Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

emergency vehicle priority reduces response times by 20%

Posted On Thursday, 17 December 2015

A US$6 million rollout of new traffic signal technology is to be rolled out across Queensland, Australia, over the next four years to improve travel times for emergency services vehicles, allowing quicker response times to priority incidents across the state.

Emergency vehicle priority (EVP) technology automatically interrupts traffic signal operations to provide a green light signal to emergency response vehicles when safe to do so.

A recent performance evaluation of EVP in the Gold Coast area has shown that travel time for EVP equipped vehicles was reduced by 17-26% compared to non-EVP equipped vehicles.

39% of UK transport users would consider using a driverless car

Posted On Tuesday, 15 December 2015

According to a new research, 39% of people in the UK would now consider using a self-driving vehicle if it was available, rising to as high as 62% amongst young professionals living in cities.

Further findings included:
  • The study identified 10 Value Spaces for Intelligent Mobility with estimated £56bn of value (revenue opportunities) in the UK alone
  • 75% of journeys are characterised by pain-points and 57% of travellers are always looking for ways to optimise their journeys
  • Multi-modal journeys are especially painful for UK travellers and each interchange increases the number of pain-points experienced
  • Overall, UK travellers today exhibit progressive attitudes and 57% of respondents would not mind sharing their personal data in order to get a better service.
  • UK travellers are increasingly connected (72% smartphone penetration) and more than half of smartphone users already consider it essential to their travel experience.
  • The scale of unmet traveller needs is greatest in three segments that constitute approximately 60% of the population and make up 73% of annual journeys in the UK. Across these three key segments (Progressive Metropolitans, Default Motorists, and Dependent Passengers), there are significant opportunities for new Intelligent Mobility solutions.
  • Intelligent Mobility will require the integration of different technologies, products and services that will result in a step change in mobility. Four Development Themes (Access, Automation, Demand and Supply, and Integration) have been described in the study.
  • From the Development Themes, the study highlights six Core Capabilities for priority development to position the UK as a global leader in Intelligent Mobility.
More info: UK Traveller Needs

the benefits of shifting to cycling

Posted On Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP; has recently published an interesting infographic about the benefits of shifting to cycling. Have a look a think about it:



Oslo moves to ban city centre traffic

Posted On Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Cars will be banned from central Oslo by 2019 to help reduce pollution, local politicians said this week, in what they said would be the first comprehensive and permanent ban for a European capital.

"We want to have a car-free centre," Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo, told reporters. "We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone."

Under the plans, the council will build at least 60 kilometres of bicycle lanes by 2019, the date of the next municipal elections, and provide a "massive boost" of investment in public transport.

Buses and trams will continue to serve the city centre and arrangements will be found for cars carrying disabled people and vehicles transporting goods to stores, the three parties said in a joint declaration.

Oslo has around 600,000 inhabitants and almost 350,000 cars in the whole city. Most car owners live outside the city centre but within Oslo's boundaries.

Scania reveals Mega Bus to target the BRT market

Posted On Thursday, 3 December 2015

Scania recently unveiled a 28-metre bi-articulated bus with a passenger capacity of up to 270 people aimed specifically for the bus rapid transit (BRT) market.

The bus is equipped with five doors for an efficient and smooth passenger flow and, despite its higher price tag, Scania calculates that the passenger-per-kilometre cost is 40% lower compared with a conventional articulated bus.

Traveller experience study identifies key themes for improving transport network

Posted On Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Public transport is considered to be poor value for money with the ‘high cost of the journey’ being the most cited pain-point (17%). For private cars, the ‘start-and-stop’ nature of driving along with parking are the most cited pain-points (12% each).

Multi-modal journeys are especially painful for UK travellers and each interchange increases the number of pain-points experienced. Interestingly, 31% of journeys made today in the UK would not have been made if alternative means were available that didn’t necessitate physical travel (i.e. ‘virtual mobility’).

The research conducted in the unprecedented study comprised of 10,000 on-line questionnaire respondents, 50 company interviews, and 100 expert interviews.

The study indicates that the answer to the issues lies in the emerging “Intelligent Mobility” industry – utilising emerging technology such as autonomous vehicles, with 39% of those survey indicating they would consider driverless cars today, as well as exploiting mobile data to enable user-focused, integrated, efficient and sustainable transport systems. Such a solution would break down the barriers between distinct transport services to offer smart, seamless, end to end journeys.

Development areas for Intelligent Mobility:
  • Access – Multi-purposed assets, cross modal traveller ‘passports’, integrated payments.
  • Automation – Vehicle sharing schemes, self-driving vehicle swarms, productive time on journeys, zero emission power trains
  • Demand and Supply -  centralized control, parking problems solved, road traffic flow optimization, demand curve ‘flattening’ and geo/time shifting demand
  • Integration – Seamless Interchange, personal-pushed information, dynamic timetabling

emergency vehicle priority project won ITS Australia’s National Industry Awards @ITS_AUSTRALIA

Posted On Thursday, 26 November 2015

Queensland Transport and Main Roads, Australia, were presented with the Hall of Fame award in ITS Australia’s National Industry Awards in the local government category for their work on the emergency vehicle priority (EVP) project. 

