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Air Quality

Our Experiments


Congestion Charging


Case Studies


The Team

Project Management



Our Experiments

Car Counts

How did we measure congestion?

We measured congestion in the same way as the Transport for London organisation does.

"Traffic congestion is measured in terms of the minutes of delay per kilometre experienced, compared to the travel rate for a journey in uncongested conditions."

TfL, Congestion Charging Six Months On (Oct.03)

We carried out some of our own tests to count the number of vehicles on certain congested roads throughout the city during peak hours. We made data sheets helping us to:

Identify when and where the most congestion occurs

Count the number of cars and buses passing certain areas

Measure the distance travelled and time taken to pass from A to B during peak periods

Calculate the speed of vehicles during the peak periods

As a group we observed the flows of traffic entering and leaving the city centre. Congestion occurs most in the morning, between 7.45 and 9am, and evening, between 5 and 6pm, rush hours. The traffic entering and leaving the M8 motorway causes most tailbacks or jams into the centre. The Charing Cross and Port Dundas junctions were two of the worst areas for congestion build-up.

We concentrated on our 2square kilometre city centre area, zone 1 and the results were as follows:
On Cathedral Street, East bound to M8, we recorded 562 cars between 17:00 and 18:00. The average number of passengers was 1.59. The average speed was 9.26metres/second.
At Port Dundas Junction on the M8, East bound, we recorded 240 cars between 17:00 and 18:00. The average number of passengers was 1.26. The average speed of cars was 1.05metres/second. West bound, we recorded 327 cars. The average number of passengers was 1.38. The speed of cars was 1.05metres/second.
On High Street, South bound to M8, we recorded 1260 cars between 17:00 and 18:00. The average number of passengers was 1.3. The average speed was 2.59metres/second. North bound, to city centre, we recorded 592 cars. The average number of passengers was 1.47. There was no congestion on this road. The speed limit here is 30m.p.h.
At Charing Cross, east bound to M8, we recorded 980 cars between 17:00 and 18:00. The average number of passengers was 1.32. The average speed was 2.5metres/second. East bound, to city centre, we recorded 640cars between 17:00 and 18:00. The average number of passengers was 1.46. There was little congestion here to measure.
On Clyde Street, running past St.Enoch square, North/west we recorded 1110 cars. Travelling South/East we recorded 1056 cars. The speed varied between 20 and 30 mph in both directions.

The average number of passengers in a car for the city centre was recorded as 1.38. Port Dundas was surprising in that the lowest number of cars travelled on this road yet the average travelling speed was very low. The filter lane onto the motorway appeared to be the cause of this tailing back traffic into the centre. The filter lane was very short and had a set of traffic lights allowing only one or two cars to join every few seconds. The lane was constantly jammed.

The traffic in and around the city was difficult to measure an average speed for as the multiple traffic lights only allowed for short distances to be travelled before cars were ordered to stop. Traffic slowed during rush hours, but did flow, slowly, when signalled to do so.


Driver Attitudes

We decided we wanted to know about driver attitudes and the best way to do that was to carry out a questionnaire. We put together a list of questions we felt were useful and identified what we wanted to find from this questionnaire. From here we visited Dr Mckenzie Head of the statistical department. He gave us advice on how to structure and ask our questions better.

We visited the city centre car parks and e-mailed a questionnaire within university to those who drive. We aimed to:

Identifying our target users.

Find out where they travel from? Is it outside Glasgow? Will we need to focus our attention more on the boundary of Glasgow rather than those living in it and try to reduce the number of cars from here?

Could these people using the car parks have made their journey using public transport? Or does public transport not accommodate their hours of work? Is it vital that they need a vehicle to do their job?

Identify the main reasons for not using public transport? Is it simply because it is more inconvenient to travel by car? Do they think it is too costly? Is it that they can make their journey much faster by car?

Discover what effect congestion has both physically and mentally on the driver? Are they affected by congestion and does it make them feel anxious and tense?

Our results showed:

52% of our respondents lived outside Glasgow.

40% of our respondents plan their journey to avoid congestion.

53% of our respondents who drive to Glasgow do not make use of public transport throughout their day.

77% of our respondents said they travel alone.

51% of our respondents said their journey was affected by congestion.

81% of our respondents affected by congestion said it also affected them mentally.

95% of our respondents said they could have made their journey using public transport.

The majority of people begin their journey between 7.30 and 8.30am.

The majority of people begin their return journey between 5 and 6pm.

57% of our respondents said that their journey was under 30minutes.

70% of our respondents travel on the M8 motorway into Glasgow.

62% of our respondents said the used their car to travel out of convenience.

The majority of our respondents left the M8 via Charing Cross, Cathedral Street or Port Dundas. A lot of our respondents said that they would not use public transport as they valued personal space much more. Safety issues concerned some people and others felt that public transport did not accommodate when and where they wished to travel.


People's Opinion

We asked a wide variety of people throughout Glasgow city what there views on transport and congestion were. We found that many had conflicting opinions on transport and the impact it has on the environment.

Strathclyde police don't believe that congestion is a big problem:

"'s only a problem at certain events, such as football matches and that sort of thing."

The traffic engineers working for NADICS, however, believe that congestion is a problem and have said that by far

"The worst area is Charing Cross."
They only allow maintenance work to be carried out at the Charing Cross underpass for a maximum of 15 minutes as the pollution in this area from vehicle emissions is so high, even with breathing apparatice.

Taxi drivers from both private and black cabs agree that congestion has been increasing over the past years and do believe that it is a problem. A driver from 'Dale Taxis' has told us that there are 1,430 black cabs operating in the city centre and around 3,000 registered private taxis.
All drivers that we spoke to were of the opinion that buses were to cause for most of the city centre congestion. They believed

"Too many buses on the road. 75% of pollution is from buses."
"All buses are travelling in the same areas. "
"There are too many bus stops in the city centre. It's bad planning. Some streets like Renfrew street are congested by buses."
"Too many bus operators."
"Buses can only travel in certain streets, taxis go everywhere."

We contacted the people from 'First Bus' and they are currently working with the council to improve their public transport service by implementing forms of ITS and looking at increasing the number of bus lanes. We spoke with one of the First Bus and he believed that congestion was a big problem in the city centre:

"There are too many cars travelling through the city centre. There are too many traffic lights stopping the traffic and not enough bus lanes."


Our Conclusions

Transport effects everyone on a daily basis. The comments that we received above show that everyone has an opinion on this topic and very often these opinions are different. The Taxi drivers believe that buses are the main cause of congestion, the buses believed that the large number of cars are to blame and the people driving their own vehicles believe that the public transport service is poor. No one driver thought that they were actually adding to congestion in Glasgow.

The majority of people travelling through, or within, Glasgow city in their cars travel alone. On a whole, drivers would rather travel by car, rather than public transport, out of conveience. During rush hours the average delay we measured on a journey in the city centre is 22.7 minutes per kilometre. The pollution levels from vehicles are so high that in certan areas the air quality can severly effect the health of the people exposed to this. Therefore, we believe that congestion is a problem within the city centre and that some action must be taken to rectify this situation.


2004 All rights reserved. Copyright of Derek Weir, Leanne McMillan, Roy MacLean, Hee Dong Oh & Ayman Elsadig


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