Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pedestrian Scramble Debate in Canada

I picked this up off the ITE E-Newsletter Vancouver Sees Future in 'Scramble' Intersections, Toronto Sees Congestion
 Reassessing the Pedestrian Scramble
News Articles: National Post
Two news articles describe ongoing efforts to institute "pedestrian scramble" intersections (often known as Barnes Dances) in Canada and the US at the same time existing "pedestrian scramble" applications are being removed. The effects on pedestrian-vehicle conflicts and on pedestrian and vehicle throughput are presented.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Effectiveness of Red Light Cameras - Texas Statewide Evaluation

Great article in Dec '11 ITE Journal  by  researchers on Effectiveness of Red Light Cameras 

Offering a New Transportation Engineering Perspective on Cycling Facilities: A Response to John Forester's Letter in ITE Journal

To the Editor:

In John Forester’s letter to the editor critiquing “Physically Separated Bikeways: A Game Changer for Bicycle Mode Split” (vol. 81, no. 4), he takes credit, as he has elsewhere[i], for alerting the engineering community to the supposed danger of bikeways that are physically separated from adjacent traffic. His objection is based primarily on his advocacy for a style of bicycling effective under what most people consider the worst of conditions: a roadway shared by bicycles and high volumes of fast motor vehicles. So-called “vehicular cycling”—essentially operating a bicycle as if it were a motor vehicle—allows the small minority of people willing to operate in such environments a safe way to ride. While Forester deserves credit for developing such a style, better alternatives are now and have long been available.

There is a growing consensus among transportation professionals and decision makers that direct their work that it is the diametrically opposite of Forester’s antiseparation doctrine that results in increasing numbers of people bicycling. Creating as much separation as possible between people riding bicycles from high volumes of motor vehicle traffic improves the safety and comfort of all road users. There is substantial and growing evidence to support these views based on the recent experiences with cycle tracks in Montreal, Canada, Portland, OR, New York, Long Beach, CA, and Washington, DC that are not merely anecdotal, but are being confirmed by emerging research. A 2010 study of Montreal’s bikeways found, not surprisingly, that they were significantly safer than riding in mixed traffic, as well as enormously popular[ii]. New York City reports similar results. Research suggests that the cycle tracks in Portland, OR increased cyclist perceptions of safety (particularly those of women)[iii], a necessary step toward expanding the use of bicycles across a broader cross-section of society. Of course, European cities have long known about these benefits of cycle tracks and comparative research has shown that European countries with cycle tracks had far lower bicycling fatality rates than America[iv].

Unfortunately, Forester’s statements reflect more a personal philosophy about the appropriate relationship of bicycling to driving than they do a reasoned understanding of current research and emerging trends. Stating that “[bicyclists] acting subservient to motorists” is an “indignity”, phrasing such as “cyclist-inferiority cycling” and discussion about how people riding bicycles are “disenfranchised” from riding on the public roadways by cycle tracks, are about as relevant to this discussion as is the 35-year old study Forester cites as the basis for his critique. He was also opposed to building rail-trails in the 1980s and 1990s for these same reasons, which have proven to be groundless.

The fact is that transportation policies are advancing to support increased bicycle transportation; a growing number of jurisdictions and the professionals that serve them are finding ways to accommodate that desired growth and are achieving success in doing so. With better alternatives now available, willingly planned for and successfully implemented in cities across the country, relying on vehicular cycling—and thus relegating bicycling to only those few willing to ride in such environments—would represent a failure both of policy and engineering. The growing movement to create cycle tracks in American cities is being facilitated by the engineering community’s recognition that separated bikeways can be safe, convenient, and attractive. The 2010 publication of the Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials offers the first national guidance on separated bikeways such as cycle tracks. We hope that many other positive steps follow.


Robert Burchfield, P.E., City Traffic Engineer, Portland, OR
Susan Clippinger, Director, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, City of Cambridge, MA
Michael Gardner-Sweeney, Traffic Engineer for the City of Boulder, CO
Brian Kemper, P.E., Acting City Traffic Engineer & Signal Operations Manager, Seattle Department of Transportation
Peter Koonce, P.E., Manager, Signals and Street Lighting Section, Bureau of Transportation, PortlandOR
Dennis Leach, Director of Transportation, Arlington County, VA
Andy Lutz, P.E., Chief Engineer, City of Indianapolis, IN
Susanne Rasmussen, Community Development Department, Environment and Transportation Planning Division, City of Cambridge, MA
Bridget Smith, P.E., Deputy Director, Livable Streets, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Wayne Wentz, P.E., Director Transportation Engineering, Arlington County, VA
John Yonan, P.E., Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer, Chicago Department of Transportation, Division of Engineering
Paul Zykofsky, AICP, Associate Director, Local Government Commission, Sacramento, CA
Mia Birk, President, Alta Planning + Design
John LaPlante, P.E., PTOE, Director of Traffic Engineering, T.Y. Lin International
Rock Miller, P.E., Principal, Stantec Consulting
David Parisi, P.E., Parisi & Associates
Jamie Parks, AICP, Kittelson & Associates
Todd A. Peterson, P.E., PTOE, Senior Transportation Engineer, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Matthew  Ridgway, AICP, PTP, Principal, Fehr & Peers
William Schultheiss, P.E., Senior Engineer, Toole Design Group
Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists
Dan Burden, Executive Director, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
Keith Laughlin, President, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Barbara McCann, Executive Director, Complete Streets Coalition
Randy Neufeld, SRAM Cycling Fund
Gil Penalosa, MBA, Executive Director, 8-80s Cities
Jennifer Dill, Professor, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Peter Furth, Professor, Northeastern University
Ian Lockwood, P.E., Loeb Fellow, Harvard University
Chris Monsere, P.E. Professor, Portland State University, Portland, OR
John Pucher, Professor, Rutgers University
Roger Geller, Bicycle Coordinator, Portland, OR
Zaki Mustafa, Chief of Field Operations, City of Los Angeles, CA

