Tyre checks vital to keep scooter commuters safe

Tyre safety organisation is reminding scooter riders of the need to perform regular tyre checks to stay safe on daily commutes.

Tyre safety advice for scooter ridersWith the Motorcycle Industry Association’s (MCIA) Ride to Work Week at full throttle, TyreSafe is reminding scooter commuters to carry out regular tyre checks to ensure we can all commute happily. With just two wheels, tyre selection and maintenance are essential for a motorcycle as well as knVowing the right time to replace them.

The number of people riding motorcycles has increased in recent years including those who have been attracted to mopeds and scooters due to the lower running costs and the ease of commuting, particularly in urban areas. The MCIA claims a rider saves on average four working days a year by being able to cut through traffic jams rather than being stuck in them, and if 10% of car drivers switched to two wheels congestion would be cut by 40%.

However, nearly 30% of MoT failures in this class of motorcycle are due to tyre-related defects according to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). That reflects concerns that scooter commuters too often prioritise running costs over appropriate levels of maintenance.

Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, said: “Ride to Work Week is an ideal platform to raise awareness on the benefits of motorised two-wheeled transport and advise riders of the essential safety measures they should take. While scooters and mopeds offer a cost-effective way to enter the motorised transport world and get to and from work, college or the railway station, owners cannot afford to neglect their tyres and ride them in an unroadworthy condition. No matter how experienced or skilled a rider is, tyres are fundamental to their bike’s performance and need to be checked, ideally once a week.”

Karen Cole, MCIA Safety and Training Director, said: “Reducing congestion in our towns and cities is a priority and there are huge benefits to encouraging more people to commute safely on a motorcycle or scooter, both to the individual and to the wider UK economy. If you can ride a bike, you can learn to look after your tyres and I’d urge all riders to make sure they are up to speed with Tyresafe’s simple checks.”

Scooter commuter checklist:

* The minimum limit for a tyre’s tread depth on motorcycle with an engine capacity of 51cc and over is 1mm throughout a continuous band around at least three quarters of the breadth of the tread
* Those below 50cc must have a clearly visible tread pattern around the entire circumference and across the whole breadth of the tyre
* Tyre pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on the swing arm connecting the rear wheel to the bike’s frame
* Check tyres are free of damage such as sidewall scuffs
* Need a replacement? Go for a like-for-like replacement
* Remember: there are three different measures used for scooter tyre sizes, if in any doubt, seek professional advice
* New tyres fitted? Motorcycle tyres have a thin, slippery residue on them when new as a result of the manufacturing process – allow 100 miles of cautious riding to ‘scrub’ them.

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Real Driving Emissions testing approval at Millbrook

The Millbrook facility for performing real driving emissions testing using portable emission measurement systems gains VCA approval.

RDE testing using portable emission measurement system at MillbrookMillbrook Group has been appointed as an approved facility to provide real driving emissions (RDE) testing by the UK’s approval authority, VCA.

The announcement comes after Millbrook was also designated to provide similar services to Dutch authority, RDW, and is as a result of significant investment in Millbrook’s Powertrain department to develop its emissions-testing capabilities. Investment has enhanced Millbrook’s RDE data capture, through the latest portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) and software.

Millbrook’s approval from the VCA covers testing procedures 2016/646 and 595/2009 on light and heavy duty vehicles respectively. The facilities at the Bedfordshire site are able to cover current, and immediately expected, EU regulations for real driving emissions. VCA has a permanent presence at Millbrook, making the conducting of official, regulated procedures more efficient and saving vehicle manufacturers time when putting their vehicles through official tests.

Phil Stones, Chief Engineer – Powertrain, said: “Having worked closely with the VCA over a number of years, we are now fully equipped to conduct officially recognised type approval tests in a compliant and efficient manner. The continued development of our emissions testing facilities keeps us at the forefront of the industry, delivering testing services up to and beyond those dictated by European and global regulations.”

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New Government urged to address local highways

The Road Safety Markings Association is calling on the government to make progress on delivering improved safety to local road networks.

In the wake of the General Election, the Road Safety Markings Association has written to new and returning Members of Parliament to urge a continued focus on the fundamental essentials that make up an effective road network.

RSMA Chief Executive, George Lee said: “Of course, our immediate political outlook involves complex strategic issues in Europe and pressing matters to address closer to home.”

In his letter to MPs, he said: “But there are also many, day-to-day concerns that affect the lives of your constituents; the condition, operation and safety of roads being one of those issues. Local roads that we all must use – whether it’s to get children to school, to reach shops or work or railway station, to enjoy a social life or simply to join the motorway network to travel farther afield – are, in many places, simply not working.