An intuitive intelligent transport system, the EVP technology is able to automatically interrupt normal traffic signal operations without human intervention, to provide a green light for emergency response vehicles to pass through - enhancing the safety of front-line officers and the community.

Reducing emergency vehicle travel times by up to 20%, EVP will further aid the existing transport infrastructure and emergency response times, effectively saving more lives without increasing frontline officers or vehicle numbers.

Australia preparing for an automated future

Posted On Tuesday, 24 November 2015

WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff has been awarded a pivotal consulting study for the association of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, Austroads, to identify and assess key issues road operators will face with the introduction of automated vehicles (AV) to Australia’s roads.

The companies believe that AVs will operate on the country’s roads in the next five to twenty years. WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff section executive, Scot Coleman, said, “It’s not a matter of if, but when, we will see the introduction of highly automated vehicles on Australian roads.”

He went on to say that governments, road agencies and private road operators throughout the world will need to be ready to deal with the significant operational, social and economic ramifications of automated vehicles.

According to Austroads’ ‎program director for Cooperative and Automated Systems, Stuart Ballingall, the project will draw on international and local expertise. He said the study intends to review both international and local literature and initiatives and seek the input of local and international stakeholders regarding the emerging requirements for AVs to operate on public and private road networks, in urban and rural environments.

“The outcomes from this project will provide guidance to road agencies, private road operators and other stakeholders on what changes may be required to the way our road networks are managed,” he said. “We’re aiming for a best-practice, consistent approach that supports and optimises the outcomes from the introduction and use of AVs.”

TED Talks: how a driverless car sees the road

Posted On Thursday, 19 November 2015

Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is ... the driver. Chris Urmson heads up Google's driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver's seat. He talks about where his program is right now, and shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.

New York’s MTA tests new safety technology on buses

Posted On Tuesday, 17 November 2015

As part of the MTA’s ongoing commitment to improving safety across all agencies and in coordination with New York City’s Vision Zero plan, MTA New York City Transit has begun to test new technologies aimed at improving safety for drivers, bus customers and pedestrians. The 60-day tests of pedestrian turn warning and collision avoidance systems will determine if a full pilot of one or both systems can proceed in 2016.

NYC Transit’s Department of Buses is testing two systems on six buses: a pedestrian turn warning system that issues an external audio warning when the bus is making a right or a left turn, and a smart sensor based technology designed to prevent forward and side collisions by alerting the bus operator with visual and auditory warnings.

A pedestrian turn warning system by Clever Devices has been installed on four buses. The system is triggered when the bus makes a turn, activating an external warning to nearby pedestrians or cyclists that the bus is turning. External speakers are installed in an area that does not block the bus operator’s view, and the speaker volume takes into consideration the ambient sound level in the vicinity of the bus.

The second test involves a collision avoidance system that is installed within view of the bus operator at the front of the bus. Multiple smart vision sensors manufactured by Mobileye are integrated with a driver interface manufactured by Rosco Vision Systems, to create the Mobileye Shield+ system. This system is installed in and around the bus to help detect the presence of vehicles and pedestrians in the front of the bus and pedestrians on both sides of the bus. The collision avoidance system alerts the bus operator prior to a potential collision without the need for bus operator input and continually measures distance and relative speeds of the bus and surrounding objects to evaluate the risk of a collision. When danger is imminent, visual and audible alerts warn the bus operator to make necessary corrections in sufficient time to avoid a collision.

“These initiatives are an integral part of our commitment to continually improve our safety performance,” said Darryl Irick, senior vice president, NYC Transit Department of Buses and president of MTA Bus. “Our safety efforts so far have reduced the number of collisions per million miles by as much as 46% since 1988. But we are always aiming to do better, and we look forward to taking this commercially-available technology and seeing how we can put it to practical use on a larger scale under New York City operating conditions.”

Independent tests reveal floating car data is ‘as accurate as road sensors’ @INRIX

Posted On Thursday, 12 November 2015

An independent quality test by the German State of Bavaria’s Centre for Traffic Management (ZVM) has found that floating car data (FCD) from INRIX is ‘just as good’ as the information from road sensors. The results indicate that the traffic authority can provide enhanced traffic information to citizens without the expense and time-consuming process of maintaining and installing additional road sensors.

The traffic consultancy reported that the data from INRIX can reliably fill in the gaps in coverage between installed road sensors. This means that ZVM will be able to accurately report back on the traffic situation on secondary roads in Bavaria using FCD alone.

driverless cars to save 10 million lives per decade

Posted On Tuesday, 10 November 2015

If driverless cars deliver on their promise to eliminate the vast majority of fatal traffic accidents, the technology will rank among the most transformative public-health initiatives in human history. But how many lives, realistically, will be saved?

This is not merely theoretical. There’s already some precedent for change of this magnitude in the realms of car culture and automotive safety. In 1970, about 60,000 people died in traffic accidents in the United States. A dramatic shift toward safety—including required seat belts and ubiquitous airbags—helped vastly improve a person’s chance of surviving the American roadways in the decades that followed. By 2013, 32,719 people died in traffic crashes, a historic low.

