German Transportation Program for EU Council Presidency Focused on Safety, Fuels and Emissions; Transport Minister Rejects Speed Limits
|The EU adds two new members (Bulgaria and Romania) in 2007, for a total of 27 countries. Click to enlarge.|
Germany takes leadership of the Group of Eight and the 6-month European Union Council Presidency in 2007. German Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee, has presented his program for the German EU, which is focused on safety, fuels and emissions.
However, the Minister is opposed to implementing a speed limit in Germany. “...A general speed limit on open stretches of road does not make sense,” he said in response to the urging for such limits as a means of reduction of fuel consumption and emissions.
On the future energy and resource security front, Tiefensee wants to achieve clear European positions during the six months ahead in a number of areas.
In this context, I will champion a European fuel strategy, and would like to push ahead with proposals on innovative drivetrain technologies and alternative fuels and discuss the issue of energy efficiency.—Minister Tiefensee
The Minister said he will also seek a coordinated position with the other EU Member States on the inclusion of aviation in emissions trading, and to include all international and domestic flights to and from the EU in the emissions trading scheme. (Earlier post.)
However, Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) says that much more needs to be done lest Germany and the EU miss their greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. A speed limit is part of that. In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, Andreas Troge, president of the Umweltbundesamt, said:
With a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour the carbon dioxide output can be reduced by ten to thirty per cent.
Although Germany’s high-speed highways have a recommended speed of 130 kph (80 mph), drivers travel as fast as they like.
|PROPSER’s view of ISA systems. Click to enlarge.|
Assuming speed limits are in effect, however, enforcement remains an issue. One technological solution under investigation in Europe is Intelligent Speed Adaptation—ISA. An ISA system is one that aids the driver or rider in maintaining road speeds compliant with relevant local statutory or desirable speed limits.
The EU last year wrapped up the PROPSER research project—Project for Research On Speed adaptation Policies on European Roads—which focused primarily on ISA mechanisms as a tool for speed management to increase safety.
PROSPER developed an initial taxonomy for ISA solutions. The proposed categories are:
Provision of in-vehicle information of current posted speed limit. The driver controls the road speed.
Provision of in-vehicle information of current posted speed-limit. Speed limit data can be passed to the vehicle to set a limiting function for road speed.
Provision of in-vehicle information of current posted speed limit. Speed limit data is always passed to the vehicle to set a limiting function for road speed.
Provision of in-vehicle information of current posted speed-limit, which is used as a default as a speed limiting value by the vehicle.
Provision of in-vehicle information of current posted speed limit. The driver controls vehicle road speed, but the system records data of over-speed events.
PROSPER also proposed various subcategories to represent variations in those basic ISA approaches.
Once the insfrastructure is in place to locate the vehicle, pick up data on speed limits (location and values), integrate the vehicle location and speed limit value and process the data, ISA implementation requires some type of driver or vehicle interface to affect the speed of the vehicle.
PROSPER tested two types of interface systems: a display, light and beep-sound; and a display and active intervention in the form of counterforce in the accelerator pedal or a dead throttle (speed limiter).
The researchers concluded that display plus active counterforce has a larger effect than just the display. They also found that using the dead throttle is more effective than the high-counterforce pedal. A low-counterforce pedal was the least effective. A vibrating gas pedal is somewhere between the high-force pedal and the low force pedal.
The team also concluded that:
Probably it is inherent to ISA that the more effective the system, the more negative the attitudes towards the system are.
“Vehicle Speed Profiles to Minimize Work and Fuel Consumption”; David J. Chang, Edward K. Morlok; J. Transp. Engrg., Volume 131, Issue 3, pp. 173-182 (March 2005)"
Road transport speed and climate change (European Federation for Transport and the Environment, 2005)
Intelligent Speed Adaptation (Lund University)