Ethic of Road Ecology aims to understand, assess and systematically investigate moral issues concerning road traffic. The ethical reasoning in this area should take into account aspects of the environment, engineering, public health, social, cultural and financial influences, etc.
Meta-ethics: The Underlying Principles of Ethics
The first, and most fundamental, ethical issue that road ecology must address is the question to what extent do ecological impacts intersect with and measure against other value structures. This is because a symbiotic relationship between social and road ethics is needed to appraise how far our ethical responsibilities extend, as well as to certify a road as desirable or undesirable (Jaeger, 2015).
Normative Ethics: Approaches to Ethics
The second, and more general, issue that road ecology must address is the question of how to evaluate whether an action is morally appropriate or not. This includes questions about the rightness of human actions, the morality of war, and the ethics of medical treatments.
Applied Ethics: Using the principles of normative ethics to address real-life situations and problems.
The third, and more specific, issue that road ecology must address is the issue of how to use the principles of applied ethics to address real-life situations and problems. This is because ethical decisions concerning traffic have a direct bearing on the safety and wellbeing of the people who use them, as well as on the environment in which they are located.
Despite the fact that a great deal of work has been done on many of these ethical topics, the subject of road ethics has been largely neglected by philosophers. This has been partly because of the difficulty and complexity of these issues.
Another reason is that, like any topic in the realm of applied ethics, road traffic has a wide range of different ethical dilemmas and questions. This means that a solitary study on the subject would be very challenging and time-consuming, if not impossible.
Even if there were a single, well-conducted, scientific, and rigorous study on road ethics, there would be no guarantee that it would have any lasting impact on the practice of traffic and the morality of traffic itself. In fact, it might have the opposite effect and worsen traffic conditions in the long run!
This is especially true in cities, where a lack of infrastructure and poor transport planning are responsible for much of the current state of traffic. As a result, ethical decisions in transportation planning have not been developed with consideration of the effects of roads on the natural environment, and have often been based on a simple cost-benefit analysis.
The field of road ecology should be devoted to the re-orientation and improvement of the way in which road ethics are conceptualized, studied and addressed. This can be achieved by: