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RE: [NewMobilityCafe] Follow up to traffic control discussion

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  • Eric Bruun
    Martin Don t go too far with your condemnation of ITS. Don t forget that it also helps speed up transit, it provides real-time passenger information, it
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 8, 2006
      Don't go too far with your condemnation of ITS. Don't forget that it
      also helps speed up transit, it provides real-time passenger information,
      it provides planning data, etc., etc.
      Eric Bruun

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Martin Cassini
      Sent: Dec 8, 2006 8:53 AM
      To: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [NewMobilityCafe] Follow up to traffic control discussion

      It's pretty clear we're reaching a tipping point.
      Traffic controls are of use only to the control industry.
      CTS is a more appropriate name than ITS, where C stands for Costly and/or Counterproductive.
      Innate human skill and intelligence = the real ITS.
      -----Original Message-----
      From: NewMobilityCafe@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:NewMobility Cafe@yahoogroups .com] On Behalf Of Larry Shaeffer
      Sent: 08 December 2006 13:07
      To: NewMobilityCafe@ yahoogroups. com
      Subject: Re: [NewMobilityCafe] Follow up to traffic control discussion

      I've been to numerous presentations on ITS projects for corridor segments from 6-12 intersections. each project having a price tag of over $1 millionUS. The engineers make no promises for improved LOS, they speak in general terms of improved reactions to events, emergencies, signal control etc.  a recent newspaper report had municipal officials mtg (Warrington Twp, sePA, US Rt.611). to reconsider their options after 2yrs ago spending $1million and change on a fiber optic connection and seeing no improvements in traffic flow etc. Many engineering firms and planning agencies are very keen on ramping up investment in ITS. As its being utilized in my region, I see it as just keeping the gravy train rolling.
      Larry Shaeffer

      On 12/7/06, Eric Bruun <ericbruun@earthlink .net> wrote:

      Dear readers:
      One my compatriots in the ITS community raised the following interesting
      question. It is in line with the ongoing discussion about the use of
      traffic signals.
      Eric Bruun

      -----Forwarded Message-----
      From: Amy Polk
      Sent: Dec 6, 2006 11:07 AM
      To: ibec-its@yahoogroup s.com
      Subject: [ibec-its] Controlled Chaos: European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs

      Hello, all:
        Please see below for an interesting article from the English language edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel.  Several small cities in Europe have entirely eliminated or dramatically reduced the number of traffic signs.  Traffic planners in the U.S., South America and larger European cities have expressed interest.  The concept is even being tested in the Kensington area of London. 
        Does this trend signal an uncertain future for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)?  Are we seeing a backlash away from technology, towards what one might call Unintelligent Transportation Systems?
        Food for thought.  Sincerely, -Amy Polk, Senior Technologist, Cairo Corporation
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
      Amy Polk
      Senior Technologist
      Cairo Corporation
      525 School Street., S.W., Suite 203
      Washington, D.C. 20024
      Office: (202) 314-3822
      Fax: (202) 314-3838
      E-mail: APolk@cairocorp. com 
      www.cairocorp. com
      Helping you provide remarkable service to the Citizen!
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      European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs

      By Matthias Schulz

      Are streets without traffic signs conceivable? Seven cities and regions in Europe are giving it a try -- with good results.

      Drachten in the Netherlands has gotten rid of 16 of its traffic light crossings and converted the other two to roundabouts.
      Ben Behnke

      Drachten in the Netherlands has gotten rid of 16 of its traffic light crossings and converted the other two to roundabouts.

      "We reject every form of legislation, " the Russian aristocrat and "father of anarchism" Mikhail Bakunin once thundered. The czar banished him to Siberia. But now it seems his ideas are being rediscovered.

      European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs.

      A project implemented by the European Union is currently seeing seven cities and regions clear-cutting their forest of traffic signs. Ejby, in Denmark, is participating in the experiment, as are Ipswich in England and the Belgian town of Ostende.

