I had a very interesting day out of the office this week at the transport research laboratory in the woodlands of sunny (nearly) berkshire.
I wasn't allowed to take photos and when I made a sketch of the road layout to use as a talking point in the office, a very worried member of TRL staff asked me not to tell people too much in case they were attending the trials and the results would be skewed by people knowing what to expect. As much as a I really want to post a sketch of what I saw, I have to be professional and respect TRL's wishes as the things they are trying have a real possibility of moving out of the lab (OK, a big outdoors lab) onto the streets of London.
|Low level signals. Image from TRL.|
On the day, I was cycling and TRL was basically testing low level cycle signals (that much I can tell you). I didn't see the Dutch style roundabout they are testing, but they were putting the finishing touches to a bus stop cycle bypass which looks quite interesting.
Low level signals would allow "early start" at junctions whereby cyclists get a green before traffic or provide cycle-specific movements through junctions or at crossings.
|A 'Boris' bike. Image Wikipedia.|
OK, so not an interesting blog, I know, but after the bad news last week of the government doing bugger all for walking and cycling in its spending review, it wonderful to be able to report on a positive thing which is going to make the lives of those cycling better and indeed safer and could be the innovations the UK needs to be able to provide layouts that people who don't cycle will be happy to use.
Make no mistake, the scale of the trials show that TfL is serious about taking the government on (through the Department for Transport) to get things like low level cycle signals approved for use on UK roads as they will enable much for flexibility in how streets are designed. However, it is quite sad that it is TfL which has tried to take infrastructure forward and not the government providing the leadership and commissioning the trials itself - still, no real surprise there!