Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

EU considers new serious injury reduction target

Posted On Friday, 26 February 2016

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission met with road safety and road victims groups to discuss the future of European road safety targets.

Representatives of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) presented the President with a banner representing the ‘Let’s Go’ campaign, which calls for a new European target to reduce serious road injuries, alongside an existing target to reduce deaths by half by 2020.

More than 200,000 people suffer life changing injuries on Europe’s roads every year, and the numbers increased by 3% in 2014. The campaign’s supporters include seven EU member state transport ministers, MEPs from across the political spectrum as well as campaigners and experts from more than 70 organisations across Europe.

The European Commission had been planning to introduce a serious injury reduction target until last year and the concept had already gained support from both the European Parliament and EU member states.

France to pave 1,000km of road with solar panels

Posted On Thursday, 25 February 2016

Ruben M.Cenzano - Ingeniero de Transporte
Wattway by Colas
France plans to install 1,000km of solar panel roadways in the next five years, Global Construction Review reports.

Very thin yet very sturdy, skid-resistant and designed to last, Wattway panels can bear all types of traffic, including trucks. They are applied directly to the existing pavement. The first pilot test sites rolled out in 2015 confirmed that the concept was a valid one; a 7-millimeter-thick photovoltaic panel.

These panels can glue onto existing road surfaces to draw power from the sun, while providing enough grip for cars and trucks to drive over them. Provider says that 1km is enough to power public lighting for a city of 5,000 people, while 20 square meters can power a single French home.

This idea lies within the new trend of e-roads, such as the solar-powered cycle lane, or the e-highway.

Ingeniero de Transporte - Ruben M.Cenzano - Transportation Engineer

getting more miles from plug-in hybrids

Posted On Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Most plug-in hybrid cars have just several basic driving modes designed for general driving scenarios on the highway or in city traffic. A new system can actually learn from driving trips to balance the use of electricity and fuel in the most fuel-efficient manner.

This new vision of hybrid cars adapting to become more fuel efficient comes from engineers at the University of California, Riverside. Their special hybrid energy management system uses machine learning software to improve vehicle fuel efficiency based on road and traffic conditions, achieving average fuel savings of almost 12% compared with today’s binary-mode systems.

Ingeniero de Transporte - Ruben M.Cenzano - Transportation Engineer

Central London cyclists will soon outnumber car drivers

Posted On Tuesday, 23 February 2016

According to a new report by Transport for London (TfL) car levels in the city centre have plummeted while bike numbers have risen sharply, creating a pattern that could soon see the latter overtake the former during the peak hour.

The number of peak-hour cars in Central London has more than halved since 2000, when an average of 137,000 drivers entered the Central London cordon every day. By 2014, that number had dropped to 64,000. The slump in Central London car numbers is substantially thanks to the city’s congestion charge, introduced in 2003, which saw vehicle numbers drop steadily in the years following. It must be stated that congestion charges is one of the main measures adopted to reduce the use of private cars in European cities.

Transport for London

The rise in the number of cyclists, meanwhile, has been even more dramatic. While just 12,000 people cycled during the Central London peak hour in 2000, 36,000 were present in the same area at the same time by 2014. Across the day as a whole, the number of Central London cyclists rose from 40,000 in 1990 to almost 180,000 in 2014.

Transport for London

London is reshaping the city to accommodate this demand. Cyclist futures are being brightened by a plan to construct properly protected lanes after years of making do with cycle lanes that were really normal, unprotected roads painted blue. The crown jewel among these is the East West Cycle Superhighway, a protected two-lane route shadowing the Thames River that should be ready this summer, although there are other Superhighways in due course. Elsewhere, London’s existing lanes are getting upgraded segregation, with special care being paid to classic blind spots, such as junctions.

This cycling approach is widely replicated in many other cities and countries, where it can be highlighted the German efforts creating a national cycle network.

how to keep cyclists riding (even in snowy winters)

Posted On Thursday, 18 February 2016

There are some places maintaining respectable bike shares even in winter. Surprisingly (or not), these include many Scandinavian locations.

Seasonal cycling decline in select European cities - Ruben M Cenzano Transportation Engineer
via Citilab

Copenhagen shows almost the same bike modal share in winter. Umea (Sweden) is even more impressive because despite its 130 snow days a year it preserves a 24% bike commute.

Apparently, it is not the cold that has the biggest impact on riding decisions. Take Perälä’s own Oulu, Finland, which endures more than 100 days of snowfall a year. During winter, cycling levels are relatively steady even as temperatures range from 0 degrees Celsius to 20-below

Take Perälä via Citilab

The main factor to influence winter cycling rates are the strength of a city’s bike network (ideally made up of protected bike lanes) and how well it maintains this network during the cold and snowy months (ideally as a top priority). For example, Copenhagen salts bike lanes before it snows then makes clearing them afterwards a priority, even ahead of clearing the general roadways for car traffic.

