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ENVIRONMENTAL TRAFFIC STANDARDS

by
JEROMY CHARLES BARFORD
B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1966
A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
In the School
of
Community and Regional Planning
We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the
required standard
THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
May, 1968
In pr esent i ng t h i s t hes i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l me n t of the requi rements f or an
advanced degree at the Uni v er s i t y of B r i t i s h Col umbi a, I agree t hat the
Li br ar y s hal l make i t f r eel y av ai l abl e f or r ef er ence and st udy. I f ur t her
agree t hat per mi ssi on f or ext ensi ve copyi ng of t h i s t hes i s f or s c hol ar l y
purposes may be gr ant ed by the Head of my Department or by hi s r epr esen-
t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t hat copyi ng or publ i c at i on of t h i s t hes i s f or
f i n a n c i a l gai n s hal l not be al l owed wi t hout my wr i t t en per mi ssi on.
Department of Community and Regional Planning,
The Uni v er s i t y of B r i t i s h Col umbi a
Vancouver 8, Canada
Date A p r i l 26, 1 968.
ABSTRACT
The transportation problem i s usually seen as one
of c i r c u l a t i o n or a c c e s s i b i l i t y . There i s , however, a
second dimension which i s consistently ignored--that of
environmental quality. The f i r s t work to consider t h i s
second aspect of the problem as an i n t e g r a l part of the
planning process was a study conducted for the Ministry of
Transport i n Great B r i t a i n , e n t i t l e d T r a f f i c In Towns. The
report did. not develop major concepts of environment beyond
a rudimentary l e v e l , and there i s a c r i t i c a l need to extend
i t s ideas into environmental standards that can be applied
i n planning situations. I t i s hypothesized, that environ-
mental t r a f f i c standards can be defined, and applied to a
p a r t i c u l a r environment to determine whether the quality of
that environment Is above or below that suggested, by the
standards.
It i s f i r s t necessary to examine the importance of
the environment for man i n order to establish a framework
f o r further analysis. Research In the f i e l d of sensory
r e s t r i c t i o n shows that varied experience within the environ-
ment i s necessary to maintain man's behavioural e f f i c i e n c y .
The environment i s equally important from a physiological
viewpoint. Environmental considerations are therefore c r i t -
i c a l l y important for planning. The environment must s a t i s f y
i i i
a range of fundamental needs, which can be defined, into
three broad, groupsphysiological, psychological, and s o c i a l .
They form an hierarchy of s p e c i f i c i t y , and are further
extended and focussed by the special requirements of a part-
i c u l a r type of environment. The needs of a shopping street
environment are a c t i v i t y and variety, safety, and comfort.
S i m i l a r l y , the motor vehicle has a set of environmental
needs. The motor vehicle i s a man-machine system, and. the
needs can be measured. In terms of space and free-flow f o r
the l a t t e r , and safety and orientation for the former com-
ponent. Set against these needs are a series of environ-
mental effects produced by the motor vehicle, which are
leading to an increasing deterioration of the physical envi-
ronment. The major effects are safety, noise, fumes, and
v i s u a l intrusion, a l l of which have serious implications for
human health and well-being, and. impinge upon a l l three
classes of man's basic needs.
Standards are a means of measuring quality i n the
components of a community's structure. Environmental t r a f -
f i c standards can most conveniently be formulated i n terms
of performance c r i t e r i a , which w i l l provide means for test-
ing the degree of hazard or nuisance created by the motor
v e h i c l e . To be e f f e c t i v e they must be based, on sound data
and. objective research, and r e l a t e to those groups of people
who are most sensitive to the e f f e c t s . Based, on a review
of pertinent l i t e r a t u r e and research the following environ-
mental t r a f f i c standards can be defined:
i v
1. S a f e t y :
a) primary b a s i s t h a t there should be no motor v e h i c l e
a c c i d e n t s causing i n j u r y or death;
b) a d e s i r a b l e volume of 250 vph, and an a c c e p t a b l e
volume of 500 vph i n both d i r e c t i o n s .
2. Noise:
a) an e x t e r n a l sound l e v e l of 60d.BA by day and. 45d.BA
by n i g h t i n r e s i d e n t i a l areas, and a l e v e l of 65d.BA
i n commercial areas, which should not be exceeded,
f o r more than ten percent of the time.
3 . A i r P o l l u t i o n :
a) at the adverse l e v e l " o x i d a n t i n d e x " 0 . 1 5 ppm f o r
one hour by the potassium i o d i d e method;
b) at the s e r i o u s l e v e l c a r b o n monoxideJ O ppm f o r
e i g h t hours or 120 ppm f o r one hour.
4. V i s u a l I n t r u s i o n :
a) u n i l a t e r a l p a r a l l e l p a r k i n g .