Researchers estimate that driverless cars could, by mid-century, reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent. Which means that, using the number of fatalities in 2013 as a baseline, self-driving cars could save 29,447 lives a year. In the United States alone, that's nearly 300,000 fatalities prevented over the course of a decade, and 1.5 million lives saved in a half-century. For context: Anti-smoking efforts saved 8 million lives in the United States over a 50-year period.

The life-saving estimates for driverless cars are on par with the efficacy of modern vaccines, which save 42,000 lives for each U.S. birth cohort, according to the Centres for Disease Control.

Globally, there are about 1.2 million traffic fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organization. Which means driverless cars are poised to save 10 million lives per decade—and 50 million lives around the world in half a century.

overcoming the challenges facing emerging bike share schemes

Posted On Thursday, 5 November 2015

Despite a slow beginning, bike share has become one of the fastest growing trends in urban transport over the past ten years. Indeed, from 2004 to 2014, the number of cities with bike share systems increased from a mere 11 to 855. With nine cities already operating bike share systems, Turkey is showing substantial interest in moving forward with this rising mode of sustainable transport. However, the cities that have already implemented public bike share systems across the country are facing unique challenges that threaten their sustainability.

  1. There is often widespread vandalism of the bikes docked in stations.
  2. Residents want to be able to pay with a combination of credit cards and “smart cards” used for other modes of public transport. However, these two forms of payments are not integrated, leading to problems for users.
  3. Dedicated bike lanes often end abruptly and fail to connect with other bike lanes, making cycling in the city less safe.
  4. Neither the bike share system nor the bike lanes were designed with other modes of transport in mind and are therefore not sufficiently integrated with public transport.
 Where the proposed solutions to these problems are as follows:
  1. Foster programs for a stronger cycling culture
  2. Create a connected, comprehensive cycling network
  3. Integrate public transport and non-motorized modes

7 steps businesses can take to improve the mobility of their employees

Posted On Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Strong incentives for sustainable transport modes make people far more likely to change their travel habits.

For example, businesses can utilize bike racks and changing rooms (for cyclists), subsidies for those using public transportation, flexible office building entry and exit times, and buses for employees as benefits. However, to ensure that these policy changes are effective and meet the needs of employees, businesses need a strategy for developing a corporate mobility plan “Step by Step”:
  1. Prepare: for developing the plan by identifying the needs of the organization, win the support of the board, map stakeholders, establish the plan’s steering committee and appoint a coordinator.
  2. Define the Scope: of the plan by forging its vision, objectives and limits according to the company’s context and needs.
  3. Communicate: the plan’s vision, which is essential for engaging employees and encouraging a change in culture.
  4. Diagnose: the current transport conditions, the policies and costs, and the travel pattern of current employees.
  5. Elaborate: on the available budget and the strategies that will be used; this is the launch moment of the plan.
  6. Implement and Promote: the strategies of the plan, and spread and reward good results.
  7. Monitor and Review: all progress accomplished by the plan, tracking success benchmarks.

permeable pavement of up to 600 litres/minute/m2

This new concrete, from Lafarge Tarmac, could potentially be a very useful tool in combating urban flash flooding from sudden, heavy storms. 

In its promotional materials, the company uses the example of the 2007 floods that devastated England, costing the economy some £3.2bn. Of the 57,000 homes affected by the floods, two-thirds were damaged not by rivers that overflowed but by storm-water run-off.

There are some caveats to the technology, which works the way it does because there are empty spaces between particles that allow water to flow through. Topmix concrete, which is applied over a base layer of gravel that further filters water, is less able to handle heavy vehicle loads and intense traffic than conventional paving materials.

Also its ability to absorb water can be compromised by dirt and other particulate waste, such as sawdust or silt. Damage from freezing water is a potential concern with permeable pavement, although Lafarge Tarmac says its product has “excellent freeze-thaw resistance.”


electric buses (can) save € millions for society and the environment

Posted On Thursday, 29 October 2015

A city with half a million inhabitants would save about €10.5 million per year if its buses ran on electricity instead of diesel, according to analysis conducted the Volvo Group and audit and advisory firm KPMG. The analysis has taken into consideration such factors as noise, travel time, emissions, energy use, taxes and the use of natural resources.

The analysis was based on a city with about half a million inhabitants and 400 buses. If the buses were run on electricity instead of diesel, the total annualized societal saving would be about €10.5 million. Among other areas, the savings stem from reduced noise and air pollution, which is estimated to lead to decreased care costs of up to  €2.5 million. The annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would total 33,000 tons, corresponding to about 3,000 Swedish households.

“Standard investment appraisals do not take into account all of the costs that impact society and the environment. Therefore, to quantify all of the aspects, we have now calculated the monetary value of an electric bus line,” says Niklas Gustafsson, Head of Sustainability at the Volvo Group. “The results show that irrespective of the number of parameters taken into consideration, electric buses comprise the leading public transport solution.”

launch of Hydrogen Mobility Europe

Posted On Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A coalition of European partners has launched the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project (H2ME), co-funded with €32 million from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

The project will support the deployment of 200 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), 125 fuel cell range-extended electric (FC RE-EVs) commercial vans and 29 new hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK by 2019.

