Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

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. 

spinlister: cycling sharing economy

Posted On Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Since 2012, Spinlister has been offering people the chance to hire out their bikes via a dedicated platform and application. This “peer-to-peer” sharing concept is developing in large cities. The service already has members in 60 different countries.

It was developed as a complementary self-service bike hire networks in towns for visitors passing through: they are often used to cycling at home, they’re visiting a town for a few days and want to easily get hold of a bike. Spinlister is very practical for an ad hoc ride, especially if you need a specific model.

UK to lead the way in testing driverless cars

Posted On Tuesday, 18 August 2015

UK's Government launched a £20 million competitive fund for collaborative research and development into driverless vehicles, along with a code of practice for testing.

The government wants bidders to put forward proposals in areas such as safety, reliability, how vehicles can communicate with each other and the environment around them and how driverless vehicles can help give an ageing population greater independence. Successful bidders will match fund projects with their own money.

The £20 million competition announced today is part of the £100 million for research into intelligent mobility announced by the Chancellor in the Spring 2015 Budget.

7 proven principles for designing a safer city

Posted On Monday, 17 August 2015

According to a new report from the World Resources Institute, Cities Safer by Design (already reported in this website as design and urbanism principles to promote traffic safety) the safest cities in the world (Tokyo, Stockholm, London, Paris, Berlin, and Hong Kong) present a number of design measures that have proven effective:
  • Keep cities compact. When sprawl development rather than compact urban design becomes the norm, so does car travel. Short block lengths, as well as concentrated housing and business districts, allow easy, walkable access to public transit and reduce dependence on personal motor vehicles. Sprawl does the opposite, with deadly effects.
  • Reduce traffic speeds. The faster drivers are going, the more likely they are to kill or gravely injure anyone they might hit. The report suggests traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps, raised pedestrian crossings, and sidewalk extensions to slow cars in urban areas.
  • Create streets that are for people, not just cars. Pedestrian islands, wide sidewalks, plazas and bike lanes are all part of an environment that reduces the primacy of the automobile—as well as fatalities.
  • Make public transportation safe, affordable, and convenient. Because then people will use it. The report cites the example of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, which recently launched a bus-rapid transit system, complete with rebuilt streets designed to make walking to the stations safe. It now carries 700,000 passengers a day. According to the report, systems such as this one can cut traffic death and catastrophic injuries from crashes in half.
  • Use data mapping techniques to identify problem spots and target design fixes. With modern data-collection capacity, analysing patterns of danger becomes much easier, allowing officials to put resources into the intersections and streets that pose the greatest risk to citizens.

new "collision call" app will save lives after car accidents

Posted On Thursday, 13 August 2015

Collision Call is a new app which automatically calls and alerts emergency services after a serious collision and sends an e-mail to family, work and friends, allowing them to take immediate action.

The app measures G-forces which occur during a collision. If those forces exceed a certain level, dangerous to humans, the app automatically calls the alarm number in the relevant country and sends e-mails to programmed contacts.

UK funds for 'End to End journey experience for people and freight'

Posted On Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Innovate UK is to invest up to £10 million in collaborative R&D projects to catalyse advances in the End to End journey experience for people and freight.

Proposals must be collaborative and led by a business. Small businesses could receive up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses 60% and large businesses 50%, where total costs are between £250K to £3Million.

Expressions of interest: opened until noon on 18th November 2015.

Further info:

average speed cameras in Scotland: Highways M8, M73 and M74

Posted On Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Scottish drivers and road workers are to benefit from enhanced road safety following the installation of safety cameras across the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project.

Average speed cameras will encourage a safe and steady traffic flow by monitoring the average speed of vehicles through the works to ensure the safety of both road users and road workers.

The safety cameras went live 20th July and will remain in place until the completion of the project in spring 2017.

Details of the traffic management programme and the phased roll out of safety cameras will be available at:

(Further info)

£1.5 billion of investment awarded to upgrade motorways in England

Posted On Monday, 10 August 2015

Three of these projects will start in autumn this year: 2 in the Midlands - M1 junction 19 to junction 16 in Northamptonshire and the M5 junction 4a to Junction 6 in Worcestershire, and 1 in the North West - M6 junction 16 to junction 19 near Stoke-on-Trent.

The smart motorway schemes, part of the £15 billion government investment Highways England is delivering between now and 2021, will see 292 extra lane miles added to motorways. The hard shoulder will be converted to a traffic lane and signing and technology will tell drivers what speed to drive at, if lanes are blocked or closed and about incidents up ahead.

101 years of electric traffic lights

Posted On Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Today (5th August 2015), Google is celebrating the 101st anniversary of the electric traffic lights.

The first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland (Ohio, USA) on Aug. 5, 1914, and replaced the policeman that used to direct traffic.

However, traffic lights were not invented in the USA but in the U.K. Gas-lit traffic signals were installed in London in the XIX century, but were quite dangerous as they spontaneously explode.

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