A shopping s t r e e t environment was examined i n the
l i g h t of t h r e e of these standards to t e s t both the hypothesis
and the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the standards themselves. The q u a l -
i t y of the selected, environment was found, to be below t h a t
suggested, by the standards f o r s a f e t y , n o i s e , and. v i s u a l
i n t r u s i o n d u r i n g two o b s e r v a t i o n p e r i o d s . The o b s e r v a t i o n s
tended, to q u e s t i o n the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the p e d e s t r i a n delay
concept used, i n f o r m u l a t i n g the standard, f o r Safety. There
does appear, however, to be a l i n k between the three stand-
v
ards and t r a f f i c volumes, and i t may therefore be possible
to reduce these to one common standard. I t i s unlikely
that simple repair jobs w i l l r e s u l t i n a s i g n i f i c a n t improve-
ment i n the quality of existing environments. Dramatic
steps are needed l n the d i r e c t i o n of a new urban form and
alternatives modes of movement. Areas for further research
are suggested.
v i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Many people, both known and unknown, have contrib-
uted to t h i s study. But I would p a r t i c u l a r l y l i k e to
express my appreciation to Dr. V. Setty Pendakur, who has
been a continual source of stimulation and. c r i t i c i s m from
the beginning; and to Professor Brahm Wiesman, whose com-
ments during the f i n a l stages helped me to Improve the
c l a r i t y of expression. I owe a debt also to my fellow
students, Art Cowie and. Jim Gossland, whose observations
at various times have expanded my undestanding of some of
the problems involved.
v i i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ABSTRACT i i i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v i i
LIST OF TABLES x
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS x i
Chapter
I. INTRODUCTION 1
The Transportation Problem: The Second
Dimension
Purpose of the Study
Hypothesis
Scope of the Study
Organization
I I . MAN AND ENVIRONMENT 9
The Place of Environment i n Planning
The Importance of Environment
Environmental Needs
Typology of Needs
Physiological Needs
Psychological Needs
Social Needs
The Shopping Street Environment
Summary
I I I . THE MOTOR VEHICLE AND ENVIRONMENT 29
Environmental Needs of the Motor Vehicle
Environmental Effects
Safety
Noise
Fumes
Visual Intrusion
Summary
v i i i
Chapter Page
IV. ENVIRONMENTAL TRAFFIC STANDARDS kQ
Perspective
Safety
Noise
A i r P o l l u t i o n
Visual Intrusion
Summary
V. CASE STUDY 65
Introduction
Safety
Noise
Visual Intrusion
VI. REVIEW 85
BIBLIOGRAPHY 91
i x
LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1. Damage Risk Levels 5^
2. Motor Vehicle Accidents at Intersections
along 4 l s t Avenue, Kerrisdale, January,
1965 - March, I968 62
3 . Sound Level and. T r a f f i c Volumes,
Thursday Example 71
4. Sound Level and T r a f f i c Volumes,
Saturday Example 73
5. Hourly T r a f f i c Volumes and Required
Reductions 75
x
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page
1. Sound Level and T r a f f i c Volumes,
Thursday Example 72
2. Sound Level and T r a f f i c Volumes,
Saturday Example 7*4-
3 . Sound Level related to T r a f f i c Volume . . . 80
4. Noise and T r a f f i c Density 81
Map
1. Vancouver 64
2. Kerrlsdale 66
x i
CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Movement i s the h o r l z a n t a l and v e r t -
i c a l framework of the c i t y ; but i t
i s only a framework, and the p i c t u r e
i s w i t h i n that framework, more Im-
portant, more determining, more worthy.
Romaldo G i u r g o l a *
The Transportation Problem: The Second Dimension.
As average car-ownership r a t e s i n North America
s t e a d i l y increase towards the one car per family l e v e l and
beyond to two or more cars per f a m i l y , the accomodation of
motor v e h i c l e s i n our towns and c i t i e s w i l l be an ever-
growing and i n c r e a s i n g l y urgent problem. The s o - c a l l e d
t r a n s p o r t a t i o n problem has a t t r a c t e d a great deal of a t t e n -
2
t i o n i n recent years, but i t remains a dilemma of vast
p r o p o r t i o n s without the resources to t a c k l e i t adequately.
This problem i s most u s u a l l y seen as one of c i r c u -
l a t i o n or a c c e s s i b l i t y h o w to get from point A to
p o i n t B i n the minimum amount of time and with the m i n i -
mum amount of i n t e r r u p t i o n . The t r a n s p o r t a t i o n planner
and the t r a n s p o r t a t i o n engineer appear obsessed with the
ideas of flow and turbulence, with t r a f f i c volumes and
c a p a c i t i e s , and with the geometries of road and i n t e r -
s e c t i o n : a l l to promote the unceasing and " e f f i c i e n t "
1
2
movement of the motor vehicle. Large-scale transport-
3
atlon studies, such as that carried out i n Chicago,
have analyzed the problems l n depth and developed many
sophisticated a n a l y t i c a l methods which undoubtedly
represent much needed advances i n the f i e l d . Many stud-
ies have also been made of the economic and s o c i a l con-
sequencles of highway Improvements."*
There Is a second dimension to t h i s t r a f f i c prob-
lem, however, which both planners and engineers have
consistently ignored. This Is the damage that the
motor vehicle i n f l i c t s on the environments through which
l t passes.
The central concern of urban and regional plan-
ning i s the environment. Planners are dedicated to the
improvement of the environment as an arena i n which to
l i v e , committed to the Improvement of the quality of l i f e .
