Read this interesting article about Amsterdam overcrowding of bikes, of abandoning of old broken down bikes, and no adequate budget there to deal with how to improve the situation. For all of the glorious reviews of biking in Amsterdam, they have the parallel equivalent of car traffic jams in the US, but with bikes instead and on even narrower roads. This BBC article reports that nearly 25% of all deadly accidents there involve cyclists.
BBC Story here:
Holland's Amsterdam is heavily hailed in the US as a cyclist panacea by nearly all bike enthusiasts writing personal blogs and blogs for organizations. I have yet to see a negative review, the bias is very strong. And this because Amsterdam was able to realize about 67% population split of citizens who regularly use bikes to travel to work and school, instead of using the automobile. Sounds very good on the surface of it. This decision is rightfully hailed as a healthy choice and an air quality win, but there are ramifications to the big picture of transportation because of this prevailing policy choice in Holland. Even the Prime Minister sometimes gets a photo op riding his bike to work once every few years, but dark tinted window black cars follow close by/behind. Is this really saving the planet?
Amsterdam politicians chose many decades ago to ignore the car craze, felt it was jamming their system (it was) and instead campaigned heavily to let bikes prevail instead. Actively campaigning to get people on their bikes, and why not? It's flat, and they certainly did not have the room to build larger roads to accommodate large volumes of cars. As a result, cars in Amsterdam now travel pretty much at the SAME SPEEDS as bikes, because they literally trail a bike or two, while they share the narrow road, and with bikes also coming the other way they can't pass... so they essentially can't go any faster than the bikes. End result? Very little advantage of taking a car except to escape the weather or have enhanced travel accommodations such as privacy and carrying larger loads of people or cargo. So cars are used less. It has a very high hassle factor... by design. San Francisco has also opted to make using a car in that city have a very high hassle factor. Parking is scarce and very expensive. Only the very wealthy will participate without an impact. Vehicle lanes have also been converted to favor bikes and buses. It is difficult to drive your car in SF.
The US has car problems and traffic jams in many major cities. Amsterdam has bike problems and traffic jams also, and the minority car population there are severely impacted by bicycle users. It is nearly a flip flop of the situation we have in the US where bikes are impacted by cars because bike facilities are lacking, and in Holland, cars are impacted by bikes because the streets are full of them, literally.
Surely there is a transportation model where ALL MODES OF TRAFFIC can co-exist. It will take more space. It will take a redesign and a new paradigm. It will not succeed as long as certain planners and policy makers try and undermine the automobile systems in place. Current US efforts with Complete Streets are often missing the mark because bike fatality rates are on the rise. Safety is being ignored. This is because some transportation planners are not addressing the big picture, but have been neglecting vehicle congestion, delays, and level of service, where, if neglected, will increase delay, and possibly road rage for some, and compromise the safety of more vulnerable modes of traffic like bikes and especially pedestrians. An angry driver is a dangerous driver. The psychology of people should not be ignored.
The US should be leading the way to come up with the solutions to make transportation safe for all modes of travel. To this day, we have failed to eliminate the nearly 40,000 fatalities in vehicle related accidents every year in the US. I believe it to be because there is not a consensus of what to do, and competing interests, especially bike and pedestrian advocates, who are not considering the side-effects of blindly installing "complete streets" when it is not necessarily complete at all. All modes of traffic matter, and there has been a consistent effort to let traffic congestion fester, that possibly people will shift modes to ride a bike. News Flash is: this is not working. Vehicle ownership continues to rise, fatalities hover at a 40,000 per year, pedestrian fatalities are on the RISE as well as bike fatalities also are on the RISE.
Red Light Cameras, actually INCREASING accidents. FACT.
The Right Turn Red Light Camera Fiasco
Today, the Governor of Texas did the right thing, and BANNED them from their state.
Actually, Governor, this was too long in coming. I have been against these red light camera installations, instinctively knowing that they were more dangerous than good, more unfair than just, and just a bad idea of how local cities can make more money by partnering with some tech company who wrote a bad app, bad software designed to nab people without people fair to people, without involving a human that could make some judgment calls. It was always a bad idea. And I also know that not all Traffic Engineers share my view, in fact, I have debated many of these over the years. Turns out that they were wrong after all. I am glad to see the menace of technology catching humans making mistakes, and not allowing for some humanity, get reduced... even while some countries are upping their ante by installing more and more cameras all over their countries, to nab humans making mistakes. It's not a good trend elsewhere. But I applaud the trend in the United States on this matter.
In California, some cities are still using these. MOST have been discontinued. Program Status as of 2017. Links to active locations on list below.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority voted earlier this week to move forward with contract negotiations with Musk’s Boring Co. to construct a tunnel transportation system connecting the roughly two-mile-long convention center.
“What if we could create something that the rest of the industry -- in China, in Denver, in Atlanta -- said 'God I wish we had, I wish we would’ve,'” Chuck Bowling, who serves on the LVCVA board of directors as well as the president of Mandalay Bay, said during a committee meeting Tuesday on whether to continue talks with The Boring Company.
