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The SARTRE project aims to automate slipstreaming of multiple vehicles on the highway

The European SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project, which is developing technology to automate slipstreaming of multiple vehicles on highways, is now a year into its three-year program. The first year has been spent ironing out the concept and investigating the requirements of a prototype system, as well as how people will react to using it. Now the program is set to enter the implementation phase, starting with the testing of a single lead and following vehicle.  Read More

VTT's mobile traffic monitoring system

In July of 2008, the European Union launched ASSETT (Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport), a program aimed at reducing accidents caused by traffic rule violations. It involves a consortium of 19 partner organizations in 12 countries, but it boils down to one thing thing for European drivers – the police will be handing out more tickets. In order to cover a larger number of vehicles, while making things easier for officers and more fair for motorists, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland is currently testing a mobile system that monitors traffic and notes when infractions occur.  Read More

The Elevated High-Speed Bus could be headed for U.S. streets

The giant Straddling Bus we reported on earlier this year could be headed to the U.S. This week the inventor of the bus, Mr. Song Youzhou, announced that his Shenzhen-based company is aiming to form partnerships or licensing agreements with specialized manufacturers to build the vehicle for the American market. Designed as a way to reduce traffic snarls without the need for much in the way of new infrastructure, the “Elevated High-Speed Bus” straddles two lanes of traffic allowing cars to drive underneath.  Read More

Researchers claim self-regulating traffic lights would decrease waiting time at red lights...

If you’ve ever been frustrated by stop-and-go traffic, you might have thought that traffic lights just don’t “get” what’s going on around them... and you’d be right. Traffic lights are programmed based on typical traffic patterns for the time and location, but are unaware of what’s actually happening at any one place or time (this wouldn’t include pedestrians hitting walk light buttons, or stopped cars activating sensors embedded in the asphalt). Not only is stopping and waiting for red lights irritating, but it is also a huge source of wasted fuel and extra CO2 emissions. Now, however, researchers have come up with something that may greatly reduce drivers’ periods in the “red light zones” – a system that allows traffic lights to monitor traffic in real time, and coordinate their signals accordingly.  Read More

The Straddling Bus

China is home to more people than any other country on Earth, and they're moving into megacities at a rate that's simply unprecedented. Managing a transport plan for such a colossal number of people presents a traffic congestion and pollution quandary the likes of which we've simply never seen before. The Straddling Bus is an amazing public transport solution that drives over the top of the cars on a slightly modified road, able to stop without interrupting the traffic flow and to glide over the top of congestion. This go-go-gadget bus is far quicker and 90 percent cheaper to build than a new subway route, it's solar/grid electric powered and it's no pipe dream – construction starts at the end of this year.  Read More

Traffic on the streets of Beijing, the worst offender on the index

If there are three claims that people in almost every part of the world make about where they live, those claims are: our weather is notoriously unpredictable, we are being taxed into the Stone Age, and... the traffic here is worse than almost anywhere else. Well, as part of its research and development of traffic management systems, IBM decided to find out just which places do have the worst traffic - or at least, which places have the residents who are most negatively affected by it. The results: if you don’t like traffic, don’t live in a fast-growing metropolis.  Read More

The Pearl River Necklace concept design

Luckily there aren’t many countries that drive on the opposite side of the road and share borders. However, they do exist, such as China, which drives on the right, and the former British colony of Hong Kong, and former Portuguese colony of Macau, both which drive on the left. This can pose an interesting problem for engineers and road planners, but Dutch architectural firm, NL Architects, has come up with a bridge with a twist – a concept that not only puts the drivers on the correct side of the road physically, but helps reinforce that fact visually to help get the drivers into the mindset of driving on the opposite side of the road.  Read More

Nitrogen oxides emitted from car exhausts can lead to acid rain, smog and damage to respir...

Although much of the focus of pollution from automobiles centers on carbon emissions, there are other airborne nasties spewing from the tailpipes of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. These include nitrogen oxides (NOx). In the form of nitrogen dioxide it reacts with chemicals produced by sunlight to form nitric acid – a major constituent of acid rain – and also reacts with sunlight, leading to the formation of ozone and smog. Everyone is exposed to small amounts of nitrogen oxides in ambient air, but exposure to higher amounts, in areas of heavy traffic for example, can damage respiratory airways. Testing has shown that surfacing roads with air purifying concrete could make a big contribution to local air purity by reducing the concentration of nitrogen oxides by 25 to 45 percent.  Read More

Audi's travolution project sets up a dialogue between vehicles and traffic lights

Traffic lights are an essential part of keeping chaos at bay on our city streets, but the idea didn't exactly get off to a flying start. The first gas-lit traffic light appeared outside the British Houses of Parliament in London in December 1868 but exploded two months later (which was bad news for the policeman operating it) and when the first electric lights appeared in the U.S. in 1912, apparently no-one wanted to stop for a “flashing bird house.” Gradually the technology improved and interconnected lights that could be automatically rather than manually controlled appeared in the 1920s. Now we could be seeing another great leap forward - traffic lights that talk to cars. That's the basis of Audi's travolution project which sets up a dialogue between vehicles and traffic lights in order to keep traffic flowing, save fuel, reduce emissions and possibly help keep drivers saner in the process.  Read More

Road trains promise safe and efficient travel

Is there anything more monotonous than being stuck in a long line of traffic when you still have miles to go before your reach your destination? Wouldn’t it be great if you could relax and let somebody else do all the hard work? Well if all goes well with a European research project, that possibility might just become a reality. The Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) project will look at linking a series of vehicles in a road train, controlled by a lead vehicle, with communication occurring via wireless sensors.  Read More

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