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Traffic calming - Vision Zero approach

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EnforcementTraffic

Case: Vision Zero example 

Strategic principle: Traffic system must adapt to take account of the needs, vulnerabilities and mistakes of road users and minimise the risks of road users making mistakes 

Salient features

  • Separate pedestrians from the roadway. 
  • Get rid of traffic lights wherever possible. 
  • The worst kind of highway is straight, wide and flat, with no barriers. 
  • Slow the traffic in urban and suburban areas. 
  • Rate roadways on a four-star scale for the inherent safety of their design. 

What is not mentioned is excellent PT system to back up all these measures. They are still building metro lines in Stockholm.

Approach:

  • Ultimate responsibility rests with system designers. 
  • Road users are also responsible for following the traffic rules. 
  • Children and pedestrians and some passengers are "involuntary road users." 
  • Who needs traffic safety education? Not the kids.
  • It is up to parents and society to provide a safe environment,

Results: Sweden now has one of the lowest road fatality rates in Western Europe, matching that of Norway, with only the Netherlands scoring a lower rate of 4.6 per 100,000.


Comments

idontspam's picture

Question of the day

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Refer to the strategic principle.

Question is: Do you believe the strategic principle will make a difference to your lives?

If yes then: Does our transport infrastructure of today in Bangalore, like roads, signages, markings, footpaths, crosswalks, bus stop information, timetables etc provide clarity to the user in their usage so they dont make mistakes?

Following that: Do you believe this is a good guiding principle to be adopted by our administrators in building our cities and what do you think its impact will be?

Do let me know your views

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Perfect "Bottom to top" approach - easy to find solutions

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This is the way to go since board room conclaves and bright ideas from bright minds will not be understood by the simple road user. What are his immediate simple needs have to be understood, find variables to ease the tension he is undergoing, look at the contents and deliver the contents to his satisfaction because while giving you the problems, he has also hinted at solutions.

Look back - some of the old problems are solutions of today and tomorrow.

It is time to look at problems not as complicated issues but as deliverable solutions.

- Vasanth Mysoremath

Naveen's picture

Poor Tarffic & Transport System

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I think by & large, there is recognition by all that risks, vulnerabilities & hazards need to be minimized, if not removed entirely from our streets. However, the explanation for the very poor quality & maintainence of roads & transport infrastructure, not to mention the very large number of accidents & road casualties involves two general issues :

1) Bangalore (& all Indian metropolises) have populations nearly equal to or larger than whole nations such as sweden, denmark or norway.

2) Socio-economic backwardness of peoples is a major obstacle to education & hence, improvement of discipline & inculcation of better ethical standards.

Thus, since costs are tightly controlled & contractors do not flich at cheating or paying bribes, the quality of signages provided tends to be poor, except on a few, better streets. Many a times, these are damaged or defaced by vandals. Paints used for street markings are of low quality & do not last more than a few months since streets are overloaded well beyond limits - thus, the repainting exercise is all too frequent.

Even if properly allocated /marked sidewalks or crosswalks are provided, they do not seem to have much effect or significance since pedestrians anyway cross any place. Sidewalks are regularly misused by motorists for escaping out from traffic jams or for parking (most common). Hawkers & shop-keepers eye such sidewalks too for displaying their wares.

On the road, frequent & unsafe inter-changing of traffic lanes is all too common, despite the risks.

Better bus stop information & timetables may help, but discipline has to be all-around :  commuters must stay within them & not wait out on the street/s, buses must stop only at these designated points, other vehicles such as autos & cars must not obstruct bus entry & exit/s - a ploiceman must not be required to enforce these.

In my opinion, unless the volume of traffic is drastically reduced, management will continue to be similar to fire-fighting & the erosion of standards will continue & deteriorate further. Advances can only be made if traffic volumes are reduced since it will provide some breathing space to plan & execute /enforce certain measures, but I am not sure we will ever have such an opportunity anytime in the future.

idontspam's picture

 Good points Naveen

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But the points are stating a part of the problem. 

have populations nearly equal to or larger than whole nations

How does a designer take this into account? Does this mean the principle is less valid?