H2ME is based around an alliance of the four most ambitious hydrogen mobility initiatives in Europe: H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, Mobilité Hydrogène France, Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership and UK H2 Mobility, which will work together to make hydrogen-fuelled transport a reality in Europe.

This plan ties in with existing national level initiatives for the roll-out of a large scale hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, aimed at enabling Europe wide emission-free driving.

4th Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award is opened for applications @mobilityweek

Posted On Thursday, 22 October 2015

Following last month's European Mobility Week, the EU is now launching the 4th Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award, as part of the Do the Right Mix campaign. The SUMP Award recognises local authorities that have demonstrated excellence in this year’s European Mobility Week theme of ‘multi-modality’ where citizens can choose, change and combine their modes of transport.

The winning three regions or local authorities will receive a high-quality promotional video showcasing their mobility efforts, as well as wide-spread promotion through the Do the Right Mix and European Mobility Week media channels.

Towns, cities and local authorities from the European Union’s 28 Member States and the European Economic Area are eligible to apply. Applications are being accepted between 28 September to 13 November 2015 on the campaign’s website, where further information about eligibility and evaluation is available.

An expert jury will evaluate the applications. Up to ten shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend the joint European Mobility Week and the SUMP Award Ceremony, which takes place in March/April 2016 in Brussels. At this event, the winner and two additional finalists will feature in a special video clip presenting their multi-modal success to a community of regional authorities highly engaged in European Mobility Week.

The European Commission's Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award was launched in 2012, and presented three times since. Each year, the award highlights a different aspect of mobility planning. Previous themes included successful territorial and policy integration, as well as monitoring implementation with an eye to making improvements.

China's 50-lane traffic jam

Posted On Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded last week in what looks from above like a 50-lane parking lot on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of the country’s busiest roads.

Though foggy weather may have played a role, the real culprit is a new checkpoint that forces traffic to merge from 50 lanes down to just 20, according to The People’s Daily. Traffic was reportedly backed up for hours.

NODES toolbox offers keys to better transport interchanges @transportnodes

Posted On Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Interchanges play a key role in the integration of urban mobility systems and allowing smooth connections between different transport modes. The key achievements of the New Tools for the Design and Operation of Urban Transport Interchanges (NODES) project were the development of a toolbox to help practitioners assess and benchmark the performance of their interchange as well as to take practical steps to increase performance. The Toolbox focuses on five key areas:
  1. land use and infrastructure; 
  2. design; 
  3. inter-modality and information and communication technologies (ICT); 
  4. management and business models; and 
  5. energy and environment.

In practical terms, practitioners can more easily identify the design needs and facility requirements in an interchange thanks to the Typology Diagrammatic Representation tool. Another tool includes practical steps that can be taken to improve the experience of users in an interchange (the Station Experience Monitor), developed by Nederlandse Spoorwegen and tested in nine NODES test sites.

The aim of the research project was to help European cities in the design or operation of new or upgraded interchanges in order to boost user satisfaction. The Toolbox was tested in real conditions in nine European sites.

relationship between mode choice and commuting stress

Posted On Thursday, 15 October 2015

We talked about how commuting was increasingly stressful in Europe some months ago. We find now a new research on this topic.

There’s nothing quite like the unpredictability of traffic when it comes to commuter stress. The survey measured the various objective (e.g. travel time budgets) and subjective (e.g. trip pleasantness) stressors felt by some 3,800 students, faculty, and staff of McGill University during their commute on a typical winter day. Drivers had the highest average stress, largely owing to “unexpected delays”:
This additional time budget indicates that they have, perhaps paradoxically, less control over their commute than commuters on other modes. Frequent and unpredictable occurrences require of them a peremptory stance toward their commute, where extra time becomes the best way to assure arriving to work or school on time. Active transportation modes are not only environmentally and socially more sustainable, they are also a less stressful way to travel.

On[e] way to increase pedestrian mode-share is to protect walkers from traffic and provide more pleasant and more comfortable streets to walk on. Furthermore, public transportation is also less stressful than driving, which is found to involve (somewhat perversely) less control for commuters. Increasing the predictability and range of transit options in an era of increasing driving unpredictability could lead to a greater transit mode share. 
That last line is key. Driving might be the most stressful commute mode, but it often remains the most common one out of necessity. When there’s a reliable alternative, however, commuters respond accordingly—in the current study sample, 54% rode transit and 29% walked, with only 17% driving to work.

learning from Delhi’s BRT failure

Posted On Wednesday, 14 October 2015

In an appeal to scrap the current BRT corridor in Delhi, Saurabh Bharadwaj, former transport minister said: “The stretch on which this BRT has been made was not the best choice. For one, the bus lanes are in the middle and getting to them is a huge pain for pedestrians. Secondly, there are about four major intersections on the road and despite a very expensive smart signaling system, the implementation has failed completely.”

Bharadwaj was not alone in his comments. Because of poorly operated intersections, a minority of car drivers felt that traffic congestion had increased as a result of the city’s BRT system, which began in 2008. The time cycles were excessively long, and there were too many phases to accommodate turning movements. As a result, there were very long delays and queues that affected cars, two- and three-wheelers—and the corridor is on track to be scrapped.