“While the longer-term investment in our motorways is more assured, local authority budgets are under constant pressure, and there is a pressing need for a clear commitment to finding new ways to prioritise road safety on local authority networks. Tax-payers – your constituents – fund these roads and should, quite rightly, demand that they do that.

“National roads enable economic activity to all parts of the country. If the network works, we have an uninterrupted supply chain to our shops and offices; enjoy smooth travel with predictable journey times. And for it to work, it must be safe – for users and for those who maintain the roads.

“The highway sector was facing a significant skills gap long before the 2016 Referendum on our membership of the EU. The outcome of that Referendum, however, throws us further uncertainty whilst the status of EU citizens in the UK remains unclear.”

The RSMA called on MPs to understand the key issues challenging the highway industry now and in the future, and to take note of the recommendations made in its Making the Network Work report, which looks at how the highways industry could meet the challenges faced in the key areas of: road worker health and safety; industry skills shortages; delivering a coherent and sustainable network; and the road safety demands on the network.

Commenting on the outcome of the General Election, George Lee said: “We are pleased to see the return of many of those MPs already close to the issues we face, but ask them to challenge old established standpoints that may be causing a blockage. We look forward to engaging with new MPs and welcome the fresh perspective they will bring.”

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XC60 features in safety technology film

Volvo releases film demonstrating the value of advanced driver assist systems and autonomous control in avoiding accidents.

Enhanced safety image for Volvo XC60“Sometimes the moments that never happen matter the most.” This is the beguiling thought that lies behind Volvo Cars’ new XC60 film. But what does it mean?

Taking a typically human approach, Volvo has captured the essence of how advanced safety technology has the power to change the lives of people both in and around the car.

The film follows a young girl’s journey to her first day at a new school and shows a glimpse of what life holds for her in the coming years – growing up, travelling the world, settling down and raising a family. All of this comes to an abrupt stop as the girl steps out in front of an oncoming Volvo car. The Volvo’s safety system detects the girl and applies its autonomous emergency brake, preventing what could have been a life-changing collision. The film ends with a conclusion: “Sometimes the moments that never happen matter the most.”

Over 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents around the globe each year, but Volvo believes its vision of an injury and fatality-free future can soon be a reality.

Volvo Cars presented several new safety features with the launch of the new XC60. A steer support functionality has been added to Volvo’s City Safety autonomous emergency braking system, while a new system, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, uses steer assist to help mitigate head-on collisions. Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) has also been updated with a steer assist function to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.

The new XC60 replaces Volvo’s highly successful original XC60, which was the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe with more than a million units sold globally since its debut in 2008.

“This film featuring the new XC60 highlights how important active safety systems have become and reflects Volvo’s leadership in this area. We launched our City Safety autonomous emergency braking system as standard equipment in all new Volvos back in 2008, starting with the first generation XC60. Today, these systems are finally becoming an industry standard,” said Anders Gustafsson, Senior Vice President, Region EMEA at Volvo Car Group.

Ninety-four per cent of all accidents are caused by human factors. By using advanced safety technology Volvo believes it can help to reduce the human factor in traffic accidents.

“Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Volvo Cars. It always has been and it always will be. With this film we hope to remind people why we continue to focus on car safety, and how important it is for us all,” said Björn Annwall Senior Vice President Global Consumer Experience at Volvo Car Group.

In Sweden alone, Volvo has seen a decline of around 45 per cent in rear-end frontal crashes thanks to its collision warning with autobrake system.

“We have been working with collision avoidance systems for many years and we can see how effective they are. With the XC60 we are determined to take the next step in reducing avoidable collisions with the addition of steering support and assistance systems. At Volvo we take that extra step – we protect people inside and outside the car whenever possible,” said Malin Ekholm, Vice President, Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

See the film below:


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Parking detection added to traffic management system

TrafficWare extends use of vehicle to infrastructure communication capability with car park vacancy detection in ATMS.now version 2.6.

Six months after delivering a commercially viable Connected Vehicle ATMS module for 2017 model year vehicles, Trafficware has added more functions to its Central Management System ATMS.now at version 2.6 including a new subscription-based parking detection module, becoming the only traffic management system with this capability.

Across the USA, transport authorities are looking to better utilise their valuable parking real estate and automate what has previously been a tedious manual job. In fact, the parking public are coming to expect such services, appreciating the convenience and time savings, avoiding circling a lot looking for open spaces. The new parking detection module, using Trafficware’s patented wireless pod detection system, allows transport agencies to aggregate this vehicle detection data into their central traffic management command centre.

