Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

semi-autonomous driving forecast

Posted On Friday, 2 December 2016

The Market Potential for Semi-Autonomous Driving (SAE), expects that semi-autonomous systems will continue to dominate the market over the next decade, with SAE level 2* and 3* systems accounting for 86% of autonomous vehicles shipping in 2026. Higher levels of autonomy will gain traction quickly, representing just under one-third of autonomous vehicles shipping in 2030.

However, recent announcements from BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, and Tesla signal that OEMs are not only looking to introduce higher levels of autonomy by 2021, but are also actively planning to transition from vehicle sellers to mobility providers. Both Ford and Renault-Nissan launched smart mobility divisions to build on the existing trend of OEM/rideshare partnerships and investments. The divisions also provide a platform for these brands to research and implement autonomous and connected technologies.

*SAE automated vehicle classification:
 - Level 0: Automated system has no vehicle control, but may issue warnings.
 - Level 1: Driver must be ready to take control at any time. Automated system may include features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Parking Assistance with automated steering, and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) Type II in any combination.
 - Level 2: The driver is obliged to detect objects and events and respond if the automated system fails to respond properly. The automated system executes accelerating, braking, and steering. The automated system can deactivate immediately upon takeover by the driver.
 - Level 3: Within known, limited environments (such as freeways), the driver can safely turn their attention away from driving tasks.
 - Level 4: The automated system can control the vehicle in all but a few environments such as severe weather. The driver must enable the automated system only when it is safe to do so. When enabled, driver attention is not required.
 - Level 5: Other than setting the destination and starting the system, no human intervention is required. The automatic system can drive to any location where it is legal to drive.

superfast charger for buses in Barcelona

Posted On Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The first ultra-fast pantograph charging point for electric buses in Spain has been recently installed in Barcelona.

This initiative is part of the project promoting urban electric mobility ZeEUS (Zero Emission Urban Bus System), funded by the European Union an involves ten cities in Europe. This project started in 2013 and is expected to be completed in April 2017.

The ultra-fast charger recharges the battery up to 80% in an estimated time of 5-8 minutes. The battery is fully charged at night, when the buses are in the depot, taking up to four hours.

pedestrians are most likely to be involved in road collisions during autumn

Posted On Friday, 18 November 2016

According to a new analysis carried out from the statistics provided by the Local Authorities in the NE of England, pedestrians most likely to be involved in road collisions during weeks leading up to Christmas.

Almost a third of pedestrian accidents happen between October and December, with 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm the most prevalent times of day. Most pedestrian casualties (86%) happened on 30mph (50 km/h) urban roads.

Children account for a high percentage of the casualties, with boys aged between 11 and 12 the most likely age group to be injured. However, almost a quarter of adult pedestrian casualties are found to have been impaired by alcohol – with this figure rising sharply in collisions that occur between 10pm and 6am.

first commercial train powered by hydrogen

Posted On Monday, 14 November 2016

Germany debuts zero-emissions train that releases only steam, being powered by hydrogen. The train will open to the public in December 2017, and testing will continue before that time.

The iLink can travel almost 800km (500 miles) per day up to 87mph (140 km/h) using lithium ion batteries (carrying 300 passengers). Batteries are powered by a hydrogen fuel tank on the roof of the train, which is similar to any other electric train, but does not need any catenary or pantograph.

The main downside at the moment is that the production of "cheap" hydrogen usually involves the use of fossil fuels such as oil, although there are other more or less efficient and costly methods.

the shortest international air route in the world is now on operation

Posted On Friday, 11 November 2016

The shortest international regular air route covers a distance of 21 kilometers, with an official duration of the flight of 20 minutes, although it takes only eight minutes to travel the distance between the two cities. the flight, from San Galo / Altenrhein in Switzerland to Friedrichshafen in Germany crossed the Austrian border and it is actually the first stretch of a route that continues Cologne (Germany). Some other crazy routes are described at Fronteras Blog.

Related: brief explanation about the meaning of the most common markings painted on the tarmac of the airport runways:

The numbering names the track corresponds to its orientation to magnetic north (the direction given by the compass). Parallel lines in the end of the runway usable indicate the width of the track. Four bars means that the track is about 18 meters wide and 8 bars example -case warn that the track is 30 meters wide. A series of thick, short lines placed at each side of the runway center provide guidance (approximately) the pilot to touch the runway on landing.

Canada to make rear-view cameras mandatory

Posted On Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has proposed new regulations that will require rear-visibility systems on all new vehicles sold in Canada from May 2018 to provide all new car owners with improved visibility to spot people and objects behind a vehicle when they reverse; "this helps children be seen and provides Canadians with one of the best safety technology systems to reduce back-over collisions," Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement.

It estimates that such accidents killed 27 people and injured more than 1,500 from 2004 to 2009.

"The objective of this proposal is to align the Canadian and United States* safety regulations, to provide Canadians with the same level of protection under the law related to back-over crashes offered to residents of the United States and to satisfy vehicle manufacturers' call to eliminate regulatory differences between Canada and the United States," Transport Canada said.

*The United States made a similar announcement in 2014, with a 2018 deadline for compliance.

optimal walking and cycling speeds to reduce air pollution inhalation

Posted On Friday, 4 November 2016

According to a new University of British Columbia (UBC) research, cyclists should be riding at speeds between 12 and 20 km/h on city roads, while pedestrians should be moving at 2 to 6 km/h to minimize their inhalation of air pollution while still getting the health benefits of exercise.

