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Dutch traffic light design/use

Old 09-19-20, 05:58 AM
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Dutch traffic light design/use

I think this is brilliant, enjoyed watching it:

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Old 09-19-20, 07:28 PM
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The whole channel has lots of fun videos that I enjoy. But it's fun to hear an outsider's (he's Canadian) perspective on my country.
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Old 09-19-20, 07:36 PM
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All those traffic optimizations reduce energy consumption and increase safety. Win/win.
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Old 09-20-20, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
All those traffic optimizations reduce energy consumption and increase safety. Win/win.
My first impression was: why would anyone NOT do it like the Dutch?!
Although - from what I could understand (hear and read), people in the US commute over distances that are a lot larger - on average. Correct me if that's wrong. It's similar for getting groceries and doing other "daily" stuff - again, based on what I could hear from other people.
If that's the case, US would need to be radically restructured in order to accommodate pedestrian, cycling, even public transport as equal, or even more widely used than the automobile. But until that happens, perhaps it does make sense for the US to give priority to cars. Cant' really be certain, since I've never swam that far. But for the most of European countries/cities - bicycles and public transport are the way to go.
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Old 09-21-20, 01:05 PM
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Anything that saves lives gets a green light from me :-)

Thanks for the cool vid
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Old 09-22-20, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bike Gremlin View Post
My first impression was: why would anyone NOT do it like the Dutch?!
Although - from what I could understand (hear and read), people in the US commute over distances that are a lot larger - on average. Correct me if that's wrong. It's similar for getting groceries and doing other "daily" stuff - again, based on what I could hear from other people.
If that's the case, US would need to be radically restructured in order to accommodate pedestrian, cycling, even public transport as equal, or even more widely used than the automobile. But until that happens, perhaps it does make sense for the US to give priority to cars. Cant' really be certain, since I've never swam that far. But for the most of European countries/cities - bicycles and public transport are the way to go.
Your impression is largely true, especially in the midwest and west US.

For instance, where I work, the average commute for most of the people I personally know in this building (~20 people), I would say the average commute is around 30 miles, with a couple of them nearly 60 miles (one way).

I lived in N. Germany for a little over a year, and commuted by bike or train (mostly bike) and the design of streets/traffic there, while more bike and pedestrian friendly, still emphasized vehicular traffic (Germans love their cars!), and was similar to the US. But even there, the integrated city layout was much friendlier to pedestrians and bikes. Europe doesn't generally have a large grocery store spaced several miles apart, like the US typically does. My short walk from the train station to my apartment in Hamburg passed by a few smaller markets where I could pick up groceries, so it was easier to go shopping several times a week instead of waiting and doing one big trip (needing the car) like most places in the US.

There are probably only a few cities in the US that would benefit from an Amsterdam style traffic system (San Fran, Portland, Seattle, NYC, maybe a few others), although if every city installed systems like this, other than the initial up front cost, there's not a really downside, and drivers would get used to it. I would be very curious if such systems would incent more people to walk or bike.
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Old 09-23-20, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Your impression is largely true, especially in the midwest and west US.

For instance, where I work, the average commute for most of the people I personally know in this building (~20 people), I would say the average commute is around 30 miles, with a couple of them nearly 60 miles (one way).

I lived in N. Germany for a little over a year, and commuted by bike or train (mostly bike) and the design of streets/traffic there, while more bike and pedestrian friendly, still emphasized vehicular traffic (Germans love their cars!), and was similar to the US. But even there, the integrated city layout was much friendlier to pedestrians and bikes. Europe doesn't generally have a large grocery store spaced several miles apart, like the US typically does. My short walk from the train station to my apartment in Hamburg passed by a few smaller markets where I could pick up groceries, so it was easier to go shopping several times a week instead of waiting and doing one big trip (needing the car) like most places in the US.

There are probably only a few cities in the US that would benefit from an Amsterdam style traffic system (San Fran, Portland, Seattle, NYC, maybe a few others), although if every city installed systems like this, other than the initial up front cost, there's not a really downside, and drivers would get used to it. I would be very curious if such systems would incent more people to walk or bike.
I've been living car-less for about 2 decades. Not because of some eco-friendly statement, but because, in my city, it's impractical. Flat, relatively small in size (2nd largest in my country though). I can get from one side to the opposite in under 20 minutes by a bicycle. Using a car makes me look for a parking spot for 10-15 minutes!

As for the grocery shopping volume: using a trailer sorts that problem. However, if the distance were 10+ kilometres, then it would make more sense using a car: to save time, if nothing else.

In my country, traveling for over 50 kilometres (30 miles) is considered huge. You are traveling, not commuting.
Sure, some people do it, but very few. Mostly people choose to move when their work is that far away.

My city has cinema, football stadium, theatre, shopping malls, swimming pools - all within a 5 km radius.
Holland seems similar.