Transportation planners, however, have hitherto shown a
chronic lack of appreciation for the physical environment
and Its place at the core of planning, and have largely
ignored the environmental impact of the motor vehicle.
This i s perhaps due on the one hand to the unquestioning
acceptance and exaggerated use of the automobile l n our
society, such that we have now become an auto-centric
culture;^ and on the other to a f a i l u r e to recognize the
extremely damaging side-effects of Its use.
The f i r s t work to consider t h i s aspect of the
t r a f f i c problem as an integral part of the transportation
3
planning process was a study conducted for the Ministry
of Transport i n Great B r i t a i n by Colin Buchanan, and en-
t i t l e d 'Traffic i n Towns.^ Buchanan i l l u s t r a t e d by taking
four examples the scale of road improvements necessary
to accomodate predicted l e v e l s of t r a f f i c when a certain
l e v e l of a c c e s s i b i l i t y and a. certain standard of environ-
ment were to be maintained. The environmental Impact of
the motor vehicle was examined l n terms of danger, noise,
fumes, and v i s u a l intrusion, and, the argument put forward
that the needs of t r a f f i c should be balanced against the
many other needs that a good environment should s a t i s f y .
Buchanan, however, did not develop major concepts
of environment and environmental management beyond a r u d i -
mentary l e v e l . These were roughly defined i n some cases,
but he l e f t many avenues open for further research.
There i s a c r i t i c a l need to take some of the ideas and
examine t h e i r background more thoroughly. I t should then
be possible to extend them into standards or performance
c r i t e r i a which can be applied i n planning situations,
and which a f f o r d a means of testing the degree of hazard
or nuisance created by the motor v e h i c l e .
Purpose of the Study.
The purpose of this study i s to continue and
extend Buchanan's work, and develop a series of environ-
mental t r a f f i c standards against which to measure the
p o t e n t i a l l y damaging side-effects of the motor vehicle;
and. i n the l i g h t of these standards to examine an example
of a p a r t i c u l a r type of environment. As an outgrowth,
the study w i l l demonstrate the c r u c i a l importance of the
environment for man's physical, psychological, and s o c i a l
well-being, and the need for environmental considerations
to be Incorporated e x p l i c i t l y into every facet of the
planning process.
Such environmental standards should, f u l f i l two
major requirements. F i r s t , they should have a s c i e n t i f i c
and objective basis. Second, they should, recognize the
inherent differences between, and the various needs of,
d i f f e r e n t types of environments. Only when there are
r a t i o n a l l y defined standards can present environments and
future proposals for development and redevelopment be
tested with any meaningfulness, and the quality of those
environments be Improved and enhanced.
There are, of course, d i f f i c u l t i e s i n such a pro^
j e c t . However much we try to be objective, the environ-
ment s t i l l remains e s s e n t i a l l y subjective i n n a t u r e
or perhaps i n d i v i d u a l Is a better term. Each person
experiences " h i s " environment i n a d i f f e r e n t way, and to
a d i f f e r e n t extent, dependant upon such factors as s o c i a l
status, educational l e v e l , and immediate state of mind.
What to some people may be an annoying noise or an unatrac-
t i v e c o l l e c t i o n of signs, may not be noticed by other
people at a l l , or may be experienced p o s i t i v e l y by s t i l l
others. There i s thus the danger when confronted by t h i s
5
type of s i t u a t i o n , as there i s elsewhere l n planning, of
a t t r i b u t i n g one's own values to others. Despite these
d i f f i c u l t i e s , however, acceptable standards can be devised
and applied.
Hypothesis.
I t Is hypothesised that environmental t r a f f i c
standards can be defined and applied to a p a r t i c u l a r
environment to determine whether the quality of that
environment i s above or below that suggested by the standards.
Throughout the study, by environment i s meant the
micro, urban, physical<environment, the physical surround-
ings for l i v i n g , outside buildings. And by t r a f f i c i s
meant motor vehicles, both moving and at r e s t .
Scope of the Study.
The scope of t h i s study i s r e s t r i c t e d to those
aspects of the environment ;which are d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y
affected by the presence of motor vehicles, both moving
and at r e s t , and to the quality of the environment as i t
i s affected by t r a f f i c . In order to establish a framework
for t h i s analysis, i t w i l l be f i r s t necessary to consider
the environment i n a more general sense, and to establish
i t s importance for man. The l a t t e r stages of the study
w i l l be more s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned with a p a r t i c u l a r type
of environment, namely a shopping street.
6
The study must perforce examine only a small seg-
ment of the t o t a l problem of environmental q u a l i t y , and
cannot discuss some of the wider issues, such as design
and environmental perception, which are v i t a l l y important
to an o v e r a l l understanding of the larger problem, and
which are the subjects of a growing body of research.'''
The basic premise i s that the quality of the environment
must be improved for reasons of human health and well-being,
and that the standards to be formulated i n Chapter IV
represent the sort of standards that must be applied i f
t h i s objective i s to be achieved. Obviously, application
w i l l involve questions of economics, but these are largely
beyond the scope of this present study.
Organization.