"The faster you move, the harder you breathe and the more pollution you could potentially inhale, but you also are exposed to traffic for a shorter period of time."

Ideal travel speeds were at 13 and 15 km/h for female and male cyclists in the 20-60 age group.

This research explores the same problem recently reported here, where it was analysed the maximum number of weekly hours riding a bike before the harm due pollution was worse than the benefits derived from exercise.

new initiatives promoting road safety @ITEhq @ITF_Forum @fia

Posted On Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The International Transport Forum (ITF) and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) launched Safer City Streets, the new global traffic safety network for liveable cities.

Cities provide data to the Safer City Streets database via a questionnaire and in return have free access to data from peer cities, thus allowing comparisons. The ITF manages the data collection and validation, analyses the data and administrates the network. Safer City Streets will go beyond the database by establishing a network of experts, whose goal is to exchange knowledge and learn from each other and their respective cities. Safer City Streets builds on a 2013 pilot project with nine cities from Europe and North America that shared data on crashes, population, mobility and traffic.

Meanwhile in the US, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has joined several US entities (see note) to launch the Road to Zero coalition with the goal of ending fatalities on US roads within the next 30 years.

ITE has also launched the Vision Zero Task Force initiative to advance the goals of the Vision Zero and Towards Zero Deaths movements, which goes hand-in-hand with the Road to Zero coalition's goals.

V2I: towards the end of traffic lights @ITS_Congresses

Posted On Monday, 31 October 2016

Audi is currently rolling out technology that allows its vehicles in the USA to communicate with traffic signals (a.k.a V2I -vehicle to infrastructure, not to get confused with V2V or vehicle to vehicle). The first phase will be rolled out in 5 to 7 cities although these have not been disclosed yet.

Traffic lights are an imperfect solution for an imperfect world. Drivers are required to stop at red lights while a row of cars crosses another that is green, increasing congestion and pollution while wasting energy and time.

This idea is based on a scenario where sensor-laden vehicles pass through intersections by communicating and remaining at a safe distance from each other, rather than grinding to a halt at traffic lights. This approach based on slot-based intersections is flexible and can be designed to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle crossing with vehicular traffic.

The model provides a performance breakthrough: all safety requirements being equal, traffic efficiency is doubled with respect to current state-of-the-art traffic lights. With today's traffic volumes, queues would vanish and travel delays would be cut to almost zero.

The idea behind this approach was developed by different universities, including MIT (in conjunction with the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETHZ), and the Italian National Research Council (CNR)), and Texas, and it is shown in the following videos:

However, until technology arrives at that stage, it is still some years to come, which might be covered by developments such as Green Light Optimal Speed Advice (GLOSA), as shown in the ITS Europe Congress held recently in Glasgow.

pedestrians and death risk related to speed; driverless oportunities @WorldResources

Posted On Friday, 28 October 2016

The coming of autonomous vehicle technology shows great promise for eliminating traffic deaths and serious road injuries. The ultimate reason for death and serious injury from traffic crashes is that the human body can sustain only so much force, a key principle of the Safe Systems Approach, which aims to improve planning so that transport systems themselves eliminate traffic deaths and injuries that arise due to human error.

For the most part, how quickly vehicles can react to incidents on the road and what speeds are safe for all road users will determine the overall level of road safety for all. Currently, many countries and cities do not have proper speed limits in place.

It is clear that if all vehicles are connected and automatically driven (without human control), the network would be more efficient, safer and faster. Would it be then the case to reduce the speed to increase safety (or at least perceived safety) or would we fully rely on technology?

Mercedes' driverless cars will kill pedestrians over drivers

Posted On Thursday, 27 October 2016

The ethical conundrum of how A.I.-powered machines should act in life-or-death situations has received more scrutiny as driverless cars become a reality, but the car manufacturer believes that it’s safer to save the life you have greater control over.

"You could sacrifice the car. You could, but then the people you’ve saved initially, you don’t know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save", Christoph von Hugo, Mercedes’ manager of driver assistance systems, told Car and Driver. "If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car".

However, Hugo went on to say that the whole discussion may become moot. Computer-driven cars will be able to react in ways that human drivers will not be able to handle. Besides, most of the time the car will prioritize not crashing in the first place.

"This moral question of whom to save: 99% of our engineering work is to prevent these situations from happening at all", Hugo said. "We are working so our cars don’t drive into situations where that could happen and [will] drive away from potential situations where those decisions have to be made".

It’s not clear whether Mercedes will run afoul of future car regulations. Germany has outlined three rules that it expects manufacturers to abide by:
1) property damage always takes precedence over personal injury, 
2) the car cannot classify people based on age and other attributes, and 
3) the manufacturer is always liable. 

As these rules are fleshed out, German officials could be forced to clarify whether manufacturers are allowed to prioritize the driver.

It must be also noted that in Germany, it is illegal to reduce human life to a value that is processed by some cost function of an algorithm. This means a driverless car which is going to crash and (potentially) kill two people, being only one person on the car, it is illegal that any algorithm decides that it is better to kill one person than two people.

On these grounds, Volvo already announced months ago that they will accept liability for self-driving car crashes.