So I suppose being more car-centric makes sense, at least in many US places. The way things are organized today at least. There are other ways, of course. I published a rather old article on the topic (from the 70s), and find it quite a reasonable way of looking at things:
Why are cars not sustainable?
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Old 09-28-20, 03:32 PM
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Being from Germany and living in the US I can for sure say these are different worlds. I live in a metropolitan area with close to 8 million people and which spans over 9,000 square miles or 24,000 square kilometers.
The "small" suburban city of about 300,000 people where I live has developed some bike infrastructure but it is inferior compared to Europe. In the whole city we have one dedicated pedestrian crosswalk with signal light. Yes ONE!!!. I am not kidding. And yes there are pedestrian crossing at intersections but some even don't have pedestrian crosswalk signals. And if there are crosswalk signals they are timed to the signals for the cars. And the push buttons can be several yards/meters from curb so they cannot be reached by a cyclist. Everything is tailored for cars. Fortunately the city has moved away from the induction based traffic detectors at traffic lights. They never worked for bicycles. We now have cameras and you can "trigger" them by pointing a bright bicycle light into the camera. This way you can trick the traffic light into thinking you are a car.
Shopping areas can be miles from living areas. Same with restaurants and bars. Yes we have multi use trails built for leisure. But they don't connect living areas with businesses, shopping areas or restaurant areas. Dedicated bicycle lanes a long streets? Not existent. Dedicated bicycle lights? Not existent. Dedicated crosswalk lights for pedestrians? Not at every intersection. Sometime you have to cross a 6 line road at your own risk. Yes there is a light for cars but not for people.
Yes the author in the video is right. Cyclists are considered a nuisance here in the US. The cities do everything not to slow down car traffic. The whole concept of using a bike to run errands or to ride work is still a foreign idea in the US. In regards to bicycle infrastructure the US is where Europe was in the 60s and 70s. And funding is purely for roads as well. Trails and sidewalks are to be funded by the property owner. This is why trails often suddenly end or get interrupted because one piece of property has not been developed yet.
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Old 10-06-20, 11:40 AM
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Bike Gremlin The Netherlands is an exception in Europe too, only Denmark and Flanders come somewhat close.

Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Your impression is largely true, especially in the midwest and west US.

For instance, where I work, the average commute for most of the people I personally know in this building (~20 people), I would say the average commute is around 30 miles, with a couple of them nearly 60 miles (one way).

I lived in N. Germany for a little over a year, and commuted by bike or train (mostly bike) and the design of streets/traffic there, while more bike and pedestrian friendly, still emphasized vehicular traffic (Germans love their cars!), and was similar to the US. But even there, the integrated city layout was much friendlier to pedestrians and bikes. Europe doesn't generally have a large grocery store spaced several miles apart, like the US typically does. My short walk from the train station to my apartment in Hamburg passed by a few smaller markets where I could pick up groceries, so it was easier to go shopping several times a week instead of waiting and doing one big trip (needing the car) like most places in the US.

There are probably only a few cities in the US that would benefit from an Amsterdam style traffic system (San Fran, Portland, Seattle, NYC, maybe a few others), although if every city installed systems like this, other than the initial up front cost, there's not a really downside, and drivers would get used to it. I would be very curious if such systems would incent more people to walk or bike.
Actually there is a good video about that from the same guy:

Summary: It's not as good in Copenhagen and certainly not in the rest of Denmark, but it's much more useful as an example.

Cycling is part of the fabric of society here, so it's related to about anything. Grocery stores is just one of them, but a clear example of mutual influence. I guess different fabric means different cycling just like different distances mean different cycling. I could imagine Americans using cycling more as a proper exercise, but they have more space to build showers at work too. A regular grid might be an advantage too and NYC for a large part already isn't fit to get around by car. The economic argument might also be more pressing, if it's easy to get around people will go out more and spend money (tolerance for drunk cycling is also part of the fabric). The suburbs might be key, the kids will love the independence and the parents could do with the time they spend on having to drive them everywhere. I think the question is where to start to make it grow continuously in way that fits the local society, which it will change over time too, especially through the kids.

So you got to develop American cycling and not copy/paste Dutch solutions for Dutch problems, and you can't build an infrastucture that won't hold up until it's finished. The Dutch started in the 70's when they still had a lot left to work with, together with other favourable circumstances.
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Old 10-06-20, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bike Gremlin View Post
My first impression was: why would anyone NOT do it like the Dutch?!
Although - from what I could understand (hear and read), people in the US commute over distances that are a lot larger - on average. Correct me if that's wrong. It's similar for getting groceries and doing other "daily" stuff - again, based on what I could hear from other people.
If that's the case, US would need to be radically restructured in order to accommodate pedestrian, cycling, even public transport as equal, or even more widely used than the automobile. But until that happens, perhaps it does make sense for the US to give priority to cars. Cant' really be certain, since I've never swam that far. But for the most of European countries/cities - bicycles and public transport are the way to go.
The USA is overall a lot less dense than Western Europe, but we also have a greater number of large, densely populated cities. The Northeast Megalopis is in about the same ballpark as Western Europe for population density and has nearly 1/5 of the US population. And even within this region, which could certainly support Dutch-style bike infrastructure and seriously scaled-back automotive infrastructure in favor of greater public transportation, walkability and green space, we aren’t doing it. It’s true that in a lot of the country, European-style infrastructure wouldn’t work. But a majority of the American population actually lives in areas where it could. There are a lot of obstacles, but population density doesn’t have to be one.

That said, as previously mentioned, the Netherlands is exceptional even within Europe for the scale of its bike infrastructure. Paris is by all accounts rapidly changing, but even 4 years ago when I was there, it looked like a scary place to ride a bike. What they do really well, though, is an incredibly vast and useful subway network, with great commuter train service from suburbs as well. Paris is big, but not crazy huge or even super dense compared to similarly sized America cities as far as I know (EDIT: I just checked and I think this part is actually wrong, sorry!). We could have what they have in several places around here.

Last edited by grolby; 10-06-20 at 06:56 PM.
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