Archive for the 'Safety' Category

Seattle Lights The Way

Streetfilms has produced a short film demonstrating an innovative pedestrian crosswalk design in Seattle.

One has to wonder if such design could have helped save Dr.  Robert Geronemus on Brickell Avenue, Ashley Nicole Valdes on SW 80th Street, and  Mario Reyes on the MacArthur Causeway.

DARPA Urban Challenge: Autonomous Cars

The DARPA Urban Challenge is over, and the winners have been announced. Six out of 11 cars crossed the finish line, completely autonomous without a human driver anywhere. Why do we care about this? Because cars that drive themselves have the potential to be much safer and increase the capacity of existing highways. As long as Will Smith doesn’t switch his car over to manual control, that is.

The cars in the Urban Grand Challenge drove themselves without any changes to the highways or communication between each other. If they could do it without those two, adding them will only make fully automated cars that much closer to reality. Work is underway to develop infrastructure for highways to communicate with cars, in an initiative known as Vehicle Infrastructure Integration, or VII. It’s ostensibly for safety, which is good, but the other improvement is in efficiency, as the space between cars can be decreased and computers can precisely calculate times to let one car maneuver without slowing the others down.

The latest development with VII seems to be the opening of the Connected Vehicle Proving Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Michigan Department of Transportation seems to be making the most progress with VII, developing test beds such as that proving center to be used by the auto manufacturers. These developments could be worth paying attention to.

It is worth mentioning that improving flow on highways through automation will not come close to the capacity of mass transit (like the Metro). We wouldn’t have to worry about red light running, though.

Bicycle Town Hall Meeting Today