Transport research laboratory (TRL)

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  • Went to visit the TRL (with a group of transport experts) today to see the 'Dutch style' roundabout they are testing there and some other things.

    Thought I'd share:

    Firstly we saw a lorry fitted with a sensor that picks up a chip fitted to a bike and bleeps to the driver and flashes lights when a cyclists is riding close down the near-side.

    Then we were shown a surreal traffic light junction in the middle of a wood

    They were testing behavior at different types of advance stop box. They are also testing an eye level traffic light designed to riders a 2-5 second start before the lights for drivers go green.

    We then went to have a go on a driving simulator. I had a go. So realistic. They test things like the effect of alcohol and talking on mobiles on drivers (Mobiles are much more distracting than booze it seems) as well looking a how drivers behave around cycle lanes.

    Finally we went to the roundabout. There was a lot of paint.

    They are thinking of putting this at the north end of Lambeth bridge. Cyclist have an orbital cycle lane going round the outside of the roundabout and drivers are meant to give way as they enter or leave the roundabout.

    I thought the roundabout was confusing and increased potential conflict with drivers, also the planned location too busy with both bike and motor traffic (which one of the TRL guys also said since these are used in Holland where there is light traffic). TRL will be reporting TFL who will need to decide whether or not to implement this in London.
    (More pics from today)

  • Awesome!
    I've worked with TRL in the past, and there was a period where I would've chopped an arm off to have a job there.

    Good to hear these are the circles your moving in SD, I'm confident you will represent cyclists interests sensibly and articulately.

  • Cheers WjPrince
    It is an fascinating place with some real clever folk thinking about this stuff. It was a little surprising to hear some cliche cycling myths from a couple of researchers one saying to me "Aren't cyclists all over the place in London, they're their own worst enemy" and they have a compulsory helmet policy "No one rides a bike without a helmet on TRL soil". Though to be fair, some people who worked there vocally disagreed with this policy.

  • I'm still pondering the sensibility of the lorry alarm system.

  • Yeah... I experienced that in my time working with them (while I was at CABE).
    There has definitely been a paradigm shift in transport planning in the last ten years which can be neatly surmised as DB32 era and post Manual for Streets era.
    While Manual for Streets wasn't faultless it did signal a change in thinking, and the old DB32 approach will hopefully die out.

    But every now and then it can still take a moment to remember then it is not quite gone yet.

  • I'm still pondering the sensibility of the lorry alarm system.

    Me too because:

    1. Drivers may become inured to the constant beeping because
    2. it would beep all the time here, with the number of riders in central London
    1. What about all the false negatives from bikes that aren't fitted with chips?
  • And if they fix that, what about false negatives from bikes the system just fails to detect? If the sensor works most of the time, won't drivers stop looking?

    On the roundabout:

    Of course the cyclepathist faction are already all over this:­13/04/transport-for-london-nails-it-full­.html?m=0­/2013/05/01/we-dont-need-innovative-solu­tions-copy-what-works/

    I still just don't like bike lanes, but at least these seem a lot better thought out than usual.

    TRL's page on cycling research is here:­ials/
    and they are looking for participants for their trials.

  • Thanks for sharing this skydancer. Fascinating.

  • All very interesting SkyDancer, I think the chip for the lorries looks like having maybe the greatest success.

    As to this comment

    Mobiles are much more distracting than booze it seems)

    You can instantly tell when a car driver is on the phone by the erratic driving, speed and road placement,. I am surprised they haven't introduced greater penalties yet

  • ^ They don't seem able to enforce the penalties already in place.

  • ^This is indeed an issue. I'm planning on having a word in the shell of the Merton Police Commander, who seems to be a keen cyclist.

    I believe that drivers on their phones have about the same level of competence of someone who is four times over the drink drive limits. [Citation Needed]

  • They concluded that people on mobiles have significantly less competence that people who have drunk enough to know they shouldn't drive

  • ^how do they actually test these conditions? Interested to hear how it works in practice.

  • Using a very realistic driving simulator that measures how well you drive under different 'influences'

  • So do they actually give you a phone to natter on while you're in the sim, and ply you with gin n juice as you pretend to drive?

  • S'what they said
    They also talked about testing the effect of drugs on driving..?...

  • Where do I sign up? TIA

  • ^ ^ In.

  • thx David, will educate the locals here with this,
    just knowing this stuff is going on will keep them awake

  • I rate the lights sequence most highly, the seconds advance before main lights in Copenhagen every time.

  • At what point will I be able to have this ultra-realistic Grand Theft Auto in my home?!

    I like the idea of having the eye level lights, makes them really nice and distinct from the regular traffic lights, interesting stuff.

  • Hopefully something like that gets incorporated into the driving test before too long.

  • S'what they said
    They also talked about testing the effect of drugs on cycling..?...

  • ^^^^ one of these cyclists is using his mobile while cycling, the other is clearly out of his head.

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Transport research laboratory (TRL)

Posted by Avatar for skydancer @skydancer