car, and something was damaged. Possibly someone was injured. Steps are being made to use “crash”.

Transport organisations, governments and the media can influence how others see responsibility, cost and impact. The words they use are important. Some terms reveal the assumptions being made; other terms show who is defining the situation.

Here are some more terms to compare. Which do you use? Which have you seen?

“Pedestrian” and “person walking”.

“Street parking” and “subsidised/free car storage on public property“.

“Speed camera” and “safety camera”.

Jaywalking” and “crossing the street”.

“Pedestrian crossing button” and “beg button“.

“Shared path” and “contested path”.

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