This manual will help you anticipate future traffic problems of a transportation network, develop intelligent transportation systems as well as efficient parking systems, and understand the concepts of traffic calming and forecasts. You will be able to put this knowledge into practice to manage traffic in your small neighborhood/complex/construction site.
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This chapter describes the basic objectives of the course and provides an insight into the various aspects of transportation engineering, including its scope and the fields of application.
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Transportation is defined as the movement of people and/or goods from one place to another. Transportation is one of the basic needs of mankind from ancient times. Various modes of transportation are combined together form a transportation system that serves the overall needs of transport.
Transportation occupies a high space in modern life. Advancement in all spheres of life has been influenced by transportation to a great extent. Transportation is also a function of land-use; the need and type of transportation changes with the change in land-use. Sometimes transportation or lack of it, and insufficient or unsafe transportation can be a regional or national level problem that can affect the overall development of that region.
1.2 Modes of Transportation
Transport modes are the vehicles supporting the mobility of passengers, freight and information and the infrastructures supporting their movements.
Road transportation has an average operational flexibility as vehicles can serve several purposes. Road transport systems have high maintenance costs, both for the vehicles and infrastructures, and there are significant environmental constrains in road construction.
It is a common mode of transportation for mass movements as well as heavy goods and long distances. Heavy industries are traditionally linked with rail transport systems, although rail stations have to be connected by a road network to satisfy the complete needs of transportation. Sometimes they are also connected to a harbor to establish a link with maritime transportation.
More than any other mode, maritime transportation is linked to heavy industries, such as steel and petrochemical facilities adjacent to port sites. Despite all this it can be a cheaper mode for intra-continent transportation, as other modes (i.e. air transport) is even more expensive.
Air activities are linked to the tertiary and quaternary sectors, notably finance and tourism that require movements of people. More recently, air transportation has been accommodating growing quantities of high value freight. Airports have to be connected to other areas by road transportation to increase the effectiveness of air transportation.
In modern transportation networks also, there are sidewalks, crosswalks, tunnels, and bike paths that are used by pedestrians and cyclists. Such systems of paths and right-of-way laws require compromise on the part of both the users and the vehicles, and the engineer of such projects is responsible to find the happy balance between the two groups.
Both of these require a certain amount of engineering to insure the safety of the users. These are the least expensive modes and very effective as far as short distances are concerned.
1.2.1 Transportation System
A transportation system can be defined as a system consisting of fixed facilities, flow entities, and the control system that permits people and goods to move from Point 1 to Point 2 efficiently, and in a timely manner safely.
The flow control system consists of the means that permit the efficient and smooth operation of streams of vehicles and reduction of conflicts between vehicles. This system includes signing, marking, and signal systems.
Usually a transportation system is formed with the combination of two or more modes. An efficiency of a transportation system of a region is judged on the basis of following criteria:
1.2.2 Transportation Demand:
Transportation systems are built to serve people in undertaking their economic, social, and cultural activities. For example, going to work, school, shopping or visiting friends.
1.3 Transportation planning
Planning can be used as an effective tool for achieving certain goals and objectives identified by the analysis of existing problem. Planning and the use of management tools has proved to be an economic way of solving traffic problems.
An approach to transport planning can be explained using following chart:
Transportation Planning Process
The transport planning process can be broken in five important stages:
In an urban system, there are a number of alternative transport plans that are feasible for a given set of goals and policies. In order to select the best from these, it is necessary to evaluate each of the alternatives as to how it fulfils the desired objectives.
As transport planning is a dynamic and complex process, considerable uncertainty is always associated with selecting the best option and way to implement it. In addition, transport planning is usually done after anticipating some future growth of traffic and a sudden change in land use or control system or any other factor can affect the anticipated results. Periodic reviews and surveys of travel patterns and journey times should be carried out and the plan should be readjusted if needed.
1.3.1 Citizen participation
Since transportation plans are essentially intended to serve the community and fulfill their aspirations, it is necessary to consult the affected people in the community and give them a voice in the formulation of decisions. The policies and goals may need to be redefined as a result of such consultations.
1.3.2 Traffic Problems in Cities
With industrialization and urbanization there is tremendous growth of traffic in urban areas which results in severe congestion on streets. Congestion leads to delays, time loss, fuel and energy loss, reduction in safety and increased pollution. Parking, loading-unloading goods also contribute to additional damage in a congested traffic situation.
Providing extra capacity in the form of additional lanes or turn-pockets cannot always be a solution. The construction of an extra road is a very expensive and time consuming solution. Even though it is necessary to increase the capacity of any route with increases in demand, using the correct regulations and traffic management measures can lead to an simpler, faster and longer lasting solution.
Typical transportation problems in cities
1.3.3 Traffic Problems in non-urban areas
On the other hand, lack of transportation is a problem in many non-urban areas around the world. In some cases public transportation is available but with inadequate frequency, capacity and safety. Transportation management measures are not very effective in finding solutions in such situations. Transportation planning for a region can lead to permanent and effective solutions for such problems. Improvement in transport network can sometimes lead to overall development of the region in relation to industry and tourism, thus bringing potential economic growth.
1.4 Course objectives
The objective of this course is to explain the concepts of structural engineering and to provide skills anticipating existing and future traffic problems and to develop a capacity to find a fast, economical and effective solution of the frequent or occasional traffic problems.
1.5 Course outcomes