This is why they can be proud of presenting maps such as the next one, where it can be seen on the left a map of all the on-street bicycle infrastructure, and on the right the a map of the bicycle infrastructure that is cleared of snow before the roads are even considered. (I personally believe that maps are the opposite as described in the legend since there are more prioritized cycle tracks in winter than streets with cycle tracks. Nevertheless, impressive.)

via Copenhagenize

Sources/more info: Citilab, Copenhangenize, Take Perälä 

EU accelerates on connected vehicles

Posted On Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The European Commission, which plans a strategy on connected vehicles later this year, has released a report outlining how to ‘catch up’ on connected vehicles.

Industry representatives, public authorities and EU officials have agreed on a shared vision for the coordinated deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) in Europe. This is an important step towards connected cars as C-ITS enable vehicles to communicate with each other and with the infrastructure which the Commission believes can notably improve road safety and reduce congestion.

The report will also ensure that through C-ITS road transport can reap all the benefits from digitisation and contribute to President Juncker's ambition of creating a Digital Single Market.

EU Commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc said: Digitisation of transport is a priority of my mandate as it has the potential to create new growth and smarter mobility. I want to see connected cars on European roads by 2019 and today's report is an important milestone towards that objective. It is nevertheless only a first step, more deliverables will come throughout 2016.

The report concludes that C-ITS could yield up to 3 euros in societal benefits for every euro invested and gives concrete recommendations to address issues such as digital security and data privacy.

vision zero (road traffic safety) is working in New York, getting more funds

Posted On Tuesday, 16 February 2016

2015 was officially the safest year on New York City streets since record-keeping began in 1910, thanks to the city’s Vision Zero program.

Traffic fatalities went down 22% since 2013, before Vision Zero was launched.

Mayor announces $115 million in new capital funds to build on Vision Zero progress, including Safe Routes to Schools and traffic calming measures on key thoroughfares.

Vision Zero specific priorities for 2016 include traffic calming measures on key thoroughfares and safer cycle routes. The city is also piloting a 100-intersection initiative to test safer left turn designs and plans to increase the use of speed cameras to target times and locations where crashes most often occur.

The Vision Zero is the Swedish approach to road safety thinking, and it is based on the idea of no loss of life is acceptable. This approach has proven highly successful. It is based on the simple fact that we are human and make mistakes. The road system needs to keep us moving. But it must also be designed to protect us at every turn.

Freedom to move
Mobility is crucial for all parts of society. But more traffic means more fatalities and injuries on the roads.

The human factor
Humans are not made to travel at high-speed. We make mistakes. Thus, an effective road safety system must always take human fallibility into account.

The Vision Zero Initiative
Transport systems traditionally place responsibility for safety on road users. The Vision Zero Initiative puts this responsibility on system design.

Does the Vision Zero work?
The Vision Zero approach to road safety is highly effective. Traffic-related fatalities are falling even though traffic is increasing.

rip out 80% of traffic lights to boost economy & road safety

Posted On Thursday, 11 February 2016

IEA Discussion: Seeing Red - Ruben M.Cenzano, ingeniero de transporte

In a new report, authors Martin Cassini and Richard Wellings of the UK Institute of Economic Affairs demonstrate what they say are the negative social and economic effects of the government’s traffic management strategy.

A huge proliferation in traffic regulations over the past twenty years has imposed a heavy burden on the economy. Just a two-minute delay to every car journey equates to a loss of approximately £16 billion every year, equivalent to almost 1% of GDP.

The number of traffic lights in England has increased by 25% since 2000. By comparison, vehicle traffic rose by 5%, and the length of the road network by just 1.3% in the same period.

Britain’s first speed camera was installed in 1992. By 2012 there were estimated to be over 3,000 camera housings at 2,300 fixed sites.

Not only is a majority of traffic regulation damaging to the economy, it also has a detrimental effect on road safety and the environment, whilst imposing huge costs on road-users and taxpayers across the UK. The estimation is that approximately 80% of traffic lights could be ripped out in the UK.

Cassini and Wellings make a case for an alternative approach which they say deliver many of the desired objectives, such as road safety, without the costs. They say shared space removes conventional traffic infrastructure, such as traffic lights, road markings and bollards. The report says evidence demonstrates that when regulations are removed, including the rules that give some vehicles priority over others, drivers behave with more consideration to other road users, improving safety and allowing traffic to flow more smoothly.

US DOT accelerates automated and connected vehicle projects, including vehicle safety innovations

Posted On Wednesday, 10 February 2016

President Obama signalled his intent to invest in a 21st century transportation system: a 10-year, nearly $4 billion investment to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is removing potential roadblocks to the integration of innovative, transformational automotive technology that can significantly improve safety, mobility, and sustainability.

Wiki commons

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) is using all of its available tools to accelerate the deployment of technologies that can eliminate 94 percent of fatal crashes involving human error.

Department of Transportation (DOT) is committing to the following milestones in 2016:
  •  - Within six months, NHTSA will work with industry and other stakeholders to develop guidance on the safe deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles, providing a common understanding of the performance characteristics necessary for fully autonomous vehicles and the testing and analysis methods needed to assess them.

