Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

New motorway speed limit will be 40mph during the rush hour

with 4 comments

Times online

I have been naging on here about speed limits and road safety for a while. I have also been trying to advance the argument that making better use of existing infrastructure should be our first resort, not the last. This report from England shows that pro-actively managing speeds can improve traffic flow reducing emissions and be “a cheaper way of accommodating rising traffic levels than widening motorways.”

This is the sort of idea that should have been examined carefully and objectively by the Ministry of Covering BC in Concrete before they started inviting bids for the widening of Highway #1. It shoudl also have featured prominently in the environmental assessment which is supposed to look at alternatives. Of course, the current one doesn’t other than “do-nothing”. But the combination of traffic managemnt and improved transit would increase the capacity of the existing road and bridge without inducing more single occupant car traffic – which is the current problem.

Traffic engineers typically look at how to move more vehicles. But planers and economists have for years been saying it is the movement of people (and goods) that matters. But of course to the politicians we are currently saddled with, all this fine detail just sails over the uncomprehending heads. They want a mega-project they can ribbon cut.

Written by Stephen Rees

October 26, 2007 at 11:38 am

Posted in Gateway, Traffic

4 Responses

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  1. Interesting though, that the Opposition viewed the measure as a cutback to the road building program and expressed the view that the increased efficiency measures should not “put the brakes on the much-needed improvement to the worst road bottlenecks.” (i.e. road building)

    ron c.

    October 26, 2007 at 11:56 am

  2. Sure, post a 40 mph (64 km/h) speed limit on hwy 1 between 176th and the Port Mann…. not that it will mean much, 64 km/h is about 3 times the speed I’ve proceeded the last few times i had the misfortune to drive that stretch… :)

    Dave

    October 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm

  3. Among the variety of traffic related problems in the Lower Mainland are 2 major ones. The first is the large volume of fuel consumtion and resulting air polution that todays commuters create due to the size and weight of their vehicles. The other is the blatant fact that there are vast numbers of vehicles with just one person aboard using up too much space on already crouded roads. Niether of these annoyances seem to ever change !

    The government could introduce a new classification of vehicle labeled as “Commuter Class”, which would be no larger than a 2 seater, and consume no more than XX litres of fuel per kilometer. There are a variety of vehicles like this available in Europe and Asia from what I’ve been told, and by their very nature, they usually travel at more reasonable speed. The Smart Car for example that we are well familiar with, would do the job well, but the cost per unit is presently too high for the average motorist to own if a larger car was needed for other duties. Personally, I’d love to have one myself.

    Enforcing the use of a commuter class vehicle for certain routes would have to be phased in carefully and fairly, but when completed it could make a world of difference to our present day congested areas, along with fewer emmissions. This has been a persistent thought of mine for some time now, and I wish our way of thinking about cars in general had leaned in this direction years ago. I’d like to hear the opinions of others.

    Leggatt

    November 1, 2007 at 4:41 pm

  4. Just so that people understand why this works read the following

    http://amasci.com/amateur/traffic/trafexp.html

    Stephen Rees

    November 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm


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