      The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga, in the Dutch province of Western Frisia. A sign by the entrance to the small town (population 1,000) reads "Verkeersbordvrij " -- "free of traffic signs." Cars bumble unhurriedly over precision-trimmed granite cobblestones. Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen. There are neither parking meters nor stopping restrictions. There aren't even any lines painted on the streets.

      "The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We're losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior," says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project's co-founders. "The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people's sense of personal responsibility dwindles."

      Monderman could be on to something. Germany has 648 valid traffic symbols. The inner cities are crowded with a colorful thicket of metal signs. Don't park over here, watch out for passing deer over there, make sure you don't skid. The forest of signs is growing ever denser. Some 20 million traffic signs have already been set up all over the country.

      Psychologists have long revealed the senselessness of such exaggerated regulation. About 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers. What's more, the glut of prohibitions is tantamount to treating the driver like a child and it also foments resentment. He may stop in front of the crosswalk, but that only makes him feel justified in preventing pedestrians from crossing the street on every other occasion. Every traffic light baits him with the promise of making it over the crossing while the light is still yellow.

      "Unsafe is safe"

      The result is that drivers find themselves enclosed by a corset of prescriptions, so that they develop a kind of tunnel vision: They're constantly in search of their own advantage, and their good manners go out the window.

      The new traffic model's advocates believe the only way out of this vicious circle is to give drivers more liberty and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves. They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion. The new model's proponents envision today's drivers and pedestrians blending into a colorful and peaceful traffic stream.

      It may sound like chaos, but it's only the lesson drawn from one of the insights of traffic psychology: Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously.

      Indeed, "Unsafe is safe" was the motto of a conference where proponents of the new roadside philosophy met in Frankfurt in mid-October.

      True, many of them aren't convinced of the new approach. "German drivers are used to rules," says Michael Schreckenberg of Duisburg University. If clear directives are abandoned, domestic rush-hour traffic will turn into an Oriental-style bazaar, he warns. He believes the new vision of drivers and pedestrians interacting in a cozy, relaxed way will work, at best, only for small towns.  

      But one German borough is already daring to take the step into lawlessness. The town of Bohmte in Lower Saxony has 13,500 inhabitants. It's traversed by a country road and a main road. Cars approach speedily, delivery trucks stop to unload their cargo and pedestrians scurry by on elevated sidewalks.

      The road will be re-furbished in early 2007, using EU funds. "The sidewalks are going to go, and the asphalt too. Everything will be covered in cobblestones, " Klaus Goedejohann, the mayor, explains. "We're getting rid of the division between cars and pedestrians. "

      The plans derive inspiration and motivation from a large-scale experiment in the town of Drachten in the Netherlands, which has 45,000 inhabitants. There, cars have already been driving over red natural stone for years. Cyclists dutifully raise their arm when they want to make a turn, and drivers communicate by hand signs, nods and waving.

      "More than half of our signs have already been scrapped," says traffic planner Koop Kerkstra. "Only two out of our original 18 traffic light crossings are left, and we've converted them to roundabouts. " Now traffic is regulated by only two rules in Drachten: "Yield to the right" and "Get in someone's way and you'll be towed."

      Strange as it may seem, the number of accidents has declined dramatically. Experts from Argentina and the United States have visited Drachten. Even London has expressed an interest in this new example of automobile anarchy. And the model is being tested in the British capital's Kensington neighborhood.

      ? SPIEGEL ONLINE 2006
      All Rights Reserved
      Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

    • Anzir Boodoo
      Eric, ... I don t think that a move away from the immediate control of junctions spells the end of ITS at all... ITS includes the measurement devices we will
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 11, 2006
        On 8 Dec 2006, at 19:14, Eric Bruun wrote:

        > Martin
        > Don't go too far with your condemnation of ITS. Don't forget that it
        > also helps speed up transit, it provides real-time passenger
        > information,
        > it provides planning data, etc., etc.

        I don't think that a move away from the immediate control of
        junctions spells the end of ITS at all...

        ITS includes the measurement devices we will use to ensure that
        "naked junctions" are working in terms of traffic.