 Socio-economic backwardness of peoples is a major obstacle to education & hence,

Does socio economic backwardness also mean inability to understand communication? Then we are not communicating effectively. If I remember the notes from the CiSTUP visit there is an effort to develop signage that is neutral to language and socio economic status. This will be a worth while solution IMO.

Advances can only be made if traffic volumes are reduced

Does that change the guiding principle? What is an ideal vehicle population for 15mil people by 2050? 

Naveen's picture

Ground Realities Just As Important

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populations nearly equal to or larger than whole nations - How does a designer take this into account? Does this mean the principle is less valid?

This was stated as a reason as to why we have poor maintainence of roads /transport infrastructure, & not with reference to principle/s.

Does socio economic backwardness also mean inability to understand communication? Then we are not communicating effectively. If I remember the notes from the CiSTUP visit there is an effort to develop signage that is neutral to language and socio economic status. This will be a worth while solution IMO.

Whilst this may result in marginal improvements, I doubt if it will bring about any significant change/s. The problem is not just one of inability to understand written script/s. In urban centers, people are generally better educated & do know how to recognize traffic symbols, but still ignore safety signs, street caution notices & even traffic lights in the absence of a cop.

This is because the volumes of population & consequently traffic are too large, with street space in short supply. This also explains why we see such poor ethics - almost every resource remains in short supply with excessive demand, & this breeds indiscipline /poor manners.

Advances can only be made if traffic volumes are reduced - Does that change the guiding principle? What is an ideal vehicle population for 15mil people by 2050?

Again, the statement was in relation to ground realities. I don't think anyone can provide a figure for vehicles - it would depend on efficiency /availability of PTs, street infrastructure, etc. The lesser the traffic, the better, obviously !

s_yajaman's picture

Agree with the strategic design principle

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The system should be idiot proof.   Because we will have idiots on the roads :)

e.g signage - should assume that a person unfamiliar with that part of town will drive there.

e.g. lanes should have arrows painted on them 200 m before the need for segregation

e.g. blinking lights at pedestrian crossings that are visible from afar so that people can slow down

But whether it will work or not depends heavily on point number 2 - which is where Bangalore fails.  The root cause being poor licensing processes and poor enforcement.  Pretty much anyone who can press the horn and accelerator and clutch is on the street.   We have made the mistake of opening the can of worms.  How do we put them back in?

Srivathsa

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

Middle-East - A telling example

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The Middle-East found new wealth & sufficiency in every area when huge deposits of oil were discovered decades ago. However, though they have created vast road /transport infrastructure that are now abundant & in fact over-supplied, the thought processes of the average individual is generally behind expectations.

This again, is perhaps explained by lack of thrust on educative /scientific trends. Self sufficiency & availability of resources is not enough - educating the individual is just as, if not more important.

idontspam's picture

Idiot proof infrastructure

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First off I dont know if our infrastructure is idiot proof. Basics are lacking, and there is an urgent need for the designers to take responsibility for it.

Second there are no attempts yet to educate the idiots behind the wheels. I see no restructuring of learning materials no attempt to inform and educate.

This is the information our RTO provides

This is the information CA DMV provides (scroll down to laws and rules of the road)

If you look at the DMV information you will realize our RTO information cannot be so comprehensive without the infrastructure being so comprehensive. And for infrastructure to be so comprehensive and idiot proof the designers themselves need to have a guiding principle and be aware of how to achieve it. So the circle here is RTO will look to traffic police for guidance on rules, traffic police will look to BBMP for infrastructure. 

Example; when do not block intersection lines (yellow lines at junctions) are painted this should include BBMP laying down specs, traffic police training all their cops to understand how to enforce it and RTO including it in their rule book and changing their tests to include questions on it. Right now when the lines were drawn drivers thought it was rangoli, traffic cops didnt know why they exist only in a few junctions and not others, RTO was probably not informed to change their rule books and inform public. Now those lines are dissappearing like our dreams of good infrastructure.

s_yajaman's picture

Our infrastructure is half done at best

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Our infrastructure - roads, flyovers, pavements, is nowhere close to idiot proof.  They don't  even have a completed look to them.

Look at the Hebbal flyover - probably completed in 2002 or 2003.  Even today there is rubble underneath the various ramps.  It has such an unkempt look to it.  In contrast look at the trumpet interchange at BIAL.