“Trafficware distinguishes itself by delivering consistently paced and relevant innovation. We take pride in having the ATMS.now central traffic management technology to be the central hub of advanced capabilities,” Trafficware CEO Jon Newhard explains.

“Since communities are quickly moving to deploy Smart Cities technology, requiring a vast assortment of capabilities like adaptive signal technology, high-resolution data or connected vehicle intersections, we want Trafficware to be the obvious choice for agencies because of our rich functionality and central integration as can be seen by additional capabilities in the cloud.”

Hundreds of transport authorities rely on Trafficware’s ATMS.now system to support their communities’ complex transport networks, cities like Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, New Orleans and Palo Alto. Trafficware has more than 250 major installations with equipment deployed at more than 20,000 intersections globally. These customers count on Trafficware to keep them up-to-date on technical advancements and make use of their current investments.

Since Trafficware released its Connected Vehicle module in ATMS.now version 2.5 in July, the company has deployed more than 1,000 intersections and has seen major automotive companies introduce 2017 models with vehicle to infrastructure connectivity. The Palo Alto system in Silicon Valley went live in May and was selected as a finalist for the Best in ITS Awards.”

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Fibre reinforced sidewalls improve tyre strength

Nokian Tyres is extending the use of its Aramid sidewall material technology beyond 4×4 vehicles to other classes of tyre.

Aramid sidewall prevents tyre damageCareless parking or hitting a pothole may severely damage a tyre. Sharp crushed stone may also damage the tyre and render it unusable. If the tyre has suffered a hard and sharp impact, you should immediately have it inspected at a dealership. Sidewall damage usually requires purchasing and fitting a replacement tyre.

The Aramid Sidewall technology developed by Nokian Tyres offers a new type of durability and protection for demanding driving conditions. The strong, synthetic Aramid fibre used in the tyre sidewall compound reinforces the structure. The fibre makes the tyre more resistant to impacts and cuts that could otherwise easily break it.

More value to customers

Nokian Tyres is extending the use of the proprietary Aramid Sidewall Technology in SUV tyres designed for varying and demanding winter use. This unique Aramid technology that offers additional protection and improves durability will be available in even more products from the beginning of 2017. Going forward, this technology will also be utilised in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT winter tyres and the Nokian Rotiiva summer tyres.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from SUV drivers and our innovation has been found to be functional in practice. This unique feature that provides added durability offers more carefree kilometres to the consumers. Accidental tyre damage can incur a high cost, but the Aramid sidewall that protects the tyre from lateral impacts may even prevent the damage altogether”, said Petri Niemi, Head of Product Management at Nokian Tyres.

The Aramid sidewall structure that was first utilised in the test-winning Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV studded tyre is exceptionally resistant to wear and cuts. The extremely strong fibre contained in the sidewall structure is also used by the aviation and defence industries.

Each product that contains Aramid technology bears the Aramid logo on its sidewall.

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European partnership on electric mobility

Sweden and Germany have agreed to cooperate on smart mobility projects and electrified roads as used in Sweden by Scania.

Electric road project kicks off in EuropeAn innovation partnership has been launched by Chancellor Angela Merkel between Sweden and Germany. The partnership includes mobility and electrical roads, areas where Scania’s innovations are already being put to the test.

The joint announcement by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Chancellor Merkel of “Innovation and Cooperation for a Sustainable Future” aims to strengthen the two nations’ sustainability, economic and technological competitiveness, and covers four areas, including mobility and electrical roads.

A key focus of the cooperation between the two countries will be the development of electrified road technology, work that has already been started by Scania in cooperation with its German counterpart Siemens.

The two governments’ announcement aims to strengthen the cooperation on development, and applying technology that is already available, while also strengthening the two nations’ ability to compete with others in offering the best sustainability products as the world’s needs continue to change rapidly.

Electrified road for heavy goods traffic

The agreement also underlines the value of strategic partnerships in creating systems for a future of sustainable transport. An example of such partnerships is the collaboration between Scania and Siemens on electrified road technology, which resulted in the world’s first electrified road for heavy goods traffic on public roads, being opened in Gävle, central Sweden, in June 2016.

The two-kilometre stretch of the E16 highway is run by the Region Gävleborg close to Sandviken and the city of Gävle, and is the result of partnerships between various public and private sector entities in Sweden and Germany.

Scania thinks that electrified roads represent one important part of a future sustainable transport system, and the company is now ready to take the next step from field test to real commercial implementation.

“It’s an honour to be able to explain Scania’s work on the electric road to Chancellor Merkel. The agreement between Sweden and Germany underlines the value of strategic partnerships in creating solutions for a future of sustainable transport, something to which Scania is fully committed,” says Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson.

