SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Traffic

272

Since their appearance at the end of the 19th century, traffic lights have been the primary mode of granting access to road intersections. Today, this centuries-old technology is challenged by advances in intelligent transportation, which are opening the way to new solutions built upon slot-based systems similar to those commonly used in aerial traffic: what we call Slot-based Intersections (SIs). Despite simulation-based evidence of the potential benefits of SIs, a comprehensive, analytical framework to compare their relative performance with traffic lights is still lacking. Here, we develop such a framework. We approach the problem in a novel way, by generalizing classical queuing theory. Having defined safety conditions, we characterize capacity and delay of SIs. In the 2-road crossing configuration, we provide a capacity-optimal SI management system. For arbitrary intersection configurations, near-optimal solutions are developed. Results theoretically show that transitioning from a traffic light system to SI has the potential of doubling capacity and significantly reducing delays. This suggests a reduction of non-linear dynamics induced by intersection bottlenecks, with positive impact on the road network. Such findings can provide transportation engineers and planners with crucial insights as they prepare to manage the transition towards a more intelligent transportation infrastructure in cities.

Concepts: Transport, Road, Street, Traffic, Infrastructure, Traffic light, 19th century, Pedestrian crossing

182

In this paper, we combine the most complete record of daily mobility, based on large-scale mobile phone data, with detailed Geographic Information System (GIS) data, uncovering previously hidden patterns in urban road usage. We find that the major usage of each road segment can be traced to its own - surprisingly few - driver sources. Based on this finding we propose a network of road usage by defining a bipartite network framework, demonstrating that in contrast to traditional approaches, which define road importance solely by topological measures, the role of a road segment depends on both: its betweeness and its degree in the road usage network. Moreover, our ability to pinpoint the few driver sources contributing to the major traffic flow allows us to create a strategy that achieves a significant reduction of the travel time across the entire road system, compared to a benchmark approach.

Concepts: Geography, Geographic information system, Robert Duvall, Mobile phone, Road, Traffic, Cartography, Geographic information science

94

Road traffic noise has been associated with hypertension but evidence for the long-term effects on hospital admissions and mortality is limited. We examined the effects of long-term exposure to road traffic noise on hospital admissions and mortality in the general population.

Concepts: Mortality rate, Road, Traffic

56

Many global challenges, including obesity, health care costs, and climate change, could be addressed in part by increasing the use of bicycles for transportation. Concern about the safety of bicycling on roadways is frequently cited as a deterrent to increasing bicycle use in the USA. The use of effective signage along roadways might help alleviate these concerns by increasing knowledge about the rights and duties of bicyclists and motorists, ideally reducing crashes. We administered a web-based survey, using Twitter for recruitment, to examine how well three US traffic control devices communicated the message that bicyclists are permitted in the center of the travel lane and do not have to “get out of the way” to allow motorists to pass without changing lanes: “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” and “Share the Road” signage, and Shared Lane Markings on the pavement. Each was compared to an unsigned roadway. We also asked respondents whether it was safe for a bicyclist to occupy the center of the travel lane. “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage was the most consistently comprehended device for communicating the message that bicyclists may occupy the travel lane and also increased perceptions of safety. “Share the Road” signage did not increase comprehension or perceptions of safety. Shared Lane Markings fell somewhere between. “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage showed notable increases in comprehension among novice bicyclists and private motor vehicle commuters, critical target audiences for efforts to promote bicycling in the USA. Although limited in scope, our survey results are indicative and suggest that Departments of Transportation consider replacing “Share the Road” with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage, possibly combined with Shared Lane Markings, if the intent is to increase awareness of roadway rights and responsibilities. Further evaluation through virtual reality simulations and on-road experiments is merited.

Concepts: Cycling, Communication, Road, Traffic, Automobile, Lane, Bicycle, Central reservation

48

This study aims to quantify and describe the burden of fatal pedestrian crashes among persons using wheelchairs in the USA from 2006 to 2012.

Concepts: Walking, Traffic, Public transport, Pedestrian crossing, Sidewalk

42

Behavioural responses can help species persist in habitats modified by humans. Roads and traffic greatly affect animals' mortality not only through habitat structure modifications but also through direct mortality owing to collisions. Although species are known to differ in their sensitivity to the risk of collision, whether individuals can change their behaviour in response to this is still unknown. Here, we tested whether common European birds changed their flight initiation distances (FIDs) in response to vehicles according to road speed limit (a known factor affecting killing rates on roads) and vehicle speed. We found that FID increased with speed limit, although vehicle speed had no effect. This suggests that birds adjust their flight distance to speed limit, which may reduce collision risks and decrease mortality maximizing the time allocated to foraging behaviours. Mobility and territory size are likely to affect an individuals' ability to respond adaptively to local speed limits.