Look at the Domlur flyover system - it makes me feel depressed.  It reeks of poor design from start to finish.  Broken edges, no proper u-turns planned, signages are microscopic and you don;t know which ramp to climb up till you are on it.

On education - an idea struck me.  We need to use the service station network and the dealer network in some way to re-inforce good driving practices.  Honda used to run a campaign - "you find the nicest people on the road in a Honda".  Car companies need to play their part in getting their customers to be sort of brand ambassadors.

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Distribution channels

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 We need to use the service station network and the dealer network.

Good idea, more distribution and broadcast channels can be used but what will they distribute? The CA DMV handbook? Or does each one make up their own handbook based on some other countries infrastructure?

Where is the RTO handbook? If there is an official one from RTO it is conspicous by its absence. I have heard you can get one by paying Rs.150. So can I conclude the RTO has one and hasnt put it up on their portal because they will lose a miniscule revenue stream?

s_yajaman's picture

Begin with the basics

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I would start with the basics.  A new car owner is probably at the height of receptiveness - for most people this is an achievement of one of their most important goals.  So some 10 commandments sort of thing

a. . Safety first and last.  You can only earn a living and do other things in life if you are alive and well.  Not many of the 120,000+ people who die in road accidents each year had suicide on their minds.  Practise defensive driving.

b. Don't horn needlessly.  Never at traffic lights.  Everyone can see that the light has turned green.  Our city is noisy enough without your help :)

c. Stay left if you want to turn left.  Stay right if you want to turn right.

d. Don't create additional lanes at traffic lights by squeezing into gaps.  It just slows down traffic when the lights turn green.

e. Lane driving where lanes are marked.

f. Respect other road users' intelligence.  No one wants to spend a minute more in the traffic than s/he needs to.  If they have slowed down, it is probably for a good reason.

g. Respect pedestrians' rights.  All of us are pedestrians some time or another.

h. Leave home 15 minutes early to avoid getting delayed.  The more important a meeting, the more allowances you need to make for delays.

i.  Don't lose your cool.  All of us eventually get home or to work.  When was the last time we spent all night in a car?

j.  If you drink, get someone else to drive.

Srivathsa

 

 

 

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

Let's Pause & Look Elsewhere Too

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VKM mentioned the flwg :

"board room conclaves & bright ideas from bright minds will not be understood by the simple road user. His immediate simple needs have to be understood"

I beleive he has a point. We are concentrating on car user/s who though better educated, find a vast jungle out there to be dealt with. The chaos we see is basically sown not just by BBMP /RTO etc. but also by many other factors. An example is an illiterate driver who makes his way to the city in search of employment. One of the easier options for him is to obtain a driver's license & drive a vehicle for a company or an individual.

The processes he undergoes to obtain a license reeks of the malpractices that are common in our country. I once had a driver who came from arsikere & his story was that he obtained a license through a transport company that he worked for without even undergoing a test ! Though he performed satisfactorily as a driver, we had to do away with him (& preferred not to have one) since he began stealing fuel & selling it to autos at reduced price.

If driving discipline has to be improved, we are looking at eradicating a whole lot of related problems, apart from more stringent licensing norms not just in the city's RTOs but also in the state, possibly all over the country (Standards & norms are better in the south than the rest of the country is what I hear from friends from elsewhere !).

idontspam's picture

QOTD

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Here is the question of the day from the KA RTO test questions. 

116. When a cow is standing across the road:- 
        a. As to and wait until it clears the road. 
        b. Pass if from front. 
        c. Pass it from behind.

I rest my case.

I refer back to the 3E circle. Can we solve only one of these E's in isolation?

 

blrsri's picture

simulator testing can help?

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RTO's are planning this..unfortunately the simulators do not have an AMC..duh..or is it that the authoritites are plain incompetent to use it?

..Simulator is a computer-controlled device like a video-game, where the candidate moves manages the steering wheel, gears and other driving devices, driving on the tracks that appear in the screen before him.

The simulator will record each movement of the candidate's driving style, like how long he remains on the right track and the speed that he maintains throughout the test. Also, any mistake in the clutch operation will immediately find a sign saying "clutch error" flashed across the screen..

Interesting stuff...only if it works as it reads..there will be no jams at KR circle or anywhere!

