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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 智能高速公路缓解堵车问题

2017年05月19日16:24 来源:互联网
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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 智能高速公路缓解堵车问题图1

Smart motorways——Tailblazers

智能高速:道路开拓者

How to make life easier for motorists without building new roads

无需费力新路造,司机生活更美好

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IDLING on a motorway for an hour or two has long been a part of any British summer holiday. But this year fractious drivers on the southern strip of the M25, an orbital road around London, may have some respite. In April part of the road, between junctions five and seven, opened as a “smart motorway”. It is one of around a dozen projects currently being undertaken by the Highways Agency, the body which manages Britain's motorways and trunk roads. The scheme is an innovative way to reduce congestion cheaply. But it is also a striking example of how the government is quietly making life easier for motorists.

堵在高速上一到两个小时一直是英国人暑假生活的一部分。但是今年对于环伦敦城的M25公路南部地带的司机来说,这一问题或能得到缓解。4月份该公路的部分路段被打造成“智能高速公路”。这是目前由管理英国所有高速及主干道路的高速公路管理局负责实施的系列工程之一,该计划主要是以创新的方式以及低廉的价格解决交通拥堵问题。但这同样也是一个令人震惊的案例,因为政府就这样默默为司机减轻了生活负担。

Britain's roads have been creaking for years. According to the World Economic Forum, its lanes are worse than the underfunded stretches of tarmac in America. Spain and Portugal—two countries which suffered far more during the financial crisis—score higher. Funding is part of the problem: cash for maintaining major roads has halved since 2010. But motorways in Britain are particularly jammed. Although the number of people driving in cosmopolitan areas such as London is shrinking, the rise of online shopping and a growing population are pushing more delivery vans and cars on to busy roads.

英国的公路问题已有多年。根据世界经济论坛数据,英国车道的状况甚至比美国因资金不足而满是碎石的停机坪还要差。连西班牙和葡萄牙这两个受金融危机影响更为严重的国家,道路评分都高于英国。资金问题只是其中一方面,自2010年以来,主干道路的维护费用便减少了一半。但是英国的高速公路实在是太挤了。尽管在诸如伦敦这样的国际大都市内驾驶的人数正在缩水,但是由于网络购物的增长以及人口的增加,仍然有更多的送货车以及汽车加入到拥挤的车流当中。

Rather than spend lots of cash laying more tarmac, however, the Highways Agency has sought to invest in other ways to reduce congestion. In 2006 the Labour government ran a pilot programme, known as an “active traffic management” system, on part of the M42 in Birmingham. The scheme placed gantries with electronic signs every 500 metres along the motorway, installed CCTV cameras and allowed the hard shoulder to be used as an extra lane at busy times, boosting capacity by around a third. A variable speed limit was introduced, determined by sensors. Making cars travel at a slower, more uniform speed means more can be squeezed on the roads.

尽管如此,高速公路管理局仍选择寻求其他办法以解决交通拥堵,而不是花费大量资金扩宽车道。2006年,工党政府在伯明翰M42公路推出一项试点计划,即“主动交通管理”系统。该计划沿公路每隔500米设置电子信号架、安装闭路摄像头并允许交通繁忙时将路肩带用作额外车道,将道路容量提升了约三分之一。议员们通过了可变限速的议案,即在车辆低速、匀速行驶下亦可增大道路容量。

【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 智能高速公路缓解堵车问题图2

Since then the project, now known as “smart motorways”, has become more ambitious. On certain roads the hard shoulder can be used as a fourth lane at all times. Rather than plaster a motorway with words in flashing lights, more effective signs with pictures are now in use, says Graham Dalton, the chief executive of the Highways Agency. This means that non-English speaking truck drivers are more likely to take note, he adds. Future schemes may also have fewer emergency lay-bys, after it was found that many Britons used them to fiddle with their phones or for a toilet break.

自该项目以后,现在被称为“智能高速”的这一项目变得更加雄心勃勃。在一些路段,坚硬的路肩可以被用作第四车道。高速公路管理局首席执行官格雷厄姆·道尔顿称,公路上张贴的闪光字将会被更有效的图片标志所取代,他补充说道,这意味着这些标志将更可能被不使用英语的卡车司机留意到。未来预计将减少应急车道,因为调查显示很多英国人占用应急车道只是为了玩玩手机或者去趟厕所。

Elements of smart motorways have long existed elsewhere. But Britain has taken the idea further, says Mr Dalton. In the Netherlands and Germany an extra lane can be used at peak times, while a few flashing signs may also manage traffic. But Britons appear to need a shove, not just a nudge.

道尔顿说,智能高速的想法由来已久,但英国采取了进一步的举措。在荷兰和德国,交通高峰期可以使用附加车道,并由闪光标志指挥交通。但一点小小的改变对英国人来说似乎是不够的,他们需要的是大变动。

Motorists should expect more of this: politicians like the scheme, which is far cheaper than traditional road-widening programmes. The M25 programme cost 129m. By contrast, adding more lanes between four junctions on that motorway cost 361m. And the government is adopting a friendlier stance towards motoring groups. The budget for the Highways Agency is projected to double under the next government. Flush with cash, the smart motorways scheme may move into second gear.

由于这项计划成本远低于传统的扩路项目,因此备受政客们的青睐,司机们也可以期待更多的进展。M25公路项目将花费1.29亿英镑,相比之下,在四个路口间增加车道将耗资3.61亿英镑。政府也以更友好的姿态对待公路项目,预计下届政府期间高速公路管理局的预算将翻上一番。若资金充裕,智能高速计划或将进入高速时期。

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