Concepts: Psychology, Effect, Transport, Behavior, Human behavior, Traffic, Speed limit, Autobahn

34

We measured size-resolved PNCs in the 5-560 nm range at two different types (4- and 3-way) of TIs in Guildford (Surrey, UK) at fixed sites (∼1.5 m above the road level), sequentially at 4 different heights (1, 1.5, 2.5 and 4.7 m), and along the road at five different distances (10, 20, 30, 45 and 60 m). The aims were to: (i) assess the differences in PNCs measured at studied TIs, (ii) identify the best fit probability distribution curves for the PNCs, (iii) determine vertical and horizontal decay profiles of PNCs, (iv) estimate particle number emission factors (PNEFs) under congested and free-flow traffic conditions, and (v) quantify the pedestrian exposure in terms of respiratory deposition dose (RDD) rates at the TIs. Daily averaged particle number distributions at TIs reflected the effect of fresh emissions with peaks at 5.6, 10 and 56 nm. Despite the relatively high traffic volume at 3-way TI, average PNCs at 4-way TI were about twice as high as at 3-way TI, indicating less favourable dispersion conditions. Generalised extreme value distribution fitted well to PNC data at both TIs. Vertical PNC profiles followed an exponential decay, which was much sharper at 4-way TI than at 3-way TI, suggesting ∼40% less exposure for people at first floor (4.7 m) to those at ground floor around 4-way TI. Vertical profiles indicated much sharper (∼132-times larger) decay than in horizontal direction, due to close vicinity of road vehicles during the along-road measurements. Over an order of magnitude higher PNEFs were found during congested, compared with free-flow, conditions due to frequent changes in traffic speed. Average RDD rate at 4-way TI during congested conditions were up to 14-times higher than those at 3-way TI (0.4 × 10(11) h(-1)). Findings of this study are a step forward to understand exposure at and around the TIs.

Concepts: Measurement, Radioactive decay, Traffic, Debut albums, Building, Storey, Floor, Thirteenth floor

29

Emissions of CO2 from road vehicles were 1.57 billion metric tons in 2012, accounting for 28% of US fossil fuel CO2 emissions, but the spatial distributions of these emissions are highly uncertain. We develop a new emissions inventory, the Database of Road Transportation Emissions (DARTE), which estimates CO2 emitted by US road transport at a resolution of 1 km annually for 1980-2012. DARTE reveals that urban areas are responsible for 80% of on-road emissions growth since 1980 and for 63% of total 2012 emissions. We observe nonlinearities between CO2 emissions and population density at broad spatial/temporal scales, with total on-road CO2 increasing nonlinearly with population density, rapidly up to 1,650 persons per square kilometer and slowly thereafter. Per capita emissions decline as density rises, but at markedly varying rates depending on existing densities. We make use of DARTE’s bottom-up construction to highlight the biases associated with the common practice of using population as a linear proxy for disaggregating national- or state-scale emissions. Comparing DARTE with existing downscaled inventories, we find biases of 100% or more in the spatial distribution of urban and rural emissions, largely driven by mismatches between inventory downscaling proxies and the actual spatial patterns of vehicle activity at urban scales. Given cities' dual importance as sources of CO2 and an emerging nexus of climate mitigation initiatives, high-resolution estimates such as DARTE are critical both for accurately quantifying surface carbon fluxes and for verifying the effectiveness of emissions mitigation efforts at urban scales.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Kilometre, City, Population density, Transport, Fossil fuel, Traffic, Global warming

23

We monitored trace metals and nitrogen using naturally growing moss Hypnum cupressiforme Hedw. in urban and peri-urban forests of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. The aim of this study was to explore the differences in atmospheric deposition of trace metals and nitrogen between urban and peri-urban forests. Samples were collected at a total of 44 sites in urban forests (forests within the motorway ring road) and peri-urban forests (forests outside the motorway ring road). Mosses collected in urban forests showed increased trace metal concentrations compared to samples collected from peri-urban forests. Higher values were significant for As, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Tl and V. Within the motorway ring road, the notable differences in element concentrations between the two urban forests were significant for Cr, Ni and Mo. Factor analysis showed three groups of elements, highlighting the contribution of traffic emissions, individual heating appliances and the resuspension of contaminated soils and dust as the main sources of trace elements in urban forests.

Concepts: Iron, Nitrogen, Chemical element, Metal, Copper, Traffic, Slovenia, Mosses

19

Urban transportation systems are vulnerable to congestion, accidents, weather, special events, and other costly delays. Whereas typical policy responses prioritize reduction of delays under normal conditions to improve the efficiency of urban road systems, analytic support for investments that improve resilience (defined as system recovery from additional disruptions) is still scarce. In this effort, we represent paved roads as a transportation network by mapping intersections to nodes and road segments between the intersections to links. We built road networks for 40 of the urban areas defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. We developed and calibrated a model to evaluate traffic delays using link loads. The loads may be regarded as traffic-based centrality measures, estimating the number of individuals using corresponding road segments. Efficiency was estimated as the average annual delay per peak-period auto commuter, and modeled results were found to be close to observed data, with the notable exception of New York City. Resilience was estimated as the change in efficiency resulting from roadway disruptions and was found to vary between cities, with increased delays due to a 5% random loss of road linkages ranging from 9.5% in Los Angeles to 56.0% in San Francisco. The results demonstrate that many urban road systems that operate inefficiently under normal conditions are nevertheless resilient to disruption, whereas some more efficient cities are more fragile. The implication is that resilience, not just efficiency, should be considered explicitly in roadway project selection and justify investment opportunities related to disaster and other disruptions.

Concepts: City, Transport, New York City, Road, Street, Traffic, United States Census, Roads