“I very much welcome the partnership and study that will be the first step of it, where Scania is happy to contribute with the experience we have gained together with our partners Siemens and the Region Gävleborg in running our hybrid trucks on the electrified road E16 outside Gävle.”

Read more on Scania’s sustainable transport initiatives at “Environmental Engineering”

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Automatic enforcement on trial to protect Bournemouth schools

Schools in Bournemouth are taking part in a trial to see if automatic enforcement system can deter illegal parking outside school premises.

Auto enforcement protects Bournemouth schoolsBournemouth Borough Council is taking the first steps towards a fixed deterrent to reduce the increasing incidence of inconsiderate parking outside schools by deploying Videalert’s fully hosted CCTV-based enforcement platform.  Six cameras will be deployed as part of a year-long pilot scheme at an initial three school locations where illegal parking on the yellow ‘keep clears’ has been identified as putting children’s lives in danger.

According to Elaine Smith, Deputy Parking Services Manager at Bournemouth Borough Council: “The zig zag lines provided outside our schools are there to protect our children, making the road safer to cross.  We have in the past tried using camera cars but it is hoped that using fixed CCTV cameras will prove to be more effective in changing the anti-social behaviour of those who drop off and pick up their children in restricted areas.”

Videalert’s CEaaS system is easy to install as it does not require the procurement and deployment of any equipment within Bournemouth’s IT infrastructure or software to be installed on local PCs for evidence pack review.  A single PTZ camera installed on a lamp post continuously monitors the keep clear zones and automatically captures only the drivers that are stationary in defined ‘watch areas’ and exceed the ‘watch times’.  The system combines automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) with video analytics to deliver the highest productivity at the lowest operational cost.

Qualified council operatives can access and review evidence packs using standard web browsers before transmitting confirmed offences to the back office processing system where PCNs are issued.  Videalert is providing Bournemouth Borough Council with a dedicated virtual server to guarantee the highest level of security and integrity with cloud storage used for backup.

“Outsourcing to a hosted enforcement environment enables councils to improve efficiency, maximise productivity and maintain greater control over costs,” added Tim Daniels, Sales and Marketing Director of Videalert.  “This innovative solution also allows for other civil traffic enforcement requirements, such as bus lanes, to be easily and rapidly added as well as providing a platform for delivering traffic management and community safety applications simultaneously without needing a major IT infrastructure project.”

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Self driving vehicle partnership struck

Uber and Daimler are cooperating on the development and operation of connected, autonomous, shared electric vehicles.

Daimler and Uber have agreement on their intent to cooperate on the supply and operation of self-driving vehicles. Daimler also plans to introduce self-driving vehicles on Uber’s global ridesharing network in the coming years. Daimler is the first automotive manufacturer to join with Uber as it opens up its platform for manufacturers to introduce their own self-driving cars.

With its new corporate strategy entitled CASE – which stands for “Connected”, “Autonomous”, “Shared & Services” and “Electric” – Mercedes-Benz Cars is marking out the cornerstones for its future success and the reshaping of mobility. This agreement is the next step into the future of shared and autonomous driving. Daimler is a pioneer when it comes to self-driving vehicle technologies. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the world’s first series-production vehicle to be awarded a test licence for autonomous driving in the US state of Nevada. With its Highway Pilot system, Daimler Trucks is now the world’s first truck manufacturer with plans to develop an autonomous driving system for use in commercial vehicles.

Uber has assembled a strong self-driving engineering group with its Advanced Technology Group, which is testing self-driving vehicles on the road in the US. Uber’s Otto division is also working on self-driving trucks. And Uber has valuable experience that comes from running a ridesharing and delivery network across 74 countries.

Each company will benefit from the other’s capabilities in research and development of autonomous driving and network operations.

“As the inventor of the car, Daimler aims to be at the forefront of autonomous driving – one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility”, said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Mobility service providers offer an ideal platform for autonomous driving technology and Uber is a leading mobility platform company. The real revolution in future mobility lies in intelligently linking the four major trends we call CASE: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. And we will certainly be the driver of these changes.”

Travis Kalanick, CEO and Co-Founder of Uber, said: “Self-driving technology holds the promise of creating cities that are safer, cleaner and more accessible. But we can’t get to that future alone. That’s why we’re opening up the Uber platform to automotive manufacturers like Daimler. By combining Daimler’s and Uber’s technological strengths, more people can get access to reliable transportation at the push of a button.”

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Automatic street lighting colour intensity

Minnesota city trials street lighting from Echelon connected to the IoT for remote adjustment or automatic environment-based control.