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_simulator-can-test-driver-s-skills_1276220 

s_yajaman's picture

ROTFL

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I would wait till the cow urinated :).   We obviously cannot solve any one E in isolation.  But we can't wait till all conditions are perfect either. 

I have been to countries where Engineering is not very great (Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines), but people still drive in lanes, follow the red light, etc.

I am beginning to think that there is something in our genes that makes us as indisciplined as we are :)

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Naveen's picture

In Africa, Too

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I was in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) & Lome (Togo) recently. Though I had expected conditions to be awful, I was quite surprised to note the following :

The small airport at Abidjan was very clean & well maintained. UN security forces with bangladeshi personnel were deployed around the airport in UN supplied uniforms & gear. Services & facilities were on par with most other better airports around the world.

The road conditions past the airport, though not the best, were far better than here since traffic volumes are much lesser & adherence to road regulations are far better (despite poorly marked / fewer road signages & lane markings).

I have also accepted, though reluctantly that there is some defect in us that gets us to break or defy rules & regulations whenever possible for personal gain/s.

This is not confined to roads alone, but just about anywhere. Further, this is not confined to the poorer sections, but with all income groups.

We do have a real challenge if we have to reverse this - it begins of course with poverty eradication, education /licensing norms, stringent punishments to those guilty & improved infrastructure - all of these are inter-related & each one is a formidable task in itself.

Naveen's picture

In Africa, Too

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I was in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) & Lome (Togo) recently. Though I had expected conditions to be awful, I was quite surprised to note the following :

The small airport at Abidjan was very clean & well maintained. UN security forces with bangladeshi personnel were deployed around the airport in UN supplied uniforms & gear. Services & facilities were on par with most other better airports around the world.

The road conditions past the airport, though not the best, were far better than here since traffic volumes are much lesser & adherence to road regulations are far better (despite poorly marked / fewer road signages & lane markings).

I have also accepted, though reluctantly that there is some defect in us that gets us to break or defy rules & regulations whenever possible for personal gain/s.

This is not confined to roads alone, but just about anywhere. Further, this is not confined to the poorer sections, but with all income groups.

We do have a real challenge if we have to reverse this - it begins of course with poverty eradication, education /licensing norms, stringent punishments to those guilty & improved infrastructure - all of these are inter-related & each one is a formidable task in itself.

idontspam's picture

 Calm traffic for pedestrian

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Calm traffic for pedestrian safety

There’s no better example than Bangalore which records 60% of fatalities involving pedestrians in road accidents. Traffic calming has the same definition all over the world, which is to reduce vehicle speeds to below 50 kmh. This is in order to reduce injury, accidents, pollution and make the area more pleasant for people. 

s_yajaman's picture

50 kmph - considered too low by our own TOI

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Not by me.   But by TOI which believes that for society to be "upwardly mobile" speed limits have to be raised.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/110851.cms

"Moreover, rather than wake up to the reality that today’s fast lifestyle and faster cars need higher speed limits if society is to remain upwardly mobile, a quick-fix has been resorted to: impose a 50 km/hour speed limit, install speed radars, and penalise those who ‘overspeed’. "
 

I don't know whether to bash my head against a concrete wall when I read such stuff. 

Most cities have inner city limits of 50-60 kmph.  What they do is manage average speed better so that a 10km drive takes 20 mins (i.e. MG ROad to JP Nagar or Majestic to Domlur).

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2009/07/07/montreal-speed-limit-reduce-transport-ministry.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limits_in_the_United_States

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/dublin-city-speed-limits-to-be-cut-to-30kmh-429073.html

http://cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/safety/roadsafetyprogram/SpeedLimitsAroundTheCity.asp

Either the TOI is out of touch with reality or something is seriously wrong with all these high GDP countries - they must be trying to get downward mobile!!!

Srivathsa

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Ravi_D's picture

Try something different...

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Reading IDS's original link after this long... From that link:

One of his (Roger Johansson, Chief Strategist, Traffic Safety, for the Swedish Road Administration) key messages: "If what we are doing isn't working, then maybe doing more of it won't get us very far. So maybe let's try some things that are radically new."

I wish all of us learnt at least this much, fast!.

Ravi

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