Engineers Follow Standards, but Can’t Account for Outliers, Says Expert

Engineers designing for a walking speed of 3.5 ft/s may not account for outliers, as seen when a Twitter user calculated a woman’s walking speed to be 2.2 ft/s. Following standards is not a breach of ethics, but it can overlook individual variations..

Google Maps Helps Locate Incident Location

Imagine finding yourself in an unfamiliar area and needing to quickly find your way. In today’s technological age, Google Maps has become the go-to tool for navigating unknown territories. And that’s exactly what happened in a recent incident that has sparked a debate about engineering standards and ethics.

Chaz, a social media user, shared a tweet discussing an incident where he found the location of an event using Google Maps. Using his expertise, Chaz calculated the walking speed of the individual involved to be approximately 2.2 feet per second. This raised questions about engineering standards, as professionals in the field are trained to design for a walking speed of 3.5 feet per second.

Engineering Standards and Ethical Considerations

Engineers play a vital role in ensuring the safety and functionality of various structures and systems. They follow specific standards and guidelines to ensure their designs meet the requirements of the intended purpose. However, as Chaz rightly pointed out, standards may not always account for outliers or unique situations.

While it is essential for engineers to adhere to established principles, it is also crucial to consider the specific circumstances and context in which their designs will be implemented. This requires a balance between following standards and addressing individual needs.

The Limitations of Engineering Standards

The incident highlighted by Chaz underscores the limitations of engineering standards. Although these standards serve as a valuable benchmark, they cannot always anticipate every possible scenario. Engineers must use their expertise and judgment to adapt designs to unique circumstances.

It is important to note that engineers are not typically breaking any “code of ethics” when they follow standards. Instead, they are working within established guidelines to ensure consistency and reliability in their designs. However, incidents like this remind us that standards should not be viewed as inflexible rules but rather as a starting point for engineering solutions.


The incident brought to light by Chaz’s tweet serves as a reminder of the complex nature of engineering and the challenges faced by professionals in the field. While standards provide a valuable framework for design, they cannot account for every possible scenario. Engineers must constantly evaluate and adapt their approaches to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their work.

As technology continues to advance and new challenges arise, it becomes increasingly important for engineers to strike a balance between adhering to standards and addressing unique circumstances. By doing so, they can ensure that their designs meet the needs of individuals while maintaining the highest levels of safety and functionality.


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