Safer street lighting in White Bear LakeEchelon Corporation is currently conducting a deployment of so-called “white tunable” connected streetlighting with the municipal leaders of White Bear Lake, a suburb of St Paul, Minnesota and design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson. The new Lumewave by Echelon product can dynamically regulate the amount of potentially unhealthy blue light emitted from outdoor lighting. With this innovation, city managers can adjust streetlight colour from soothing warm yellow to bright blue-white based on activity levels, time of day, weather and events. Dimming levels can also be remotely adjusted, making the system ideal to aid visibility for first responders, security professionals and more.

“Being the first to try this new technology and see it in action was very rewarding,” said Mark Burch, Public Works Director/City Engineer, White Bear Lake. “We could raise the brightness and select a more vivid hue during an evening event. With a scheduled scenario, we could shift the lights in that same area to a warmer hue at 2:00am when there are rarely park visitors, other than our nocturnal wildlife. We could also program sensors along with the lights to automatically respond to higher foot traffic or certain weather conditions for optimal visibility. The new technology could give us the power to elevate the level of public safety and quality of life across our entire community.”

This next-generation, connected LED lighting control technology enables municipalities to realise the full scope of LED streetlighting benefits, from improved public safety and reduced energy consumption and reduced maintenance and costs, to better health, quality of life and environmental comfort. White Bear Lake’s successful implementation of Echelon’s new technology is an example of the company’s commitment to foster safer and more comfortable cities through IoT-enabled connected lighting.

“Municipalities now have the power to create the perfect environment at any given time,” said Ron Sege, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Echelon. “Imagine the improved public safety if all of the streetlights in an area were immediately whiter and brighter when an emergency call was responded to, but otherwise dimmer and more yellow at night for restful sleep. Cities need not compromise safety for comfort or vice versa. Our technology is paving the way for smart cities to improve quality of life, while still achieving energy efficiency and sustainability goals.”

American Medical Association vs. LED Benefits

The American Medical Association issued a policy statement about the harmful effects of outdoor high-intensity, LED lighting on humans and the environment. The guidelines put forth a recommendation for communities to control blue-rich lighting to reduce glare and discomfort. The AMA also warns that the blue-rich LED lights can suppress melatonin, which can negatively impact human circadian rhythmicity causing poor sleep quality, among other health concerns. According to the guidelines, outdoor streetlighting should have a colour temperature of no greater than 3000 Kelvin (K) at nighttime.

On the flip side of the issue, lighting researchers and experts counsel that, if the lights are either too yellow or too dim, visibility and public safety may be compromised. The Department of Energy supports the use of LED streetlights because they consume approximately 50% less energy than the common high-pressure sodium and metal-halide lamps. They also last longer which has cost-saving appeal for many municipalities. Each side of the debate has valid points, forcing city managers to ultimately believe they must make a choice between health or public safety.

All of the Benefits at once

While many municipal leaders and sustainability managers may feel the pressure to make the right choice, Echelon has engineered a product that doesn’t force people to choose one set of LED streetlight benefits over another. Echelon is the first to give municipalities the power to adjust the white colour and brightness level as required.

In a demonstration at White Bear Lake, council leaders were able to adjust both the light level and the white colour range in its city park lighting. By being able to tune from warm white (2700 Kelvin) all the way to cool white (5500 Kelvin), city managers can modify outdoor lighting to enhance quality of life without compromising visibility or public safety. A warm white of 2700K was preferred for times with low activity, while a higher colour temperature of 4500K was deemed to provide better visibility for times with higher activity and during public events.

“There has been a lot of controversy in the industry regarding the colour of light generated by outdoor lighting and the possible harmful effects it may cause to humans and the surrounding ecosystems. This issue forces agencies to select the preferred colour temperature before installation of a lighting system,” said Ken Taillon, Manager of Municipal Lighting Services, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., who led the project engineering. “With Echelon’s innovative technology, agencies no longer have to choose the colour temperature during the design process. Tuning the colour of white light in conjunction with adjusting the brightness level provides opportunities we’ve never had before. Lighting systems can now respond to the dynamic needs associated with providing necessary public safety while rendering colours and light levels that are more appropriate for lighting the after-hour nighttime environment.”

Custom colour tunable lamps, drivers and controls provide the capability to easily shift from cool white light to warm white light, offering endless options for smart cities.

Echelon’s smart streetlighting infrastructure serves as a platform that allows smart cities to integrate IoT applications as needed. Coming together to create this next-generation infrastructure is Echelon’s new CLP 4000 connected lighting controller, SmartServer 2.2 converged universal gateway and LumInsight central management system (CMS). The combined products can set colour scenes based on a programmed schedule, sensor inputs or manual adjustment.

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