Chapter II w i l l examine the nature and importance
of the environment i n general terms, discuss the basic
environmental needs of man, and then more s p e c i f i c a l l y
analyse the more p a r t i c u l a r needs of a shopping street
environment. Chapter III w i l l s i m i l a r l y outline the
needs of t r a f f i c i n r e l a t i o n to the environment, and
discuss more f u l l y the environmental impact of the motor
v e h i c l e . Chapter IV w i l l establish a series of four
environmental t r a f f i c standards, which w i l l be based on
an examination of pertinent l i t e r a t u r e and research.
Chapter V w i l l present the case study conducted i n the
Kerrisdale shopping d i s t r i c t of Vancouver to test a
7
p a r t i c u l a r environment and the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the stand-
ards themselves. F i n a l l y , Chapter VI w i l l discuss the
conclusions and implications that may be drawn from t h i s
study.
8
REFERENCES.
"Architecture i n Change," i n Marcus Whiffen (ed.),
The Architect and the City (Cambridge: The M.I.T. Press,
1966), p. ITS.
^See, for example, J. R. Meyer, J . F. Kain, and
M. Wohl, The Urban Transportation Problem (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1965)1 and Wilfred Owen,
The Metropolitan TransportationProblem (Revised Edition;
Washington: The Brookings I n s t i t u t i o n , I966).
3state of I l l i n o i s , Chicago Area Transportation
Study, Volumes I and II (Chicago: Western Engraving and
Embossing Co., 1959 and i 960).
^For a review of such studies see U.S., Department
of Commerce, Bureau of Public Roads, O f f i c e of Research
and Development, Economics Requirements Division,
Highways and Economic and. Social Changes (Washington:
U.S. Government P r i n t i n g O f f i c e , 196V).
5serge Chermayeff and Christopher Alexander,
Community and Privacy (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books,
1963T, P . 85.
See also Marshall McLuhan, Understanding, Media (New York:
McGraw-Hill Paperbacks, 1965), Chapter XXII, pp. 217-225.
6
Great B r i t a i n , Ministry of Transport, T r a f f i c ln
Towns: Reports of the Steering Group and the Working Group
appointed by the Minister of Transport (London: H.M.S.O.,
1963). Cited hereafter as Buchanan, T r a f f i c In Towns.
7
See, for example, Martin Krampen (ed.), Design and
Planning (New York: Hastings House, 1965); and Journal
of Social Issues, XXII, No. 4 (October, 1966).
CHAPTER II
MAN AND ENVIRONMENT
The Place of.Environment In Planning.
The nineteenths century Industrial Revolution, which
resulted, i n economic reorganization and further technolog-
i c a l development, also led to, and i n fact demanded, the
increasing urbanization of society. The focus on manu-
facturing production placed a premium on the natural locat-
ional advantages to be found i n the urban centre.*
And t h i s trend towards the growth of c i t i e s was reinforced
by advances i n medicine and public health practices, and
by the release of large numbers of a g r i c u l t u r a l workers
as productivity i n that sector Increased. These l a t t e r
were then able to take advantage of the employment opport-
u n i t i e s created by i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n .
Urbanization, however, was not achieved without costs,
and. the speed by which these processes occurred gave r i s e
to many severe problems. These problems were not i n them-
selves unique to t h i s period of history, but i t was their
scale which made them so serious. The origins of urban
planning l i e i n part i n the s o c i a l reform movements that
these problemssqualid housing and inadequate sanitary
f a c i l i t i e s , for exampleproduced, and. i n the successive
9
10
p u b l i c h e a l t h a c t s passed i n Great B r i t a i n during' the
l a t t e r h a l f of the nineteenth century which sought to
r e l i e v e these problems.
Concern f o r planning thus arose from a deep concern
f o r environmental q u a l i t y . But despite wealth and grow-
i n g t e c h n o l o g i c a l a b i l i t y , we remain i n grave danger of
d e s e c r a t i n g both the n a t u r a l and. man-made environments.
Indeed, current concern f o r the problems of water and
a i r p o l l u t i o n i s symptomatic of the c o n d i t i o n s f a c i n g us,
and of the i n t e r e s t i n the q u a l i t y of our environment.
Notwithstanding i t s o r i g i n s and the f a c t that environ-
ment i s the core of planning, planners have on the whole
shown a f r i g h t e n i n g l a c k of e x p l i c i t concern and a p p r e c i -
a t i o n f o r environmental q u a l i t y . Research i n t o the prac-
t i c a l aspects of the urban environment, and of man's
r e l a t i o n s with h i s surroundings, has u n t i l r e c e n t l y been
very s m a l l , and i t i s only i n the l a s t few years that
t h e o r e t i c a l constructs have begun to emerge.
The reason why planners should be involved, i n t h i s
work i s q u i t e simple. In Canada i n 1966 72 percent of the
population l i v e d i n urban centres; i n 1980 i t i s estimated
p
that 81 percent w i l l l i v e In urban centres. The q u a l i t y
of those urban surroudlngs w i l l be of fundamental import-
ance to the q u a l i t y of the l i v e s that are led. w i t h i n them.