  •  - Within six months, NHTSA will work with state partners, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and other stakeholders to develop a model state policy on automated vehicles that offers a path to consistent national policy.

  •  - Secretary Foxx encouraged manufacturers to submit rule interpretation requests where appropriate to help enable technology innovation. For example, NHTSA responded to an interpretation request from BMW confirming that the company’s remote self-parking system meets federal safety standards. Click here to read this interpretation.

  •  - When interpretation authority is not sufficient, Secretary Foxx further encouraged manufacturers to submit requests for use of the agency’s exemption authority to allow the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles. Exemption authority allows NHTSA to enable the deployment of up to 2,500 vehicles for up to two years if the agency determines that an exemption would ease development of new safety features.

  •  - DOT and NHTSA will develop the new tools necessary for this new era of vehicle safety and mobility, and will consider seeking new authorities when they are necessary to ensure that fully autonomous vehicles, including those designed without a human driver in mind, are deployable in large numbers when they are demonstrated to provide an equivalent or higher level of safety than is now available.

Google wants its driverless cars to be wireless too

Posted On Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Google has been testing two wireless charging systems for its prototype electric driverless cars in California.

Two companies (Hevo Power and Momentum Dynamics) received permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to install experimental chargers for Google.

This approach is in line with other tests, such as the British recharging lanes.

Nevertheless, wireless charging for electric passenger cars is already available. A company called Plugless Power offers one-off home charging units for private owners of vehicles such as Nissan Leafs.

Both companies’ systems transfer power from a transmitter embedded in the ground to a receiver on the underside of an electric vehicle, using a principle called resonant magnetic induction, which is somehow similar to the technology used for induction cookers.

Google's wireless charging system seems to be more practical at this stage than Tesla's current approach:

Europe’s city drivers spending up to €25/hour on owning a car

Posted On Monday, 8 February 2016

Zipcar Car Club has recently published a research carried out among 1,800 drivers living within ten miles of the centre of London, Barcelona, Paris and Madrid, driving cars valued up to £15,000 (€20,000).

How Zipcar works - Ruben M.Cenzano Transportation Enginer
How Zipcar works

The research tallied up typical car costs such as road tax, maintenance, insurance, petrol and parking, as well as taking into account depreciation over the year. It shows just how much city drivers are prepared to spend on their cars versus the relatively limited amount of time they spend driving them. In total, the average Londoner spends just 182 hours in their car annually, at a cost of £18.9/€25.2 per hour. Drivers in Paris spend an average of 132.5 hours in their car each year, at a cost of £18.6/€24.7 per hour, while drivers in Barcelona use their car for 197.6 hours a year, at a cost of £11.6/€15.5 per hour. In Madrid, drivers pay £12.1/€16.2 per hour per hour for the 218.4 hours a year they spend driving.

Drivers gave convenience, flexibility and the cost of using public transport as the top reasons for using their car; bad weather and the reliability of public transport were also given as reasons for owning a car in a major city.

Helsinki and Tallinn agree to build the world's longest underwater rail tunnel

Posted On Thursday, 4 February 2016

The cities of Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia), recently signed an agreement to develop a rail line connecting the two capitals via a 92km (57.2 mile) tunnel beneath the Baltic Sea, reducing the current journey time of 1h 40min (by ferry) into just 30min.

This link will melt the two capitals into a single metro area of 1.5 million citizens. As part of the tunnel project, the two cities have also agreed to harmonize their current transit arrangements, including a joint travel pass for both cities and park and ride schemes.

Rail Baltica - Ruben M.Cenzano Transportation Engineer
Wiki Commons
This goal is being pushed forward by another key infrastructure project: a high-speed rail link joining the Baltic States’ capitals with Poland and Berlin called Rail Baltica. This project was identified as a priority project by the European Commission (TEN-T), encompassing the present Priority Project 27 and Rail Freight Corridor 8 (Rotterdam – Kaunas). Rail Baltica took recently a major step forward with the signature ofthree CEF Grant Agreements.

bus bunching explained visually

Posted On Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Have you ever been waiting for a late bus, and all of a sudden two or three buses arrive at the same time? That's called bus bunching.

Bus bunching happens because, if a bus gets delayed, then there will be more people waiting at the next stop than anticipated. The extra passengers' boarding time makes the bus even later, and so on in a vicious cycle.

It can be easily understood on this website:


optimising busy escalators: don’t walk but stand

Posted On Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Usually people naturally create two paths on escalators. One is for standing, and the other is for walking. However, a research from the University of Greenwich in 2011 indicated that on average about 75% of people will stand on escalators while the other 25% walk, with this walkers creating more following distance on the walking side of the escalator versus the standing side.

Transport for London's simulations preliminarily showed that using a whole Holborn Station escalator for standing would allow 31.25 more people per minute to board the escalator. This was based on an empirical evidence found out in Honk Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

The evidence shows that while it can be two lines (walk - stand) in those stations where there is no commuter congestion (where commuters in a hurry could benefit from a dedicated walking lane), it would be required to optimise the use of escalators by setting the two lanes as standing lines at certain stations or times to benefit everyone.

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