Finally, a recent academic research found that people were in favour of minimizing trauma in general, but for maximizing vehicle occupant safety if they, themselves, were the occupant.

new 113m boat lift in China it is now fully functional

Posted On Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Scotland claims to have an impressive rotating boat lift connecting two canals between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

However, things in China work at a different scale. It has been recently opened the new boat elevator to save the Three Gorges Dam (113 m.), lifting vessels up to 3,000 tons in a process of 40 minutes, which prevents existing complex system of locks and more than five hours of travel.

driverless car, Google, Uber and laws

Posted On Monday, 10 October 2016

Uber unveiled the first fourteen Ford Fusion (of up to a hundred) to be used for transporting passengers in Pittsburgh. The vehicles have a driver ready to take the controls in an emergency, accompanied by a co-pilot with a laptop taking notes. The Ford Fusion adapted by Uber is a first attempt, and one that will continue through the collaboration with Volvo (the other brand Uber is working with) to incorporate more vehicles.

Furthermore, Uber is experimenting with an unlimited $200/month flat rate service in Manhattan, where Uber already has succeeded with other types of flat rates associated with individual trips, setting a $5 price for each trip during peak hours and also linking with their Uber Pool share-ride service. 

Google is also experimenting with similar shared services through Waze Rider in San Francisco, which allows users to find other passengers to join them for a set, $0.54/mile fee -not to make profit but sharing the costs.

On the other hand, Ford has begun framing itself as a mobility company rather than a mere car company, where they plan to sell completely self-driving cars by about 2025, after first providing them via ride-hailing service, in 2021.

And finally, the Governor of California recently legalized the testing of self-driving vehicles without a driver on board, and no pedals or steering wheel under real traffic conditions, based on the guidelines provided by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Europe: traffic congestion and public transport

Posted On Thursday, 6 October 2016

According to the latest Eurostat’s Urban Europe Report, London (U.K.) has the worst traffic congestion in Europe —but its citizens are also among the most satisfied in Europe with their public public transport.

The average driver in the London area loses 101 hours a year in traffic, 28 more hours than an average driver in the second worst city, Stuttgart (Germany). However, this hasn’t stopped most people within London’s official borders from being satisfied with public transport —an impressive result considering that the city has some of the highest fares in the world.

is urban cycling worth the risk?

Posted On Friday, 30 September 2016

Financial Times brings a not-so-idyllic experience when talking about the use of bicycles on urban environments; the health benefits, the low cost, the speed – versus the fact that you might be hit by an 18-tonne articulated lorry.

In 2014, 64% of people surveyed by the UK’s Department of Transport said they believed it was too dangerous for them to cycle on the road. These decisions are often based on gut feelings or anecdote, despite the fact that people in the UK are actually more likely to die walking than cycling, according to figures from the Department for Transport. For every billion miles cycled last year, 30.9 cyclists were killed, while 35.8 pedestrians were killed for every billion miles walked. Both activities are significantly safer than riding a motorbike – 122 motorcyclists are killed for every billion miles driven (the UK’s overall casualty rate for cyclists, a broader measure which counts serious injuries and slight injuries as well as deaths, was around 5,800 per billion miles in 2015, not far off the casualty rate for motorcyclists – and almost three times higher than the 2,100 per billion miles for pedestrians).

Researchers from the London School of Medicine looked into this issue in 2011. According to their findings, bicycle commuters inhale more than twice the amount of black carbon particles as pedestrians making a comparable trip. 

Good news are that at population level, the dangers faced are offset by the many benefits associated with an active commute, which will translate for most people into increased life expectancy overall.

smart tactile paving for pedestrian crossings

Posted On Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A new safety system to make sure people don't walk into ongoing traffic while looking down is on the market. Called Smart Tactile Paving, the system will also flash red so you stop before getting yourself in a bad situation.

Slovenia introduces interoperable public transport ticket

Posted On Thursday, 22 September 2016

Slovenia has recently integrated (September 1st) its public transport system with the introduction of an interoperable ticket, which enables users to use different types of public transport without having to buy separate tickets.

The ticket integrates the use of regular rail and inter-urban bus transport in Slovenia and urban transport in the two largest Slovenian cities in a single system. The first phase introduces a single subsidised ticket for pupils, students and adult learners.

85% of the total value of the project of introducing integrated public passenger transport (IPPT) is financed through European funds.

USDOT report shows how big data can solve traffic problems

Posted On Monday, 19 September 2016

Big data is a popular term used to describe the massive amounts of information being produced by contemporary systems. These large data sets often require advanced analytical tools to process the data into information for decision making. One of these examples of a big data source is now being used by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to assist regional agencies in monitoring their transportation systems.

The USDOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has published its 2015 Urban Congestion Trends Report (UCR), which provides the current state of road congestion and reliability in the largest urban areas of the USA. The new report marks the second year of calculating congestion and reliability metrics with the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS), which is an example of a big data source, created from vehicles on the transportation system. It includes actual, observed travel times on the National Highway System (NHS) and is available for use by state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) for their performance management activities.

The UCR documents several examples from state and local agencies using NPMRDS to better understand how their transportation system is operating. The report also highlights relevant successful operational strategies and performance management approaches implemented by state and local transportation agencies.

Operational strategies provide proven methods for improving the performance of the transportation system, whether through reducing congestion, improving reliability, or creating options for travelers. Operational strategies often result in other benefits, such as increased safety, and improved environmental outcomes, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes highlights of innovative ways states and local agencies throughout the country have implemented effective operations and measured the impacts of congestion.