While a valid critique, it’s important to understand that Delhi’s project was not a complete bus rapid transit (BRT) system. A complete BRT goes beyond bus lanes and bus stops—it is a systematic approach for improving multiple aspects of the passenger experience and bus operations. A complete system includes enclosed stations, centralized management of the bus fleet, adequate access facilities, and continued maintenance and improvement. Furthermore, despite incomplete corridors, the majority of road users benefited from the system: bus travel time dropped and bycicle users enjoyed the best dedicated bike planes in Delhi.

how Johannesburg saved $890 Million (2009/14) thanks to BRT @ReaVayaBus

Posted On Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system Rea Vaya—one of the continent’s first public bus systems and first African BRT— has saved South Africa as much as $890 million so far (2009-2014), by reducing travel time, improving road safety, and cutting down on carbon emissions, according to a recent report by the New Climate Economy, a project affiliated with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The Rea Vaya bus system, built in 2009, runs on low sulphur diesel and follows predetermined routes in their own lanes, cutting down on the time spent cruising along the congested streets of Johannesburg. Here are those savings, as calculated by the WRI:

Benefit Savings (USD million)
Travel time savings 331
Improved road safety 268
Increased physical safety 141
Operating cost reduction 170
Travel time lost during construction -38
CO2 emissions reduction 18

where electric vehicles actually cause more pollution than petrol vehicles (in the USA)

Posted On Thursday, 8 October 2015

The idea that petrol cars might cause less environmental harm than electric vehicles (EV) seems impossibly backwards, however it is not always the case.

A view from the tailpipe gives EVs a clear edge: no emissions, no pollution, no problem. Shift the view to that of a smokestack, though, and we get a much different picture. The EV that caused no environmental damage on the road during the day still needs to be charged at night. This requires a great deal of electricity generated by a power plant somewhere, and if that power plant runs on coal, it’s not hard to imagine it spewing more emissions from a smokestack than a comparable gas car coughed up from a tailpipe.

In oversimplified terms, the researchers determined the emissions produced by gasoline car tailpipes and the emissions produced by electricity grids that power EVs for every U.S. county. The researchers focused on five major pollutants: carbon (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter (PM 2.5), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They considered 11 different 2014 models of EVs, as well as the “closest substitute” gas car.

EU fuel cell buses in Switzerland: 1 million km driven @CHICproject

Posted On Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Five fuel cell buses operating in Switzerland as part of a European Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) project have reached the 1,000,000 km milestone (31/07/2015), proving the suitability of hydrogen and fuel cell buses for public transport.

The buses, which began service in 2011, are used daily like conventional buses and have also been used as shuttle buses at different events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland).

CHIC is currently assessing the possibility of continuing the operation of the buses after the official end of the project in December 2016.

BRT hits 400 corridors worldwide

Posted On Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Bus rapid transit (BRT) recently reached a global milestone, as the number of mapped BRT corridors and systems in's database passed 400.

BRTData’s most recent update shows that there are now 402 mapped BRT corridors and bus lanes, stretching over 5229 kilometres worldwide and serving 32.5 million passengers/day. The significance of this figure is twofold: first, it shows that many cities worldwide are becoming increasingly interested in sustainable modes of transport; secondly, the figure is a reflection of the vast amount of free and accessible data that exists online to support the case for BRT.

With 141 cities currently planning or constructing new BRT systems, online data is key for ensuring that this new transport mode sees even greater success in the future.

Via WRI.

school eco-mobility: from pedal powered bus to school bus transport optimization

Posted On Thursday, 1 October 2015

Considering that about 70% of primary school children are car-driven to school and where 80% of trips are less than 3km (50%<3km; 30%<1km), it would make sense to try to reduce this car dependency.

There is an interesting new transport solution currently mainly used in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany: S'Cool bus; pedal-powered buses, taking up to 12 children and fitted with 9 bicycle drives.

Other initiatives look for the optimization of school buses, avoiding many school buses to be used virtually empty. 2school, is a new ticketing solution that has an in-built mini operations support system. Each bus driver is given a smartphone or tablet, with the solution pre-installed, which transmits real-time information to the town’s servers. Using the collected data, local authorities can monitor and measure the use of their bus routes.

Further information: S'Cool Bus, 2school.

Berlin introduces wireless-charged electric bus line @BVG_Bus

Posted On Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Berlin has become the first capital city to introduce a wireless-charged electric bus.

The Berlin Transport Authority, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) has introduced four Solaris Urbino 12 electric buses equipped with the Bombardier Primove inductive charging system and traction equipment from Vossloh Kiepe, operating on a 6.1 km route.

BVG says that within one year, the four electric buses on this line will travel a total of approximately 200,000 km, saving 260 tons of CO2 emissions.

NYC's metro gradual transition to CBTC (Communications-Based Train Control) @NYCTSubway

Posted On Tuesday, 29 September 2015

This small half-documentary half-promotional video has a special charm: watch how the electronic equipment from ancient times is still used in New York, one of the largest and busiest subway networks in the world. It still uses the 1930's famous meter cables and relays to control the trains and operate the route signs and stations.

