Online Geography Resources


Traffic Management

Geography Starter


Geography Activities



Reducing Congestion in Cities


Rising Bollards

Car wrecked by pop-up bollards

David Ottewell, 14/ 9/2006

WHEN driver Lee Capaldi found himself lost in the centre of Manchester, he decided to follow a bus to get him back on course.

But Mr Capaldi paid a heavy price for his initiative when a retractable bollard ripped off the front of his silver Peugeot.

The 3ft-high telescopic bollards, located outside Marks & Spencer on Market Street, were installed in January after it emerged the road was one of the worst accident hotspots in the city. They use sensors to sink into the street when a bus drives past before rising to bar other traffic.

But eyewitnesses claim the bollards have caused a series of increasingly dangerous prangs. Two cars have been wrecked in the last six months alone.

Mr Capaldi, from Stockport, says passenger Nikki Connell suffered severe bruising in the incident, which also triggered the car's airbags and flattened the front-left tyre.

He said: "It's ridiculous. Once you are in, you are stuck. I went through after the bus and they shot up so fast all the airbags went off. I didn't see them and I didn't have a chance."

In March a bollard tore through the bumper of one car causing it to crash after the driver claimed poor weather conditions had hampered his vision.

But council officers accused many drivers of deliberately ignoring the ban.

A spokeswoman said: "We have done everything we can to make it clear to motorists that there is a closure in place.

"Their actions are illegal and extremely dangerous and a number of drivers have been prosecuted by the police."



Task One of Four

Imagine you work for the complaints department at Manchester City Council. How would you explain to the driver of a car that has been damaged by raising bollards why the bollards had been installed in the CBD (Central Business District)?

Park and Ride Schemes

York Park and Ride

Task Two of Four

Produce some notes on 'Park and Ride Schemes':

  • What are 'Park and Ride Schemes'?
  • How do they work?
  • How do they reduce urban traffic congestion?
  • Give detailed examples of a 'Park and Ride' scheme from one urban location.

Alternative Transport Initiatives

VélôToulouse, Toulouse, France

A year on, the cycle experiment has hit some bumps

The Times, Charles Bremner in Marie Tourres, Paris , July 8, 2008

As Paris marks this week the first anniversary of the appearance of public bicycles on its streets, other cities are watching ever more closely a hugely successful experiment in self-service public transport.

Since Bertrand Delanoe, the city’s Mayor, took the gamble of putting 16,000 vélibs, short for vélo liberté, or bike freedom, at the disposal of Parisians, the stately grey machines have been taken out for a spin a total of 27 million times. To the pleasure of the left-wing council and the frustration of drivers, cycle traffic has jumped by 70 per cent as Parisians take advantage of the almost-free service.

But as Boris Johnson, an regular cyclist, ponders a similar scheme for London, he may well consider the downside. Paris’s vélibs are used for 120,000 trips a day, each one averaging 22 minutes. However, the pedal boom has been attended by a jump in cycle deaths and injuries. Three vélib riders have been crushed under the wheels of heavy vehicles and about 70 have been injured since January this year. After a 35-year-old violinist was killed by a municipal bus in a bus lane in May, her father called on the Mayor to suspend the vélib scheme.

The authorities are blaming the cyclists as well as the city’s notoriously aggressive drivers, although the overall accident rate has declined by 20 per cent. Many accidents involve inexperienced riders or careless tourists.
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Police are handing out football-style yellow cards this week to cyclists, drivers and pedestrians who commit minor but potentially dangerous offences. Last year 7,000 fines were issued to cyclists, double the previous year. Yet few riders of the vélibs bother to wear helmets or high-visibility attire and more than half do not stop at red lights.

The bikes, which are free for the first 30 minutes and are available from 1,200 high-tech docking zones, have proven more vulnerable than expected to thefts and vandalism and less robust than they were supposed to be.

JCDecaux, the firm which operates the bicycles in return for concessions in display advertising, acknowledges that it found the scheme tougher than it had expected. About 3,000 of the €400 (£320) bikes have been vandalised or stolen, it said. Hundreds have vanished, and Parisians are sighting them in Romania, Casablanca and more exotic spots in Africa. Last month Le Parisien published a picture of a boy showing off his vélib in a Romanian village. Rumours fly that port customs officers are discovering containers loaded with vélibs. Albert Asseraf, the strategy director at Decaux, said that London should consider a few rules for the scheme: “Install a dense network with docking stations every 350 metres; keep the hire cost minimal; base it on credit [payment] cards, and make sure the maintenance system is up to scratch.” A spokesman for Mr Johnson said yesterday that the Mayor “has already had very productive discussions with Transport for London regarding plans to create a bicycle hire scheme in London, along the lines of the hugely popular vélib scheme in Paris.”

Vélo city:

- Paris’s vélib scheme is by far the biggest in the world. The total number of bikes will reach 20,000 by the end of the year.

- 1,500 bikes are repaired every day, most at the docking stations.

- The fee system is designed to encourage short hires. A day ticket costs €1 (80p), a weekly one €5, an annual one €29. The first half-hour is free, with an additional cost of €1 per half hour.

- The city of Paris has made about €30 million profit in the first year but JCDecaux, the firm that supplies the bikes, is reported to have spent millions over budget because of greater than expected wear and tear, theft and vandalism.



Task Three of Four

Print a copy of the news article 'A year on, the cycle experiment has hit some bumps' and then with three different colours highlight the following:

  1. How the bicycle scheme in Paris works?
  2. Any negative elements to the scheme in Paris.
  3. Any positive elements to the scheme in Paris.

Remember to add a key to the document to show what the different colours mean.


Congestion Charges

Congestion Charges


Task Four of Four: London’s Congestion Charging Scheme – A Case Study of Urban Congestion Management

Produce a detailed case study of the Congestion Charges scheme in London, UK.

By producing your case study you should develop your understanding of the following:

1. How the scheme actually works – how is money collected?, how are cars monitored?
2. The geographical scale of the scheme.
3. The successes of the scheme.
4. Any negative impacts about the scheme.
5. The future of the scheme.

Geography Review


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