The report concludes with a discussion of the importance of traffic volume data when aggregating performance measures. The report offers detailed analyses of three examples of state and local transportation agencies that are using the NPMRDS to compute performance measures and evaluate their transportation systems: the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

Personal Description

Posted On Sunday, 18 September 2016

I am a curious and conscientious person who likes to take advantage of new challenges and adding my attention to detail whenever this is feasible.

One of my favourite hobbies is travelling; I inter-railed around Europe several times and have visited more than 40 countries around the world, while I have lived in three of them so far. This helps me to learn from different cultures and different approaches to problem solving, keeping my mind open. Have we been at any time quite close to each other? You can discover it in my map of visited places shown below.

I believe it is clear by now my passion for transportation engineering / traffic engineering (or traffic / transportation and engineering), computing and technology.

With regards of sports, I am far from being the best sports-man ever, but I confess I enjoy urban hiking and trekking. The picture is completed with my volunteering activities; Wikipedia editor and volunteer for different STEM† causes.

†STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.

Descripción personal

Soy una persona curiosa a la que le gusta asumir nuevos desafíos; concienzuda y con atención al detalle siempre que esto último sea factible.

Una de mis actividades favoritas es viajar; he hecho varios interraíles en Europa y he visitado más de 40 países alrededor del todo el mundo, habiendo vivido en 3 de ellos de momento. Esta inquietud me ayuda a aprender de diferentes culturas y diferentes enfoques para la resolución de problemas, manteniendo mi mente abierta. ¿Hemos estado en algún momento cerca el uno del otro? Lo puedes ver en mi mapa de lugares visitados unos párrafos más abajo.

Creo que ya ha quedado clara por ahora mi pasión por la ingeniería de transporte / ingeniería de tráfico (o la ingeniería y el tráfico / transporte), la informática y la tecnología. Con respecto a los deportes, disto mucho de ser un fanático pero confieso que me gusta el senderismo y trekking urbano. Finalmente añadir mis actividades de voluntariado; editor de Wikipedia y voluntario en causas STEM**

** STEM: Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas, por sus siglas en inglés (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

the road toward smart cities

Posted On Monday, 29 August 2016

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has released a guide (in English, Portuguese and Spanish) on the best practices for managing smart cities, targeting developed and developing countries on a path to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

IDB defines a smart city as a city that “places people at the centre of development, incorporates Information and Communication Technologies [ICT] into urban management, and uses these elements as tools to stimulate the design of an effective government that includes collaborative planning and citizen participation”.

London deploys a hologram to enforce new escalator rules

Posted On Tuesday, 5 July 2016

In line with was I previously reported in February (optimising busy escalators: don’t walk but stand), London’s Tube Network has a new weapon in its bid to get people to stand on both sides of the escalator: a singing hologram. Try to exit the city’s Holborn Station during morning rush hour and you’re now greeted by a blond woman projected onto a human-shaped cutout. As the video above shows, this smiling Stepford Train Guard urges you to stand on both sides of the escalator rather than reserve one side for walking only. As if the hologram’s grating cheerfulness wasn’t enough (all cheerfulness is grating before 9 a.m.), she has now apparently started singing. According to recent commuter reports, the ghost guard has started blurting slogans and breaking into a somewhat tuneless renditions of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” among other songs.

European project to develop ways of reducing spread of disease by transport

Posted On Thursday, 2 June 2016

PANDHUB, a three-year international project coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is developing ways of reducing the risk of pandemics and managing other high-threat pathogen incidents in transport hubs.

The objective of the project is to assess threats, to forecast and to model and develop preparedness and ways to limit the spread of serious high-threat infections in transport hubs, such as airports and underground and train stations. The project also involves testing and developing tools, such as modern, fast mobile tools, for dealing with pandemic threats.

The outcomes of the project will be helpful in analysing risks, preparing for emergencies and planning responses. It will also produce instructions for effectively cutting off different routes of transmission and for protecting, cleaning and decontaminating people and facilities.

public transport (@septa) meets @uber to fill the “last mile”

Posted On Friday, 27 May 2016

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) partners from this week with Uber to find new ways to fill the “last mile” gap between home and the train. In this pilot partnership between SEPTA and Uber, SEPTA patrons can hail an Uber ride share at a 40% discount for travel to and from 11 Regional Rail stations.

To receive the discount, the trip must begin or end in the station parking lot. Exact addresses for the stations, which you will need for pick-up and drop-off purposes, can be found on SEPTA’s Uber partnership website. Uber will provide data on usage and distance travelled to SEPTA on a confidential basis; that data will in turn allow the agency to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program, which is designed both to increase ridership and to relieve pressure on the parking lots at these stations. The stations were chosen because they combine high ridership with limited parking availability. Should the pilot prove successful, SEPTA and Uber may extend the program and even expand it to more stations.

This announcement is in line with the recent study from APTA (reported on this website), where it was found out that rather than competing with public transportation, shared-ride services such as Uber and Lyft, car sharing networks like Zipcar and bike-sharing networks like Indego promote public transportation use.