Use an electric system almost a century old in a city such as New York has its own complications: no spare parts to replace relays, valves and other components and there is only one company that makes some of them on demand. The rest is recycled as much as possible each time it is "modernized" by any plausible alternative. Such is the shortage that the 1930's original copper cables are kept for future repairs.

Replace the old systems for modern ones is a tremendous cost, not to mention the inconvenience of closing tube lines for several days. Although networks like New York would benefit from CBTC equipment the reality is that this transition can only be done gradually in a very slow pace.

the multiple trends affecting the car industry

Posted On Thursday, 24 September 2015

Since the late 19th century, the invention of automobiles, airplanes, subways, and other new forms of transportation have profoundly shaped where and how we live.  Cars led to suburban flight by enabling longer commutes, while modern transit systems helped facilitate a more recent wave of urbanization. This brings us to the 21st century, we are watching the confluence of several paths.

Many in tech proclaimed 2014 “The Year of Uber.”  In 12 months, Uber expanded from 66 to 266 cities, from 29 to 53 countries, served 140 million rides, and raised $3 billion in new funding en route to a $40 billion valuation. Meanwhile, Lyft scaled to 60 cities and racked up $332.5 million, reaching a $1 billion valuation.We should not forget other companies already stated in this website such as Koolicar, WeTruck or Blablacar. Meanwhile, declining vehicle ownership opens up possibilities for complimentary business models.

The last successful American car startup was founded 111 years ago: Ford. Morgan Stanley calls Tesla "the world's most important car company," and a 2014 nationwide survey found that  Tesla's Model S was the "Most Loved Vehicle in America." CEO Elon Musk continues to steer Tesla’s production line down market to attract a broader segment of the car buying population, the promise of more affordable mass market electric vehicles starts to seem more attainable. This trend opens up the potential for startups specializing in low-end electric vehicles.

Connected cars
As vehicle data gets mined, aggregated, and brought online, new opportunities for innovations that make driving safer, friendlier, and more efficient continue to emerge. Some examples of this technology can be found in this website, under the "smart city" tag.

Autonomous vehicles
Autonomous transportation will impact everything from highway traffic patterns to inner city congestion to commercial parking infrastructure, with major implications for city planning requirements. Self-driving cars also make commuting more convenient, which may help to ease overcrowding in big cities as more people opt to live in outlying neighborhoods.  As autonomous vehicles continue to evolve, new opportunities will emerge for entrepreneurs to innovate up and down the tech stack to ensure these vehicles operate safely and smoothly. Google is currently dominating this technology, but there are also other main players in this game such as Uber.

Meanwhile, we need to programe these vehicles to understand the unpredictable human behaviour; from cyclists to drivers, as well as taking ethical decisions.

North Texas puts up more high-speed rail money

Posted On Wednesday, 23 September 2015

High speed trains are poised to link Fort Worth to Houston and other metropolitan areas in Texas, following the approval by the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of US$4.5 million up to 2018 for planning, design, project development and preliminary engineering. The plan calls for US$1.5 million per year to be spent on these activities starting in 2016; the current plan is to deliver high speed rail in the Dallas-Fort Worth-to-Houston corridor by 2021.

road diet information

Posted On Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Coming back to how bike lanes actually reduce traffic delays and why 3.00m wide lanes are safer than wider ones at the city, today we have a video to help understanding the concept as well as the Road Diet Informational Guide published by USA Federal Highway Administration (mirror)

As cities across the US build bike lanes, their decisions are often seen as a move to give space to bikes at the expense of cars. But data tells us this isn't always true: In New York City, for instance, bike lanes have actually shortened cars' travel times on several streets, while simultaneously encouraging people to bike and making it safer.

roads under extreme water conditions

Posted On Thursday, 17 September 2015

It is well known that civil engineers manage to build roads under extreme conditions. In addition, these conditions might include constructing roads over water.

However, it is not about building bridges; it is constructing over water.


Long and cold winters allow engineers to link remote places through frozen lakes. The Tibbitt to Contwoyto ice road is a 600 km road, where 500 km are built over lakes, allowing the transportation by road of materials from the mines. Loaded trucks are allowed to drive at 25kph, while unloaded trucks can do it at 60 kph.

Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road is another example of Canada's winter roads, being the first public road to cross the Arctic Circle in 1979.

Depending on the weather conditions, there can be up to six ice roads in Estonia:
  • Haapsalu-Noarootsi; 3,5km long route
  • Rohuküla-Sviby; 9,5km long route
  • Rohuküla-Heltermaa; 25km long route
  • Munalaid-Kihnu; 12km long route
  • Kuivastu-Virtsu; 10-12km long route
  • Hiiumaa-Saaremaa; 18-22km long route

It is forbidden to drive between 25-40 kph to avoid resonance problems with the ice.

The isle of Noirmoutier in west of France, is linked to the to continental France through the Passage de Gois ou Gôa, a submersible road flooded twice a day due to the hide tide.

