‘Modern roundabouts’ were invented in Britain in the 1960s and these were a dramatic improvement on the rotaries and traffic circles of old. For whatever inexplicable reason, they were not introduced by the USA until the early 2000s — following over 40 years’ of prior use and best-practice development elsewhere.Continue reading “Poor Safety Standards at the Federal Highway Administration”
An accepted name for the new design is simply the ‘Swedish 2 + 1 road with wire rope median.’
March 14, 2020
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS] has issued a set of research-based safety recommendations on the design of partially automated driving systems. The guidelines emphasize how to keep drivers focused on the road even as the vehicle does more of the work.
The headline of this piece immediately begs a question: How can a recently-built ‘modern roundabout’ be unsafe? Their specific purpose is the exact opposite — to increase safety and also facilitate a good traffic flow, but both of these tasks require that roundabouts are well designed for the specific location. So what’s going so badly wrong?
The video in the attached article from Wink News hits the nail squarely on the head in an opening comment: “Troopers are working to keep you safe on a dangerous stretch of roadway in Fort Myers…”
Whether it was planned or accidental, the TV channel has identified the real rogue in this situation — the dreadful design, in safety terms, of the road itself.
Various areas have today announced planned spending on road engineering projects to enhance traffic safety, and two of these are Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, in Pennsylvania.
What follows is a list showing the costs of just a few of the improvements, so that readers can understand just how expensive such things can be:
- Coraopolis Borough – $205,000 to upgrade a traffic signal installation;
- Shaler Township – $308,000 to install a new traffic signal;
- South Park Township – $199,975 to construct an auxiliary left turn lane;
- West View Borough – $12,682 to install overhead pedestrian crossing signs;
- Latrobe – $122,000 to install electronic flashing school zone speed limit warning devices
For a full list of projects, totalling $13.1 million in PA alone, click here.
The History of the Three-point Seat Belt
Back in 1959, Nils Bohlin, a safety engineer at Volvo cars in Sweden, succeeded in his given task of creating a three-point safety belt for vehicle occupants.
Highway 34 is an east-west road between the towns of Oxnard and Camarillo, California which is closely paralleled by a Union Pacific railroad track. There are some north south roads that cross or intersect ‘5th street’, as highway 34 is known locally. At these intersections there are traffic lights, and at-grade railroad crossings.
The intersections at Rose Avenue, Rice Avenue, and Del Norte Boulevard have been the sites of multiple road vehicle and train collisions. Traveling south on Rose avenue on the approach to the 5th street traffic light there is an at grade railroad crossing with only enough room to accommodate one or two cars between the railroad track and the traffic lights (see video below). There is not enough room to accommodate a tractor trailer, and often these large vehicles will be stopped at the traffic light with the trailer straddling the railroad tracks. The video is a record of one such incident that was also shown on several TV shows.
Continue reading “Notorious railroad crossings in Oxnard, California”