Update 31/05/16: Uber fares are to be subsidised by up to 25% by four Florida cities together with Altamonte Springs which launched the pilot project in March. Further info.

seven ways cities are fighting congestion

Posted On Thursday, 26 May 2016

Congestion is plain frustrating. It’s expensive, and it places an enormous strain on the environment, on cities, and on the people who live and work in them. But there’s a way out; Transport Engineers all over the world are coming up with ways to tackle the causes of congestion, clear the clog and re-instate flow, as Xerox states:

 1) Road capacities are maxed out; it is needed to invest in public transport and discouraging car ownership and driving (more roads don't mean less traffic)

 2) No real alternatives to driving; there is a clear need to encourage alternative modes of travel

 3) Cash-based toll collection; introduce all-electronic open road tolling so traffic can flow better (I would rename this as embracing technology)

 4) Driver behaviour; in dense traffic, congestion can happen for no obvious reason, so variable speed limits are an effective way to regulate traffic dynamically (I would call this as Intelligent Transportation Systems; ITS)

 5) No priority for public transport;

 6) Traffic signals aren’t optimized; time to adjust dynamically traffic signals

 7) Drivers looking for parking spaces; it is time to adopt dynamic pricing and customer apps.

trust me; I'm an engineer

Posted On Thursday, 12 May 2016

[EN] Today, May 12th, Spain celebrate Saint Dominic de la Calzada; the Patron Saint of the Spanish Civil Engineers and one of the precursors of Camino de Santiago a.k.a. the Route of Santiago de Compostela.

Nothing better to celebrate it than a WTF video.


[ES] Hoy, 12 de mayo, se celebra Santo Domingo de la Calzada, el Patrón de los ingenieros civiles (ingenieros civiles, obras públicas y caminos) y precursor del Camino de Santiago.

Nada mejor que un vídeo WTF para celebrarlo.

GM and @Lyft to test driverless e-taxi

Posted On Wednesday, 11 May 2016

General Motors and Lyft will test a self-driving taxi service in an undisclosed US city within a year. According to the time-scales provided, this would happen few months later that the pilot test in Singapore lead by a start-up and already reported on this website.

GM recently invested US $500 million into Lyft, a ride-hailing app that’s like Uber but smaller and only based on the US market; GM is also plunking down $1 billion to acquire Cruise Automation, whose technology it plans to use in the robotaxis. And, to complete the high-tech showcase, the company also plans to provide Lyft with its new all-electric Chevy Bolt. 

In the meantime, Google—after failing to sign a deal with Ford—is reportedly teaming up with Fiat Chrysler.

car or e-bike? say velomobile

Posted On Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Mikael Kjellman is an outdoor adventure sports who works as a design engineer and a bike lover. He has designed and built a four-wheeled e-bike with full fabric body to keep dry and warm in all-weathers. He has used it for the last year and now he is considering to move a step further and start a mass-process, being currently looking for funds (this website has no relation with this project and is not asking for any contribution at all. It is a mere information provided without further responsibility).

He claims that his vehicle has approximately the same seating position and seat height as a small car, allowing easy access and good visibility in traffic. It has four wheels to be narrow enough for bicycle paths but still be stable in the curves. It has a full waterproof body to keep you warm and dry in any weather, heated windshield, soft seat with back support, air suspension and studded tires in winter. A small trunk for shopping bags and a tow bar for a bike trailer. The motor and control system are from a standard e-bike system and should make it a street legal bike in most countries. And may then be operated on bicycle paths and without a drivers license.

Regardless where this initiative will end, it is quite clear that the vehicle market is evolving in the last few years.

public transport at the heart of the new mobility world, says @UITPnews

Posted On Thursday, 5 May 2016

With space increasingly at a premium in today’s cities, high quality public transport combined with a broader mix of mobility services is the answer to cutting car dependency, according to the latest publication from the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).

The document, ‘Public transport at the heart of the integrated mobility solution’, claims that the key to cutting urban car dependency is an integrated combination of sustainable mobility services. Cities with strong public transport, complemented with services such as car- and bike-sharing, shared taxi services and ride-sharing offer citizens convenient and flexible travel options.

The paper says urban space is at a premium: private cars are parked 95% of their lifetime and during the 5% of the time they are driven, are much less space-efficient compared to public transport, walking and cycling. With increasing urbanisation, mobility demand will continue to rise: public transport, particularly on major corridors and in peak hours, will remain the only viable solution for cities. 

Although new mobility services such as ride selling apps (Uber, Lyft), free-floating car-sharing (car2go) or ridesharing apps (Blablacar) play a valuable role in helping to reduce car ownership, UITP says that alone they do not have the capacity or capability to meet every journey need or solve congestion issues.

These services thus depend on efficient public transport in order to function well. In Paris, 65% of Uber trips start or end within 200m of a metro station. In Berlin, free-floating car-sharing is well-developed but still represents just 0.1% of total trips. This is precisely the point, though: car usage decreases because car-sharing users walk, cycle and use public transport for the majority of their trips and use a car only when necessary.

"Public transport accounts for 1.2 billion trips across the globe each day", said Alain Flausch, UITP secretary general. "It is this vital backbone role that it plays – in combination with new mobility services - that will ultimately offer more flexible and convenient travel options that will help our cities to become less car-dependent".

transit street design guide published @ITEhq @NACTO

Posted On Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has published its Transit Street Design Guide, produced in collaboration with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

ITE has adopted guiding principles that seek ways to improve safety and mobility in the movement of people and goods in the surface transportation system. Integral to that success is the accommodation of all forms of land uses and the associated transportation needs, be they residential, business, recreational, or otherwise.