Los Angeles' new mobility plan 2035

Posted On Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Mobility Plan’s “key policy initiatives” all steer the city in a new direction, one in which the car is no longer the be-all and end-all of transportation, including:
  •  - Establishing new standards for streets design that “will provide safe and efficient transportation for pedestrians (especially for vulnerable users such as children, seniors and the disabled), bicyclists, transit riders, and car and truck drivers.”
  •  - Using data to make transportation decisions, with safety, public health, and equity as top criteria.
  •  - Linking land use and transportation policy.
  •  - Making equity a prime consideration in transportation planning.
  •  - Reducing greenhouse gas emissions “through a more sustainable transportation system.”
  •  - Expanding “the role of the street as a public place.”
The plan also calls for a “Vision Zero” approach to reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Currently, according to the city’s figures, more than 36,000 city residents are injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes each year.

Fundamentally, the plan moves away from level of service (LOS) to the vehicle miles travelled (VMT) with the goal of reducing the number of miles driven by the city’s residents. This LOS/VMT replacement is in line with California's movement as already reported last month in this website.

UK tests roads that recharge electric cars while moving

Posted On Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Off-road trial of "dynamic wireless power transfer" technology in the UK is expected to start later this year and run for 18 months.

In basic terms, the system has power lines connected to coils under the surface of a road, which then transmit the electricity through the air to a receiver coil in a car. Simply driving down the stretch of road in a properly-equipped electric or hybrid-electric vehicle will power up the batteries.

Further info

Ingeniero de Transporte, Ruben M.Cenzano, Transportation Engineer 

Slovak satellite based truck tolling

Posted On Thursday, 10 September 2015

Following its enlargement last year to more than 17,750km, Slovakia’s electronic toll collection system covers more than 40% of its roads.

All vehicles over 3.5tonnes are required to pay the tolls which not only apply to motorways and express-ways but also first, second and third class roads. Toll pricing uses a distance-based model using the satellite technology for positioning the on-board units.

The system was implemented in only 11 months as there is no need to install tolling gantries -estimated 4,000 gantries to cover the same network with a toll collection system of equal efficiency.

As there are no gantries to build, satellite-based tolling systems offer both financial and practical advantages and in Slovakia’s case the authorities opted for a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) model, shifting all responsibility to the contractor -SkyToll.

Both stationary and mobile enforcement are used to detect violators, with 47 enforcement gantries throughout the country and an additional 30 mobile units. These detect where there is no on-board unit or if it is incorrectly set with, for instance, the wrong number of axles.

high-occupancy lane to high-occupancy toll lane through public–private partnerships @VAExpressLanes

Posted On Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Drivers in the Washington DC area are realising time savings following the opening of HOT (high-occupancy toll) lanes on the I-95 -and not only those paying to use the new facility. Last December new HOT lanes were opened along 46.6km, converting HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes to HOT lanes through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP); through the use of a 76-year PPP, the authorities in Virginia has leveraged private investment to finance more than 90% of the project.

This re-designated HOV to HOT reveal time savings for those remaining on the free-use lanes. In February 2015, drivers in the regular lanes have seen their travel times reduced by between 6 and 23 minutes.

new report identifies 21 actions to help address pedestrian safety

Posted On Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A new report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) examines the current pedestrian safety data and research and outlines 21 steps to address pedestrian safety.

The report, Everyone Walks Understanding and Addressing Pedestrian Safety, looks at legislative, enforcement and educational initiatives, providing 21 key takeaways to consider to help curb pedestrian-involved motor vehicles crashes, injuries and fatalities.

Many pedestrian fatalities involve motorists who became unintended pedestrians due to vehicle breakdowns or emergency responders who are struck on the side of the road, while alcohol, speed and distraction play a role in pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes as well.

Distraction’s impact on pedestrian safety is not just a motorist problem. The report cites research that points to an uptick in distracted walkers. While the number of pedestrians killed while using a cell phone increased from less than one per cent to 3.6 per cent between 2004 and 2010, it’s estimated that as many as two million pedestrian injuries were related to cell phone use in 2010.

USA city installs truck side guards to aid pedestrian safety

Posted On Thursday, 3 September 2015

The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts is partnering with Volpe, the National Transportation Systems Center, to install truck side guards on city-owned trucks in order to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The city intends to install these side guards on heavy-duty vehicles in an effort to lead by example in Massachusetts and to encourage private entities to do the same.

Side guards, devices intended to sweep aside a pedestrian or cyclist in a side-impact crash, rather than being swept underneath the vehicle, are installed on large trucks. These are said to protect cyclists and pedestrians from falling underneath the vehicle, and helped reduce cyclist fatalities by 61% and pedestrian fatalities by 20% in side-impact crashes with trucks in the United Kingdom after the guards were introduced in 1986.

call for greater education for users of smart motorways

Posted On Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A survey conducted by the UK Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) on the introduction of smart motorways found 71% of drivers said they would feel less safe on a motorway with no hard shoulder than a motorway with one.

Smart motorways were officially introduced in 2014 to replace Managed Motorways as the solution to the nation’s congested motorways but concerns have been raised over their safety. Smart motorways utilise variable speed limits and all-lane running, with lane control, overhead gantries and emergency refuge areas.

The IAM has expressed concern that widespread confusion still exists amongst motorway users on how best to use them, saying that Highways England must analyse incident data on a continuous basis and ensure that any lessons learned from the real-world use of smart motorways are implemented quickly. It claims that the smartest way to build awareness would be to allow learner drivers to use motorways under expert supervision.