Environment has p r e v i o u s l y been defined to mean
i n the context of t h i s study the micro, urban, p h y s i c a l
environment. This can be seen as a system, In which the
11
various elements are constantly seeking, i n ecological
terms, an equilibrium. Man i s only one unit in. t h i s
system, continually reacting and interacting with a l l other
elements in the environment. Because the non-human,
elements are closely related to the human elements through,
f o r example, the production of food and oxygen, any dele-
terious effect that even remotely impinges upon t h i s eco-
system cannot be tolerated. And the planner i s i n essence
manipulating the elements of the environment In such a
way as to optimize human behavioural e f f i c i e n c y , designing
an environmental system to match human capacities and
l i m i t a t i o n s .
The Importance of Environment.
Man experiences his surroundings through h i s senses,
primarily the v i s u a l and. auditory senses. An insight into
the importance of man's environment can be gained from
the research of psychologists, especially In the f i e l d s of
sensory r e s t r i c t i o n and deprivation. Much of t h i s has been
based on r i g i d l y controlled laboratory experiments, and
t h i s precludes extensive generalizing from the findings.
But they remain none the l e s s valuable from a evaluatory
and suggestive viewpoint.
Man constantly needs varying forms of stimulation
to function adaptlvely i n his environment. Sensory depri-
vation experiments, which seek to reduce sensory stimula-
t i o n to an absolute minimum, have indicated that too long
12
an exposure to unchanging sensory input produces physio-
l o g i c a l , c o g n i t i v e , p e r c e p t u a l , and a f f e c t i v e impairments.-^
Among the e f f e c t s which have been s u b s t a n t i a t e d are a d i s -
turbance of e l e c t r i c a l a c t i v i t y i n the b r a i n ; an increase
i n s e n s i t i v i t y to p a i n , and some suggestion of an increase
l n v i s u a l and auditory s e n s i t i v i t i e s ; d i f f i c u l t i e s i n
d i r e c t i v e t h i n k i n g and concentration; some impairment i n
colour p e r c e p t i o n ; and v a r y i n g degrees of emotional d i s -
turbance.
I t i s not the l e v e l of s t i m u l a t i o n per se which
i s so important l n c o r t i c a l arousal and i t s r e s u l t i n g
behavioural e f f i c i e n c y . ^ Rather i t i s the l e v e l of stim-
u l u s or sensory v a r i a t i o n l n other words, the l e v e l of
s t i m u l a t i o n must be v a r i e g a t e d i n p a t t e r n and/or time.^
One of the b a s i c human m o t i v a t i o n a l f o r c e s i s a d r i v e to
maintain a constant range of v a r i e d sensory input In order
to maintain c o r t i c a l arousal at an optimal l e v e l . V a r i e d
experience w i t h i n the environment Is thus necessary to
maintain man*s capacity f o r adaptation, and to s u s t a i n
h i s i n t e r n a l p r o c e s s e s .
7
The need f o r complexity and v a r i e t y i n sensory
s t i m u l a t i o n has a l s o been discussed by Rapoport and Kantor.
They have shown that humans p r e f e r ambiguous, complex
patterns In t h e i r v i s u a l f i e l d s , and that t h i s i s a funda-
mental preference. There i s , however, a range of percep-
t u a l input s t r e t c h i n g from sensory d e p r i v a t i o n , or mono-
tony, to sensory s a t i a t i o n , or chaos. In the former there
i s not enough to observe, and i n the l a t t e r too much.
Where the environment produces sensory s a t i a t i o n (over-
load), people respond by f i l t e r i n g out the overload to
such a degree that they may suffer hallucinations as a
r e s u l t of sensory underload.^
These controlled experiments can be related to the
a c t u a l i t y of urban l i f e through the question of mental
health. McHarg suggests, a f t e r c i t i n g research by a hos-
p i t a l i n the eastern United, States, that the physical
environment of the c i t y i s generally so chaotic that
people have to f i l t e r out i n order to survive. But i f
there i s too l i t t l e for them to grasp, they f i n a l l y f i l t e r
too much and become under-stimulated.*^ This under-stimu-
l a t i o n may be a contributory cause of mental disease.
While the studies are not conclusive and show some
discrepancies between the subjects' reports and objective
test r e s u l t s , they do indicate the overwhelming importance
not only of the environment I t s e l f , but also of i t s quality,
for man's sensory, and thus behavioural, e f f i c i e n c y .
The environment conditions man's mental and physical person-
a l i t y , and environmental factors have t h e i r most profound
and l a s t i n g effects when they Impinge upon a young organ-
ism during the formative phases of development.
1 1
Rats,
for example, raised i n an "enriched" environment (in terms
of sensory stimulation) develop mentally and physically
faster than do rats raised i n normal or "impoverished"
environments.^
14
Not only Is the environment psychologically im-
portant, but, as w i l l become more apparent below and in
Chapter I I I , i s equally important from a physiological
point of view. To function e f f i c i e n t l y and to carry out
necessary i n t e r n a l processes, the human body needs a
certain input of various substances. Many of these i t
derives from the environment surrounding i t .
Environmental Needs.