The concepts presented in the NACTO Guide provide a menu of alternatives for urban areas to adopt in creating people friendly public rights of ways which support both motorised and non-motorised mobility for all. These include many issues faced by ITE members in the planning, design, and operation of transit streets, transit stations and stops, transit lanes and transit ways and intersections.

@Uber and @Lyft users more likely to use public transport frequently

Posted On Tuesday, 3 May 2016

When ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft burst onto the scene, they were talking about disrupting the decades-old mobility networks that preceded them. Their targets fell squarely on taxis, but public transport felt the heat too: would people stop hopping on buses if they could summon a ride with a tap of the finger?
The president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the industry group that represents all those public transportation agencies, announced that, “Together with companies like Lyft and Uber, we are integral to creating a dynamic multimodal lifestyle.” APTA had just unveiled a study showing that ride-sharing and car-sharing services can play a valuable role in complementing the fixed routes of traditional transportation agencies.

The APTA study confirmed with data what many users of shared mobility apps intuitively know: they don’t serve the same purpose as public transport. In particular, riders most frequently turn to ride-sourcing apps for social trips, rather than commuting. The peak demand in a week lands between 10pm and 4am on weekends, when public transport has stopped running or operates infrequently enough to be inconvenient.

When comparing people who use public transport with those who pair it with newer forms of shared mobility, the latter group drove less, was less likely to buy a new car, and was more likely to save money on transportation. The new mobility startups are linked to a lifestyle that’s less dependent on car ownership even compared to people who use public transport frequently. That means if public transportation agencies want to help people get around without cars, they might want to encourage their riders to check out more of these auxiliary transportation options, specially in America due to the low density population compared to Europe or Asia.

The four main findings of the study can be summarised as:
 1) The more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transport, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.
 2) Shared modes complement public transport, enhancing urban mobility.
 3) Shared modes will continue to grow in significance, and public entities should engage with them to ensure that benefits are widely and equitably shared.
 4) The public sector and private mobility operators are eager to collaborate to improve paratranport using emerging approaches and technology. 

Also, 20% of those who have started using shared transportation said they postponed buying a car, 21% sold a car and didn’t replace it, and 18% decided not to buy a car at all.

Startup bringing driverless taxi service to Singapore

Posted On Thursday, 28 April 2016

Singapore may be the first nation to release driverless vehicles.

Driverless cars are all the rage now, as seven major companies claim to market them by 2020. The American National League of Cities estimates these cars will be routine by 2030.

NuTonomy, a driverless car startup, passed its first obstacle test last week. It intends to debut a pilot study for driverless taxi cabs in Singapore, beating competitors with a public testing date before this year ends. In a few years, they aim to have thousands of driverless taxis throughout Singapore.

The company began three years ago at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and raised $3.6 million in funding since January.

NuTonomy provides a fully autonomous taxi service that lets users order cars via smartphone just as they would with Uber. The cars are also electric which helps reduce greenhouse gas emission.

In the race to be the first to release driverless technology, Singapore has special leverage due to government compliance. The government invested millions towards automated vehicles, and though Singapore is known for having strict regulations, it is also a small Island where approved legislation can be quickly implemented.

While nuTonomy’s taxis could be tested by the public before the year ends, Singapore’s government will institute driverless minibuses within the next one to two years according to Singapore Smart Nation Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. The minibuses will take commuters from the doorstep of their home to the train station or bus interchange, making them both a cost-efficient alternative as well as a space-saving, energy-conserving, time-saving, and traffic reductive model.

@SMMT: +50% of UK’s new cars sold with autonomous safety tech

Posted On Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Self driving cars may seem years away, but more than 1.5 million UK motorists a year now leave showrooms in cars featuring self-activating safety systems, according to analysis revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Data from SMMT and JATO Dynamics1 shows that more than half of new cars registered in 2015 in the UK were fitted with safety-enhancing collision warning systems, with other technologies such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring also surging in popularity.

Semi-autonomous vehicle technology not only eases the task of driving, but importantly, has the potential to reduce significantly the risk of serious accidents. And it is appearing on increasing numbers of cars being sold today.

Technologies that are rapidly becoming more commonplace include collision warning systems, which monitor the space ahead of the car using radar and cameras to provide obstacle warnings. These were fitted to 58.1% of Britain’s record new car market in 2015 – whether as standard or a cost option. In contrast, just five years ago collision warning featured on only 6.8% of new cars registered.

Autonomous emergency braking, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the effects of an impact should the driver fail to react, was fitted to more than 1 million (39%) of all new cars registered, with 18% of buyers getting the safety tech as standard.

Blind spot monitoring was a feature of more than a third of new cars, while adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, was fitted to almost a third of new cars registered, either as standard or an option. Just five years ago, less than 10% of new cars were available with this technology, says SMMT.

A report commissioned by SMMT last year found that serious accidents could fall by more than 25,000, saving 2,500 lives every year by 2030, as a result of driverless vehicle technology.2 Besides improving safety, these cars also offer the scope to reduce congestion-induced stress, providing drivers with more free time and allowing them to be more productive. It is estimated that the annual saving to consumers by the end of the next decade could be as high as £40 billion, with motorists able to multi-task while behind the wheel, get to their destinations more quickly and save money on fuel, insurance and parking.