This is a great idea. Give Elon Musk credit for ambition, and for being successful. He is a genius at what he does, innovating, and transportation needs major innovation now, because some people, misguided as they may be, are thinking that we need to get rid of cars and try riding bikes for a while. Um, no we don't. What we need are more engineers to figure out the problem, and we need that portion of government who are roadblocking innovation, to get out of the way of roadblocking innovation. We need to let the private sector take over the innovation because when your own hard earned money is on the line, when you own sweat and hours spent taking chances that something will come of all your visions and designs, then is the time that great things take place... when you don't take it for granted.
The future of transportation will be with cars. Not just any cars, and they might not even look like a car, such as the rendition above, they will be merely transporters that have multiple functions. They will drive themselves, and the people inside these transportation machines will be able to multi-task. Riding in a tunnel prevents the possibility of getting T-Boned at an intersection. Having things autonomous helps prevent rear end accidents, and other kinds of accidents. Having a tunnel to travel in, removes all of the potential hazards of say, hitting a bicyclist, a pedestrian, a kid, somebody's pet animal, or even a train. It removes all of the elements that are now responsible for 1,000,000 deaths / fatalities in the world each year having to do with motor vehicles. It takes away the dangers of texting, falling asleep at the wheel, distractions while driving, drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving, etc., and makes it all about getting from point A to point B. How can this NOT be a great thing??! It is!
Grant Johnson, TE, is a registered traffic engineer in California,
and is passionate about the future of transportation and infrastructure.
One of the drawbacks to green alternatives in automobiles is the extreme amount of amps it takes to run a heater than can compete with the heat given from an internal combustion engine. The electric cars must drain the battery to run a heater, and according to tests, extreme winter coldness can cut the range by HALF. What this means, is that it takes as much energy to run the heater as is does to actually run and move the car! With the internal combustion engine alternative, the heater is run just fine from merely an offload transfer of heat from the cooling system fluid passing through a heat transfer box in the cab. Compare that "free heat" to running COILS that glow orange with a fan to blow air past it in the electric vehicle, an energy cost you paid for the night before when you charged your electric car. Like running 10 blow dryers at the same time to heat the car!! Think what kind of cost that is. I would think twice before using that kind of energy on myself for heat, because AFTER ALL, we would be paying for that car heat specifically, charging our hypothetical electric car right out of our own electrical bill for our home. Would you run 10 blow dryers at home to heat yourself temporarily in a small space that has lots of glass windows continually getting cooled by freezing winds against the glass? In an electric car, that's what takes place. Your electric bill is going right out the windows. In a gas powered car? It's a "free" heat, going to be used one way or another, so there is no additional loss from using gas.
"If an EV requires 40 kWh to recharge a fully depleted battery, and the rate is 18 cents per kWh, that's $7.20 for a fill-up. Depending on the Southern California Edison rate plan, a 2018 Tesla Model 3, rated at 26 kWh/100 miles, would cost as little as $1.56 for 50 miles' worth of power if home charging started at 11 p.m. Or it could cost four times as much, $6.37, if the car was routinely charged during peak hours." (source: EDMUNDS.COM)
NOT a Retrofit AV. A completely NEW from the BOTTOM UP AV... Ford
There is a case that can be made for a rapid implementation of Autonomous Vehicles worldwide. Safety is a problem. Too many have accepted as a "default" or necessary evil the fact that every year a million people will die in vehicle related accidents. The main reason is not a falling bridge. Not a falling tree. Not an engine that blows up, or the brakes go out. Those are such a rare occurrence, really. No, the main problems can be seen in the video to the right. Things like:
Autonomous Vehicles are here. They work. Now it is up to the masses to embrace them, and not fear them.
Computers have already been operative in vehicles that "we drive" but there is a lot going on behind the scenes over which we have no control...things like:
Transportation is changing rapidly. The United States Department of Transportation has a new plan released to fast-track the adoption of autonomous vehicles. It is at the doors already. By adjusting the "standards" for vehicle safety to remove certain items like steering wheels, foot pedals, etc., a truly autonomous car can be made, taking the human driver element and removing it altogether!
The department, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “intends to reconsider the necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards” as applied to autonomous vehicles, the 80-page document reads. In particular, regulators say they will look to change those safety standards “to accommodate automated vehicle technologies and the possibility of setting exceptions to certain standards — that are relevant only when human drivers are present.”
H2O is the output "exhaust" from the onboard Fuel Cell that generates the onboard electricity. What a system! It is here.
Germany has already launched the first Trains on September 16, 2018! Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars are also already here (see below).
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The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train rolled into the station. The Coradia iLint, built by Alstom in Salzgitter, Germany, is equipped with fuel cells which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, thus eliminating pollutant emissions related to propulsion.
Grant Johnson, registered Traffic Engineer, shares insights and experiences from around the world.
AV Transportation Planning
Bike And Ped Safety
New Mode Of Travel
New Transportation SYSTEM
Night Driving Lidar
Outside The Box
Self Driving Car