Environmental considerations of this nature have
not generally been recognized by planners, and thus have
not been incorporated to any great degree into the planning
process. Admittedly there are problems in transposing
research findings into p r a c t i c a l use. But where the planner
f a i l s to consider the basic environmental needs of the
people for whom he i s planning, the consequences can be
large and serious, and. the r e s u l t i n g environments un-
sulted to the needs, or unrelated to the former experi-
ences, of those intended to l i v e i n them. An example of
t h i s type of s i t u a t i o n i s described by Jane Jacobs In
the low-income housing projects of New York, where the
type of environment created both inside and outside the
project buildings was almost foreign to the relocated
f a m i l i e s .
1 3
Environmental considerations are c r i t i c a l l y import-
ant for t r a f f i c and c i r c u l a t i o n planning as well as for
other facets of the planning process. The motor vehicle
15
i s one element i n the environment which may react with the
micro-environments through which i t passes to produce both
physiological and psychological effects on the people i n
those environments. The purpose of this study i s to develop
a series of environmental t r a f f i c standards against which
to measure these e f f e c t s . This, however, i s no easy task,
for we are at once confronted with the a b i l i t y of man to
adapt p h y s i o l o g i c a l l y and psychologically to d i f f e r i n g
environments, and d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of quality. But i n t h i s
adaptation process man runs the r i s k of reducing his oper-
ating e f f i c i e n c y , and thus of impairing his physical and
mental health, i f the environment i s l e s s than optimal.
Human behaviour i s motivated by a variety of
needs, desires and purposes. These may or may not be
consciously r e a l i z e d by Individuals. In an affluent society
the basic pattern of motivational behaviour becomes modi-
f l e d to a large extent by that society's a b i l i t y to s a t i s -
fy many of these, and the importance of the more funda-
mental needs are distorted or not e x p l i c i t l y recognized.
These must, however, be defined, for they form the only
r a t i o n a l basis on which to establish environmental standards.
When dealing with the micro-environment i n the c i t y ,
we are also confronted by a broad range of types of environ-
mentthe r e s i d e n t i a l environment; the commercial environ-
ment; and the i n d u s t r i a l environment, for instance. Each
of these have t h e i r own set of s p e c i f i c needs beyond the
fundamental needs that any environment should s a t i s f y .
16
These basic needs can be seen as an hierarchy not
only interms of what Maslow has c a l l e d prepotency, but
also i n terms of s p e c i f i c i t y , ranging from the general
environmental needs to the more s p e c i f i c needs of, say, a
commercial environment. The quality of any environment
thus becomes the degree to which i t s a t i s f i e s the range
of needs.
Typology of Needs.
A three-part typology of basic environmental needs
has been developed, consisting of physiological, psycho-
l o g i c a l , and s o c i a l needs. While a hierarchy of s p e c i f i c i t y
can be distinguished, and the various sub-components of
each basic need amplified, the three groups of needs must
not be thought of as being completely separate. Rather
they are an i n t e r r e l a t e d and. integrated system. Moreover,
i t i s not possible i n every case to put a p a r t i c u l a r need
d e f i n i t e l y into one category. They overlap; and one need
may be expressed, through another i n a d i f f e r e n t category.
The typology as presented here should not be thought of as
an i n c l u s i v e l i s t of man's basic needs, or of those more
p a r t i c u l a r l y related to the physical environment.
Por the purposes of discussion a three-level hier-
archy has been i d e n t i f i e d . At the f i r s t l e v e l of abstraction
i s the simple recognition of physiological, psychological,
and. s o c i a l needs. At the second and t h i r d l e v e l s these
are progressively amplified into sub-components.
17
Physiological Needs. The most prepotent of a l l human needs
are the physiological needs. The sub-components at the
second l e v e l include the needs for food, shelter, water,
sexual expression, sunlight and a i r , and physical exercise.
A
5
Further d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n occurs at the t h i r d l e v e l .
The human body, for example, needs a certain daily intake
of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins to function e f f i c i -
ently, and thus each i n d i v i d u a l must vary his food con-
sumption to meet these requirements.
1
^ To take another
instance, open space of varying kinds i s necessary to
s a t i s f y the body's exercise needs.
Psychological Needs. Previous discussion has already
i l l u s t r a t e d the importance of psychological needs, and
t h e i r i n t e r r e l a t i o n with the physical well-being of the
human body.
Of great Importance at the second l e v e l i s the
need for security. This i s much more simple and recog-
nizable i n Infants and children than l t i s ln adults.
I l l n e s s , for instance, may temporarily destroy a child's
sense of s t a b i l i t y and security, and produce a reaction of
17
fear. To generalize, a c h i l d t y p i c a l l y prefers a safe,
orderly, predictable, and organized world. This finds a
p a r a l l e l i n the very common adult preference for the fam-
i l i a r rather than the unfamiliar, for the known rather than
the unknown.
At the t h i r d l e v e l security finds expression i n the
need for human scale i n the urban environment: i n other
18
words, that building form and space should r e l a t e to the
human being, i t s dimensions and capacities. Examples of
present-day architecture go beyond the human being in t h e i r
scale and tend to break open the c i t y . The motor vehicle
i n motion also tends to the same e f f e c t s . Ultimately
t h i s may lead to a f e e l i n g that man does not belong
a f e e l i n g of unrelatedness that may produce withdrawl and
18
a loss of security.