The motor industry is investing heavily in the new technologies that will make fully autonomous and connected vehicles possible. In the UK in particular, it is forecast that by 2030 the development, production and use of these systems could provide up to 320,000 new jobs and give an annual boost to the economy of £51 billion.

See also:

1 Autonomous technology vehicle content analysis by JATO Dynamics based on SMMT new car registration data.

new government research (UK) outlines economic case for cycling

Posted On Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Department for Transport (DfT; England) has published a research looking at how to increase levels of cycling across the country, and putting forward the economic case for cycling.

The two research papers were published as the cycling minister Robert Goodwill unveiled a new government strategy which aims to encourage more walking and cycling.

The new strategy, launched on 27 March, ‘has a clear ambition’ that by 2040 getting around by bike or on foot will be the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.

The first research paper looks at work undertaken for the DfT on the National Propensity to Cycle Tool (NPCT), a prototype tool available online which allows users to see commuting cycling potential at area and route level. This includes analysis on how propensity to cycle varies by age and gender, and how this interacts with distance.

The report also assesses the impact of a number of cycling funds and grants including the ‘Cycling city ambition grant’, ‘Local Sustainable Transport Fund’, ‘Sustainable travel projects’ and CycleNetXChange.

A second report comprises an evidence review of the economic benefits of cycling which concludes that ‘economic growth can result from high density, cycle friendly urban design’.

It also found that cycle friendly neighbourhoods can have ‘greater retail spend’ and says cycle parking allows ‘five times more retail spend than the same space for car parking’.

Siemens to provide V2I technology for Florida pilot connected vehicle pilot project

Posted On Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Siemens has been chosen by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to provide vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology for a new connected vehicle pilot project.

Siemens V2I technology will enable vehicles and pedestrians to communicate with traffic infrastructure like intersections and traffic lights in real-time to reduce congestion specifically during peak rush hour in downtown Tampa. The technology will also help improve safety and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This is one of three projects funded by the USDOT to pilot next-generation technology in infrastructure and vehicles that can impact unimpaired vehicle crashes, which make up 80% of the crashes on the road.

The THEA pilot project, currently in its first phase, will be implemented across the next 18 months, followed by a three-year study period to gather data and determine outcomes. Siemens is working in partnership with THEA to identify how to implement connected vehicles technologies including:
  • - Intelligent traffic signal systems to coordinate signals and pedestrian crossings that respond immediately to traffic conditions in real-time and  provide signal priority; 
  • - Curve speed warnings to alert drivers if they are approaching a curve at a speed that may be too high for safe travel; 
  • - Transit bus operator alerts when pedestrians may be in a pedestrian crossing or when vehicles attempt to go around a bus in order to avoid potential conflicts; 
  • - Automated calls or audio cues for impaired pedestrians to safely navigate pedestrian crossing
  • - Intersection Movement Assistance that warns drivers when it is unsafe to enter an intersection, for example when something may be blocking the driver’s view of opposing of crossing traffic, and forward collision warnings for hard braking in the traffic stream; 
  • - Probe-enabled traffic monitoring to transmit real-time traffic data between vehicles.

The connected vehicle systems are able to communicate with both new and older vehicles through new in-vehicle technology, an on-board unit such as a satellite radio, or a smart phone application. This project will help the USDOT develop the technology, data and baselines to be fully compatible with crash avoidance systems of new cars beginning in the 2017 model year.

hydrogen car

Posted On Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell car has just completed a record-breaking 9,810-km (6,096-mile) unbroken trip around the M25 (the motorway that encircles London) over the course of six days, stopping only to top-up on fuel. Not only did the car achieve the longest continuous journey ever, it also travelled 643 km (400 miles) on one tank of hydrogen - further than any other fuel cell electric vehicle ever made.

On the other hand, another hydrogen vehicle, the GreenGT H2, has recently reached a top speed of 299 km/h.

report links active commuting to healthier body weight

Posted On Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A study of more than 150,000 UK adults aged 40 years and over has revealed that those who walk, cycle or use public transport for their journey to work tend to be slimmer than commuters who travel by car. The study shows ‘robust, independent associations’ between active commuting and healthier body weight.

The results concluded that “active commuting was significantly and independently associated with reduced BMI (body mass index) and percentage body fat for both sexes”.

The study identifies cycling as the best means of keeping in shape, followed by walking. The results also show that even using public transport, with the small amounts of exercise involved, has health benefits over using a car. An average height man would weigh around 5kg less if he were to cycle rather than drive to work each day (woman: 4.4kg).

yet another research shows how parking provision dictates commuters’ modal choice

Posted On Thursday, 24 March 2016

Researchers from two American Universities have found the provision of parking spaces can encourage private-car use and increase traffic congestion.

“We have provided compelling evidence that parking provision is a cause of citywide automobile use and calls into question the justification for basing minimum parking requirements on a predict-and-provide approach. If increased parking provision causes more driving, this effect should be taken into account and managed accordingly through mechanisms like maximum parking allowances and pricing"

A study in Edinburgh, Scotland, recorded considerably lower car use within a limited parking zone than outside, and estimated that a 2.5km (1.5mile) expansion of the zone could reduce commuting by car by 21%.

Surveys of travellers in Haifa, Israel, show that reductions in parking availability could prompt between 23% to 45% of workers (and 16% to 25% of non-workers) to change modes and were dependant on the increase in parking search times.

hyperloop to start expansion from Slovakia

Posted On Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Slovakian Government and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) have recently started talking about building a local Hyperloop system, with the aim of creating future routes connecting Bratislava with Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.

