Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As the year winds down, we have decided to do a quick celebration of some of our favorite posts starting with our top (2) favorite posts on the topic of ‘Engineering that saves lives‘.

NO. 1

‘Roundabouts: Engineers making the world a little more beautiful and safe’.

Roundabouts are one of the most ignored beauties hiding in plain sight. These extraordinary creations are taken for granted every day, but it is time to slow down and truly observe. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” In today’s blog, that is exactly what we will be doing. We will discuss the functions of Roundabounds; I guarantee you will learn something worth sharing and appreciating for many years.

 

Definition.

A roundabout is a physical layout where a number of approach roads join a circulating one-way carriageway, on which all traffic flows in the same direction of rotation about the central island.

 

Roundabouts serve a multitude of functions such as:

1. Traffic Safety

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) article: Public Opinion, Traffic Performance, the Environment, and Safety after the Construction of Double-Lane Roundabouts, “Studies of intersections in Europe and Australia that were converted to roundabouts reported 36-61% reductions in crashes of all severities and 25-87% reductions in injury crashes (2). The safety benefit was greater for small- and medium-capacity roundabouts than for large or multi-lane roundabouts. U.S. studies have shown that conversion of traffic signal- or stop sign-controlled intersections to roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75-84% and all crashes by 35-40% .”

For the full posts visit: Roundabouts: Engineers making the world a little more beautiful and safe.




 

NO. 2

Wildlife Crossings: Engineering that saves lives.

Of course growing up you heard the joke “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and  The answer : “To get to the other side.” Well now, we know the truth, it was because there wasn’t an underpass.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"  because there wasn't an underpass.

“Why did the chicken cross the road?” because there wasn’t an underpass.

Joking aside, where you ever in the position of driving and suddenly had to stop because of an animal in the road? Sometimes people laugh out of nervousness, children get excited about seeing the “cute animals cross”, or they become angry. Angry because of the sudden feeling of being unsafe or as I once heard someone say, “do they really have to pass here”, as if their territory was invaded. Today we will discuss the captivating structures of wildlife crossings; we will define what are wildlife crossings, why wildlife and humans meet on the roadways, state the benefits of animal crossings, and give a few examples.

Deer-Crossing-Road

Definition:

“Wildlife crossings are structures that allow animals to cross human-made barriers safely. Wildlife crossings may include: underpass tunnels, viaducts, and overpasses (mainly for large or herd-type animals); amphibian tunnels; fish ladders; tunnels and culverts (for small mammals such as otters, hedgehogs, and badgers); green roofs (for butterflies and birds).[¹]   

Image Source: THE WORLD GEOGRAPHY Ecoduct The Borkeld, Netherlands

Example 1
Image Source: THE WORLD GEOGRAPHY
Ecoduct The Borkeld, Netherlands.

Another term you may hear is “Wildlife corridor”

Wildlife corridors are remnant habitat, regenerated habitat or artificially created habitat that links larger areas of wildlife habitat.  Corridors provide a means by which animals and plant seeds can move between larger areas of habitat that are their refuges, within an otherwise uninhabitable environment.[²]

Wildlife movement corridors, also called dispersal corridors or landscape linkages as opposed to linear habitats, are linear features whose primary wildlife function is to connect at least two significant habitat areas (Beier and Loe 1992).[³]

According to Senior Environmental Planner Barbara Marquez, “Without linkages, wildlife populations are in danger of inbreeding, starving, becoming aggressive toward humans and, ultimately, extinction,” she said.[4]

Example 3  Image Source: THE WORLD GEOGRAPHY  Ecoduct The Borkeld, Netherlands

Example 2
Image Source: THE WORLD GEOGRAPHY
“Animal bridge” in Montana, USA

Why wildlife and humans meet on the roadways:

In order to build passage ways, buildings for humans, increase agriculture, receive electricity, install pipelines, we dig deeper and deeper into the lands where animals once roamed in search of food, water, mate, shelter. The term for this displacement or separation is “Habitat and population fragmentation.”

“Population fragmentation occurs when groups of animals living in the wild become separated from other groups of the same species. Population fragmentation is often caused by habitat fragmentation, which as the name implies describes the emergence of discontinuous habitat (fragmentation) in the environment. Habitat and population fragmentation can be caused by natural processes or by human activity such as land conversion. The extent to which habitat fragmentation leads to population fragmentation, however, differs among landscapes and taxa. The pattern of subdivision in Cross River gorilla populations has been found to correspond largely to recent patterns of habitat fragmentation caused by anthropogenic activities (Bergl & Vigilant, 2006).”[5]

For example the picture below shows a road cutting through the land causing a fragmentation(divide) in wildlife “habitat”.

Image Source: Izismile Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Example 3
Image Source: Izismile (Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada).

For the full posts visit: Wildlife Crossings: Engineering that saves lives.

Advertisements