The IAM has produced a set of tips on using Smart motorways, and how to react on seeing different signals:
  • A red cross without flashing beacons: The hard shoulder is only for use in an emergency or breakdown.
  • A speed limit inside a red circle: It is absolutely mandatory and may have cameras enforcing it.
  • A blank signal: Usual motorway rules apply.
  • A white arrow with flashing beacons: This applies to all lanes and means you should move into the lane which the arrow points to.
  • A red cross with flashing beacons: You should not continue to use the lane.
  • A national speed limit sign is shown: The national speed limit, 70mph maximum, applies to all lanes apart from the hard shoulder.
Pay attention to the overhead gantries as they provide information on traffic conditions and lane access for the road ahead. The signals are:
  • Controlled motorway – these have three or more lanes with variable speed limits. Hard shoulder use is strictly for emergency use only.
  • Hard shoulder running – the hard shoulder will be opened at busy times and the speed limit will be reduced. Don’t use the hard shoulder unless overhead signs show that you can do so.
  • All-lane running – there is no hard shoulder on these sections of the motorway. Obey the variable speed limits and do not stop on the motorway. In the event of an emergency, use an emergency refuge area, motorway service area or exit at the next junction.

EU votes in favour of European emergency call system -eCall

Posted On Tuesday, 1 September 2015

In line with the The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) statement about new safety technologies to reduce casualties -already reported in March, the European Parliament voted in favour of eCall regulation which requires all new cars be equipped with eCall technology from April 2018. In the event of a serious accident, eCall automatically dials 112 - Europe’s single emergency number.

It communicates the vehicle’s exact location to emergency services, the time of incident and the direction of travel (most important on motorways), even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call. An eCall can also be triggered manually by pushing a button in the car, for example by a witness of a serious accident.

3.00m wide lanes are safer than wider ones at the city

Posted On Monday, 31 August 2015

It is commonly accepted that drivers with more room tend to drive faster, hence collisions do more harm than those ones at a lower speed.

There is a new study confirming that 10-foot lanes (3.05m) make safer intersections, at least in Tokyo and Toronto.

The report also states that  traffic capacity in Toronto was actually highest for lanes right around 10-feet wide. “Traffic delays on urban roads are principally determined by junctions, not by midblock free flow speeds,” he writes. “Reducing lane width to 3.0m [~10 feet] in urban environments should therefore, not lead to congestion.”

So, why not reducing the width of the road and return that space to pedestrians or, even better, to cyclists? After all, adding bike lanes reduces traffic delays

when adding bike lanes actually reduces traffic delays

Posted On Friday, 28 August 2015

Almost everyone agrees on defining the Level of Service (LOS) as a good measure, however, California is replacing this LOS for Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Under the LOS system, a proposed bike lane had to analyse its transportation impacts and if it was found to slow down cars (by, say substituting a bike lane for a car lane) then the California's environmental statute would have said let’s either not build this project, or pay a lot of money to find some other way to speed up cars.

However, it is in New York where they don't mention LOS and they still state that protected bike lanes released by the New York City Department of Transportation offers a great example of how rider safety can be increased even while car speed is maintained.

So what happened here to overcome the traditional idea that bike lanes lead to car delay? No doubt many factors were involved, but the steady traffic flow was largely the result of adding left-turn pockets. In the old street configurations, cars turned left from a general traffic lane; in the new one, they merged into a left-turn slot beside the protected bike lane. This design has two key advantages: first, traffic doesn't have to slow down until the left turn is complete, and second, drivers have an easier time seeing bike riders coming up beside them.

2040 forecast for ITS and driverless vehicles

Posted On Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Research and Markets’ latest report, Intelligent Transportation Systems - Roads to 5G, addresses current technical and marketing aspects of ITS and claims that by 2040 about 65 to 70 per cent of all cars on the roads will be driverless.

It emphasises the role of M2M communications in reaching ITS goals, and it is looking forward towards ITS enhancements based on WICT (wireless information communications technologies) of the 5G era, such as visible light communications (VLC) and others. The report also addresses VLC as an advanced technology for the ITS development, emphasising that VLC is defined by the industry as a 5G technology.

the world's 25 most impressive megaprojects

Posted On Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Popular Mechanics presents a quick description of the world's 25 most impressive megaprojects; the biggest and boldest projects on the planet, including:

Update 07/09/15: top 10 most impressive civil engineering projects of all time according to the Norwich University's Civil Engineering Department (completion dates from 2011 until 2504 B.C.)

mass transit doesn't cause gentrification

Posted On Thursday, 20 August 2015

An intriguing new study by Michael S. Barton and Joseph Gibbons published in the journal Urban Studies explores the connection between mass transit access and household income in New York. The researchers wanted to see if the conventional wisdom on transit corridors—both subways and buses—held true: the idea that rising real estate values near transit stops contributes to the displacement of low-income households.

What the researchers found is that changes in neighbourhood income levels were driven by factors other than transit.

Even though the study suggests that access to transit is not a main driver of displacement, transit matters a great deal to less advantaged groups. As these groups are increasingly concentrated in the more isolated areas of a city, a lack of transit access can severely impede economic opportunities. 

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