A second expression of security at t h i s t h i r d l e v e l
i s the need for safety. In a psychological sense, t h i s
means freedom from a f e e l i n g of danger or r i s k associated
with any p a r t i c u l a r a c t i v i t y . But safety also implies
freedom from actual physical danger, and i t therefore tran-
scends the d i s t i n c t i o n between physiological and psycho-
l o g i c a l needs.
Based on his wide case experience, Maslow has found
cravings i n some people which can only be s a t i s f i e d by
19
beauty. These he has termed aesthetic needs, but because
they overlap the conatlve and cognative needs contained
i n his hierarchy of prepotency, they are impossible to
i s o l a t e s p e c i f i c a l l y . They would, appear, however, to
be related to the second l e v e l psychological need for a
variety of sensory stimulation or a s u f f i c i e n t degree of
complexity to stimulate c u r i o s i t y and exploration, which
the previous d i s c i s s i o n revealed. This finds expression i n
people's p o s i t i v e response to contrasts i n the physical
environment, especially those between building and space,
19
and qualitatively between rich and poor segments of the
environment.
fc
This need is complementary to that for sufficient
order in the environment to f a c i l i t a t e Its comprehension.
As man moves through the environment he organizes the
sensory cues (including colour,, shape, motion, touch,
smell, and sound) of his surroundings into a coherent
pattern. The ease by which the parts can be recognized
21
and organized has been called " l e g i b i l i t y " ; and the
quality in a physical object that gives i t a high proba-
b i l i t y of evoking a strong image in any observer has
been termed "imageability".'^ A distinctive and legible
environment that results in a continuity not only offers
security, but, through i t , i t i s also possible to heighten
the depth of human experience.
Social Needs. Human beings are essentially gregarious
animals, and thus need a certain amount of social Inter-
action. Studies of the effects of social isolation reported
by Schultz,
2 3
while their findings are to some extent spec-
ulative and thus limited, show that the effects are similar
to those produced by sensory restriction and deprivation.
Isolation with a small group produces emotional and
cognitive effects when the confinement is of a long period.
The physical environment must thus provide a plat-
form for a range of human interaction, from direct face-
to-face contact to the opportunity merely to watch other
people. People "should be free to wander about, to s i t
20
around, to look i n shop windows, to meet and gossip, to
contemplate the scene and the architecture and the h l s -
24
tory . . . .
n
This need for contact must be balanced
against the need for privacy, a need, which forms a part
of a l l three categories.
These three basic needs are fundamental and. universal,
and with the various l e v e l s of sub-components must form the
basis f o r a l l planning. In a c t u a l i t y they become modified
by d i f f e r e n t cultures expressed i n terms of attitudes and.
values, and. these i n turn can d i f f e r within cultures by
place and in time. It must also be recognized that these
needs are part of a system, and that pursuit of one need,
to the exclusion of a l l others w i l l endanger the t o t a l
system. The needs must therefore be balanced, throughout
the various l e v e l s of the system.
The Shopping Street Environment.
These broad needs are further extended and more
s p e c i f i c a l l y focussed by the special requirements of a
p a r t i c u l a r type of environment. Once environmental t r a f f i c
standards have been established, a p a r t i c u l a r environment
w i l l be examined In the l i g h t of these standards, both to
test the hypothesis formulated. In Chapter I and the applic-
a b i l i t y of the standards themselves. A shopping street
environment has been selected for t h i s purpose, and the
special needs of t h i s type of environment w i l l now be d i s -
cussed.
Shopping i s primarily a pedestrian set of a c t i v i t i e s ,
and the approach to any analysis of the shopping street
environment must therefore be through the needs of pedes-
t r i a n s . In the North American context shopping predomin-
antly takes place i n stores located along a street.
Instances of the purely pedestrian shopping centre are
s t i l l rare, and the pedestrian must thus compete for space
with the motor v e h i c l e . The l a t t e r has become an i n t e g r a l
part of the shopping street environment, and i t s own
peculiar needs w i l l be discussed i n the next chapter.
A street i s "a form of layout consisting of a car-
riageway for vehicles, flanking pavements for pedestrians,
and with frontage development with d i r e c t access to prem-
25
l s e s for pedestrians and occasionally for vehicles."
J
As such i t performs a number of functions. I t provides
a means of direct access to the buildings which l i e on i t
or just behind. I t provides a means of physical communi-
cation between one part of an urban area and another for
people, vehicles, and sometimes animals. I t i s a means of
affording contact for those l i v i n g or working on the street
and those l i v i n g around, acting as a public space for work,
play and l e i s u r e .
D
As a fourth function r e l a t e d to that
of communication, the street serves as a component of one
element i n the five-element urban s t r u c t u r a l system devised
by Lynch.
2 7
Streets are part of the path system, and thus
act as means of orientation.
22
A shopping street i s bounded on one or both sides
by shops which have show windows and entrance doors at
the back edge of the sidewalk facing a roadway. From the
pedestrian viewpoint, the shopping street has a number of
essential environmental requirements. F i r s t , there must
be a f e e l i n g of a c t i v i t y , variety, and lntersest. This
can be partly produced by crowds. Host shopping streets
are two-sided, and because It i s undesirable to have one
side inactive the pedestrian must be able to cross and.
recross the space between the two rows of shop windows.