        There are other control systems that don't involve junctions or are
        not urban in nature... an example is Active Traffic Management as
        practised now on the M42 near Birmingham ( http://www.highways.gov.uk/
        roads/projects/4673.aspx )

        Anzir Boodoo MRes MILT Aff. IRO
        transcience, 72 Staplehurst, BRACKNELL RG12 8DD
      • On Behalf Of Sujit Patwardhan
        From: sujitjp@gmail.com [mailto:sujitjp@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Sujit Patwardhan 11 December 2006 Dear Friend, This is to invite you to an important programme
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 11, 2006

          From: sujitjp@... [mailto:sujitjp@...] On Behalf Of Sujit Patwardhan

          11 December 2006

          Dear Friend,
          This is to invite you to an important programme organized by Janwani, on Monday 18 December at MCCI&A Tilak Road.
          Please make a note in your diary and make it a point to attend the presentation, details of which are given below.
          I will be grateful if you kindly acknowledge this message and please confirm that you will attend.

          RSVP: Please confirm your attendance. Thank you.



          Janwani hosts a presentation on

          Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Sustainable Transportation Policies

          by Venkat Rao Pindiprolu (USA)

          Date:    Monday 18 December 2006

          Time:    5.00 pm to 6.00 pm

          Venue: Mahratta Chamber of Commerce & Industries & Agriculture,
          Tilak Road, Pune 411 002
          Pune will be the first city in India to implement the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. A pilot project is currently underway along the Hadapsar-Swargate-Katraj corridor, which will run for a total of 12.2 km along Solapur Road and Satara Road.

          Subsequent phases will add over a 100 kms of dedicated lane BRT, making it one of the most extensive BRT networks in the world!

          The National Urban Transport Policy, published by the Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India, stresses much improved Public Transport , a focus on Non-motorized Transport  (NMT) modes like cycling and walking and most importantly (and the least understood) policies for Transport Demand Management (TDM) as a comprehensive solution for solving the current urban transport crisis unfolding in cities across India.

          There is widespread agreement that cities, especially dense cities, cannot "build their way out of congestion", a mindset that is yet to change in Pune. It is seen that trying to do so, leads to "auto-dominated" cities, wherein the urban structures cater to the needs of the automobile rather than the needs of people and create attendant problems such as pollution.

          Such a holistic policy for addressing traffic problems was pioneered in Curitiba, Brazil and Bogotá, Colombia and several progressive cities around the world, like Manhattan, London and Amsterdam have implemented their own forms of TDM with spectacular results. The Congestion Charging scheme of London has been so effective in reducing congestion and pollution in Central London that it is now being emulated elsewhere.

          About the Speaker
          Mr. Venkat Rao Pindiprolu has been following the events in Pune closely and interacting with members of the Pune Traffic and Transportation Forum (PTTF) which has advocated such policies for Pune. His insights into BRT, its effective implementation and the need for radical changes in the way we think about traffic solutions in order to have an economically vibrant and also a liveable city will be of interest to this select group, whose opinions will undoubtedly influence policy in the city.

          Venkat has been with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for nearly 14 years. FTA is part of the US Department of Transport and evaluates Transit Proposals submitted by cities for Federal Funding and has been promoting BRT as an economically viable solution. His primary duties are to develop Transit Research and Development projects in consultation with transit agencies, supplier industry, universities, research institutes, professional associations, consultants and advisory committees. His current focus is on Bus Rapid Transit,
          and all bus-related research.

          Prior to joining the FTA, Venkat worked at the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA), Baltimore, as the Manager, Systems Engineering. There, he was responsible for capital programs and major upgrades of electrical, electronic, and computer-based engineering projects.

          He has a Master of Science degree from Cranfield Institute of Technology, Cranfield, England; Master of Technology degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India; and Bachelor of Science degree from Andhra University College of Engineering, Kakinada, India.


          Sujit Patwardhan

          ICS Colony,
          Ganeshkhind Road,
          Pune 411 007
          Tel: 25537955
          Hon. Secretary:
          Founder Member:
          (Pune Traffic & Transportation Forum)

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