Monday, December 31, 2007

Caltrans response to questions about bicycle detection

I recently received a letter from Caltrans in response to questions that I sent them on October 28 about bicycle detection. I am concerned that although they say they will be installing bicycle detection at new and modified traffic actuated signals, their only options are Type D loops and video detection. They totally ignore my October 16 presentation to their Electrical Systems Branch on detecting bicycles with loops that, among other things, recommended larger loops and the use of bicycle detector symbols. Furthermore, they plan on doing no more development work on in-pavement detection (loops) and to concentrate on video detection. That means that any progress on improving bicycle detection at existing signals with inductive loops is years, if not decades in the future. Finally, they are concentrating on detection methods that differentiate between motor vehicles and bicycles rather than on detecting bicycles in the first place. They are not taking first things first.

The letter says that they will be adding a Discussion Item to the January 2008 CTCDC meeting agenda. I think that we should have some representation at that meeting to try to change Caltrans' direction and to get them to do some development work on inductive loops. I will be contacting the secretary of the CTCDC about giving a short version of the presentation that I made to the Electrical Systems Branch, focusing on my recommendations to Caltrans.


Bob Shanteau
Consulting Traffic Engineer

Robert M Shanteau, PhD, PE
13 Primrose Cir
Seaside, CA 93955-4133
Voice: (831) 394-9420
FAX: (831) 394-6045

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