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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
User is currently offline
on Monday, 04 February 2013
in Earth Blog

It Was a Dark and Snowy Night

Last night I drove home from a friend’s house after the Super Bowl (I wonder if they had to purchase less night-road-mfilecarbon offsets because power was out for thirty minutes at the Superdome) in light snow.

Driving in these seemingly normal, or at least currently unavoidable to the rest of the entire Northeast, Midwestern, and Eastern portions of the United States, conditions is not something I am accustomed to at all. I thought the groundhog said we would have an early spring?

I spent the whole time behind the wheel alternately shaking from fear and the cold while my husband walked me through some of the maneuvers  -getting on the freeway onramp, getting off the freeway, driving straight.  He was forced to sit and listen to me whine and complain about the task for about thirty minutes. What was my biggest complaint? I couldn’t see anything!

Some of the poor visibility was due to the thin, fluffy layer of snow on the road obscuring the painted lines, my bad vision (even with contact lenses or glasses) that was not helped by the roadway lighting. I’m sure my husband would argue that there is no amount of lighting any city on this planet could install that would help me operate a vehicle.

A team from the Lighting Research Center (LRC), Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and Penn State University studied lighting and crash data for Minnesota state highway intersections and developed a model that compared nighttime driving safety with the presence of lighting at selected intersections. The model also considered signals, medians, intersection design and operational features so the researchers would be able to separate the effects of lighting from these other roadway features.

Then they looked at intersections that had no lighting but a vehicle’s headlights to safely guide the driver to their destination accident-free.

Intersections with lighting had an estimated 12% lower night-to-day crash ratio than unlighted intersections. They admit that finding isn’t special but they hope the data can still help cities make roads safer at night.

night-traffic-mfile"While the finding that safety benefits from roadway lighting are highly related to the visibility improvements lighting provides is not novel nor unexpected, evidence for this direct link has been scarce in the literature," said Mark Rea, the LRC director. "Our models provide a tool that transportation agencies can begin using now to not only allocate lighting more efficiently, but to design lighting more effectively.”

When Rea says “effectively” he means cost-efficient for cities and towns to maintain lighting or install lighting with little environmental impact.  I however, will continue to do my part lessening my environmental impact by hardly driving ever if possible.

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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