According to HTT, a Bratislava to Vienna route could take about eight minutes at Hyperloop's full speed; a Bratislava to Budapest route just 10 minutes. A route between Bratislava and Kosice a distance of 400 kilometres (250 miles) could also be considered and would connect the eastern and western sides of Slovakia with a short trip of only 25 minutes, substantially reducing the typical 4.5 hour car ride.

drones and construction processes of bridges: Erques Viaduct (Spain)

Posted On Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Erques viaduct is located in a natural environment Southwest of the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), on the new road Adeje - Santiago del Teide.

Transportation Engineer, Ruben M.Cenzano, Ingeniero de Transporte

lessons to learn from the failure of Helsinki's on-demand bus service

Posted On Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Finland's capital hoped a 'mobility on demand' system that integrated all forms of shared and public transport in a single payment network could essentially render private cars obsolete, however, the last ride was on 31st December 2015.

It was called Kutsuplus (Finnish for "call plus") and the service matched passengers who were headed roughly in the same direction with a minibus driver, allowing them to share a ride that cost more (€5) than a regular city bus (€3) but less than a taxi (€6+).

Operated by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority, Kutsuplus was a relevant component of Helsinki's intelligent traffic system. The transit authority paid the drivers and operated the buses, which eventually grew to a fleet of 15 as ridership grew steadily.

However, two main reasons made Kutsuplus failing. First was the need for massive scale to make the economics of ride-sharing really work. Second was the significant public cost of doing that.

The transport authority had big expansion plans for Kutsuplus. From the original 15 buses, the fleet was to grow to 45 vehicles in 2016, 100 vehicles in 2017, and later into the thousands. Achieving scale with this model is crucial in order to optimize trips across an entire fleet. With a small number of buses and users, it’s more difficult to match up passengers who are going in the same direction around the same time.

Scale could not come without funding, and although the €3 million it cost to run Kutsuplus was less than 1% of the Transport Authority’s budget, the service was heavily subsidized. The €17 per-trip cost to taxpayers proved controversial. 

Today, the research company behind this experience runs a similar scheme in the USA. 

Ingeniero de Transporte, Ruben M.Cenzano, Transportation Engineer    

locating the best place for a bus stop

Posted On Thursday, 10 March 2016

A paper published recently in Transportation Research Record, evaluates the impact of bus stop location on bus stop time and stop time variation.

While there is not any safer side as there are pros and cons for the different locations of the bus stops (any suggestions to deny this statement? Feel free to drop a comment), there is a clear winner when talking about efficiency.

The study findings show that stop times occurring on the nearside of intersections are on average 4.2 to 5.0 s slower than stop times occurring on the far-side of intersections, with no impact on stop time variation.

Picture from the Transit Cooperative Research Program Volume 19

Transportation Engineer, Ruben M.Cenzano, Ingeniero de Transporte

Norway to build cycle highways

Posted On Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Norway is proposing to spend US$923 million and build ten dual-lane bicycle pathways that would link the country's nine largest cities and extend to their suburbs, allowing longer-distance cyclists to travel with a speed and safety hitherto impossible.

The effort is part of the country's National Transit Plan, which seeks to reduce emissions from vehicular traffic. Challenges, however, include dark winters, steep mountains and the small number of Norwegians who use cycles.

By 2030, the government is aiming to have zero car use, 75% of the country’s buses and 50% of its trucks must be low-emission, while 40% of its short-distance ships and ferries must be either low emission or use biofuels. In addition, rail and road infrastructure will be repaired nationwide, including an improved, expanded coastal highway with bridges to replace ferry crossings. For roads repairs alone, the government estimates that $4.15 billion will be required, while railway upgrades will cost $2.08 billion.

Ingeniero de Transporte, Rubén M.Cenzano, Transportation Engineer

paying drivers to stay away from roadworks to reduce congestion @BeterBenutten

Posted On Friday, 4 March 2016

Travel behaviour could be altered efficiently providing monetary incentives, rewarding car drivers who avoid driving in rush hour traffic or who arrange their working days differently. This could be achieved by leaving for work earlier or later, working full or part days at home, carpooling, using public transport or finding an alternative means of transport such as a bicycle or scooter.

The Dutch Government has recently developed an interesting study on how this could be achieved for roadworks. Their approach was to place automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras for a period of six to ten weeks to record license plates of motorists prior to the road works. Regular peak-period travellers (15,555) were then contacted to promote the financial benefits of reducing peak-period trips taken along this stretch of highway.

During the operation of the incentive scheme, ANPR cameras were placed on alternative routes to detect potential re-routing on to other roads.

The results were impressive. Traffic demand was decreased by a 5%, with a 15% less travel time lost by vehicles passing through the roadworks. Research demonstrated that expenditure on these incentives generates benefit-cost ratios of up to 5:1. It was found that 25-30% of those invited participated, averaging a reduction on their peak-period travel by 40-50% as well as earning €55.

While the Dutch Government is now progressing with plans to apply it on major roadworks through the "Better Benutten" (optimising use) programme, it is expected other Europeans to follow this approach.

Ingeniero de Transporte, Ruben M.Cenzano, Transportation Engineer
Powered by Blogger.

Contact Form