[i] Forester, J., 2001. “The bikeway controversy.” Transportation Quarterly 55(2): 7-17.
[ii] Lusk, A.C., P.G. Furth, et al. 2011. “Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street.Injury Prevention 17: 131-135.
[iii] Monsere, C., N. McNeil, J. Dill. “Multi-User Perspectives on Separated, On-Street Bicycle Infrastructure” Paper 12-1753, Accepted for presentation at the 9th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cycling at Christmas

Why not remind the kids of the fun you can have on your bicycle with toys. I bought these Playmobile bicycles and even a traffic safety kit for the kids this year. This could be a good encouragement program for the new year!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 9, 2011

2012 Transportation Research Board Meeting Schedule

This year's Transportation Research Board meeting promises to be as busy as ever. I have gotten myself involved in five separate activities over the Conference and continue to serve on two separate Committees. This blog post is a bit of a record keeping one, so I apologize if you've happened upon this and are reading it. If you are planning to be at TRB this year, come visit me at one of these sessions.

Building Modern Urban Bikeways: National Association of City Transportation Officials' Guide and National Experience
Event Date:Jan 22 2012 9:00AM- 4:30PM

A nice intro to the Urban Bikeway Design Guide was featured in the American Society of Landscape Architects Blog "The Dirt"

Overview of National Association of City Transportation Officials' Urban Bikeway Design Guide (P12-6095) 
     Maddox, Heath - San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency 
     Sebastian, Jim - District of Columbia Department of Transportation 
     Koonce, Peter J .V. - City of Portland, Oregon 

 Implementation and Case Studies of Innovative Bicycle Facilities (P12-6099) 
     Dill, Jennifer - Portland State University 
     Koonce, Peter J .V. - City of Portland, Oregon 
     Maddox, Heath - San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency 
     Sebastian, Jim - District of Columbia Department of Transportation 
     Freedman, Nicole - Boston Transportation Department 
     Seiderman, Cara - City of Cambridge, Massachusetts 

There's two presentations in one workshop on the NACTO Bikeway Design Guide. Those presentations will have some elements from this previous presentation I gave at Portland State's Friday Seminar in March. 

Then there are the three papers that I helped edit and contributed towards and these included the following:

  Barrier-Free Ring Structures and Pedestrian Overlaps in Signalized Intersection Control (12-2141) - C13 
     Furth, Peter G. - Northeastern University 
     Muller, Theo H.J. - Delft University of Technology, Netherlands 
     Salomons, Maria - Delft University of Technology, Netherlands 
     Bertulis, Tomas - Northeastern University 
     Koonce, Peter J .V. - City of Portland, Oregon 

Preliminary Development of Methods to Automatically Gather Bicycle Counts and Pedestrian Delay at Signalized Intersections (12-2107) 
     Kothuri, Sirisha Murthy - Portland State University 
     Reynolds, Titus - City of Portland, Oregon 
     Monsere, Christopher M. - Portland State University 
     Koonce, Peter J .V. - City of Portland, Oregon 

A Framework for Multimodal Arterial Data Archiving (12-1750) 
     Monsere, Christopher M. - Portland State University 
     Olson, Carl - Portland State University 
     Kothuri, Sirisha Murthy - Portland State University 
     Tufte, Kristin A. - Portland State University 
     Koonce, Peter J .V. - City of Portland, Oregon 

I remain active on the Traffic Signal Systems Committee and Bus Transit Systems, so I will be at those meetings as well. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Transportation Planning Rule Every City Should Reform

The Transportation Planning Rule Every City Should Reform

In the Portland Central City Transportation Management Plan, LOS is not used, but rather a vague requirement that intersection volume to capacity ratio is the measure that will be used. It offers the ability for v/c ratios that allow congestion at peak periods of the day. This has allowed tremendous flexibility for making decisions that follow policy as opposed to a letter grade. It has resulted in improvements that are leading the City towards its mode split targets.

Portland Bicycle Signals

Google alerts is a pretty great at highlighting new activities on the internet. I got a request based on the City of Eugene posting the following press release about their first ever bicycle signal.

I have been keeping track of the various bicycle signals we have whether they have the stencil or are merely exclusive bicycle signals and coded them in Google maps (you can follow the link below. There are a few that are in various stages of design/planning associated with some of the capital projects that the City is involved in that are color coded as described in the google map.

View Portland's Bicycle Signals in a larger map