The effect of a c t i v i t y can be heightened by a variety of
shopping frontage and shop front design, and. by careful
control of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the heights of b u i l d -
ings along the street and the width between the building
28
facades. This i s best achieved, by narrowness, and the
f e e l i n g would be destroyed by the widening of the roadway
to accomodate an increasing volume of vehicular t r a f f i c .
A c t i v i t y would also demand the exclusion of the dead
spaces created by the blank walls of banks and post-offices,
and by parking l o t s and f i l l i n g stations, which interrupt
the continuity of the window display.
A second requirement i s safety from t r a f f i c . We
have already noted the d e s i r a b i l i t y of being able to cross
from one side of the street to the other. This does not
mean solely signalized crossings or marked crosswalks
with pedestrian right-of-way at each intersection, but
i d e a l l y the a b i l i t y for the pedestrian to cross safely
23
and at w i l l along the whole length of the block without
having to negotiate a b a r r i e r of either parked or moving
v e h i c l e s . A constant or even p a r t i a l flow of vehicles
can be a continual source of anxiety not only to those
people trying to cross the street, but also to those walk-
ing along the sidewalk. A London survey of some years ago
revealed, that there were three times as many accidents
on roads with many shops as there were along purely r e s i -
dential stretches of the same r o a d s . ^
A t h i r d requirement, related i n part to safety,
i s comfort. Ideally, a shopping environment should pro-
vide protection from the weather. This could be achieved,
by arcaded sidewalks, or through the use of canopies.
The sidewalks should also be wide enough to handle the
expected density of pedestrian t r a f f i c , and accomodate
couples walking hand i n hand, for example, playing
children, and various pieces of street furniture.
Shopping i s not solely a necessity but also a chance
to mix with other people. I t Is to some degree a s o c i a l
entertainment, and window-shopping i s a s i g n i f i c a n t
l e i s u r e time a c t i v i t y . The shopping environment must
therefore be one that people can enjoywhere they can
wander about and f e e l part of the area.
A l l these considerations may point to the conclusion
that the shopping environment should be t r a f f i c - f r e e and
a pedestrian precinct. This would, however, be too hasty
a conclusion on the evidence presented so f a r . Such a
Zk
proposal may not s u i t , nor indeed be possible, i n every
s i t u a t i o n . Pedestrian-vehicle segregation i s currently
enjoying a p o s i t i o n as the panacea of many of the problems
that confront us with regard to t r a f f i c i n the urban
environment. The tempo of the vehicle and the pedestrian
are widely held to be incompatible, the vehicle being
twenty times heavier and faster, demanding four to six
times the pavement of the pedestrian,3 and creating an
environment t o t a l l y out of scale with the pedestrian.
While admitting these to be true, i t should also be noted
that some types of wheeled vehicles are completely com-
p a t i b l e with the pedestrian, and moreover can add v i t a l i t y
to the scene.
Summary.
I t has been demonstrated i n t h i s chapter through
a review of some of the findings of sensory r e s t r i c t i o n
and deprivation experiments that the physical environment
i s of fundamental importance to man. The quality of the
environment i s the degree to which i t s a t i s f i e s a range of
basic human needs. These form a three-part typology
c l a s s i f i e d on the basis of physiological, psychological,
and s o c i a l needs, and can be amplified into a three-level
hierarchy of s p e c i f i c i t y . There are also a variety of
d i f f e r e n t types of environments, each with a set of special
requirements, and both the basic needs and the more part-
i c u l a r needs of s p e c i f i c environments must be planned for
i n urban areas.
25
This analysis w i l l now provide a framework to
examine the interaction of the motor vehicle and, the
environment. In the next chapter l t w i l l be shown that
the motor vehicle also has a set of environmental needs.
Yet at the same time It has a number of effects on the phys-
i c a l environment which are p o t e n t i a l l y damaging to man,
and which have severe implications for many of man's
basic needs.
26
REFERENCES.
^Economic C o u n c i l o f Canada, F o u r t h Annual Review
(Ottawa: The Queen's P r i n t e r , 1967), p. 1?4T
2
I b i d . , T a b l e 7- 4, p. 186. Urban c e n t r e s a r e
d e f i n e d as t h o s e w i t h 1,000 p e r s o n s o r more.
^Duane P. S c h u l t z , S g n s o r y J R e s t r i c t i o n (New York:
Academic P r e s s , 1965), p. T7
^ I b i d . , Chapter V.
^The c e r e b r a l c o r t e x i s t h e major p a r t o f the b r a i n
which e n a b l e s man t o u n d e r s t a n d the meaning o f the s i g n a l s
from the v a r i o u s senses which t e l l him what i s g o i n g on
b o t h around him and w i t h i n h i s body.
6
Duane P. S c h u l t z , op. c i t . , p.22.
''Donald W. F i s k e , and S a l v a t o r e R. Maddi, F u n c t i o n s
L Varied. E x p e r i e n c e (Homewood, 111.: The Dorsey P r e s s , I96I)
P.55.
Amos Rapoport, and R o b e r t E. K a n t o r , "Complexity
and A m b i g u i t y i n Urban D e s i g n , " J o u r n a l o f the American
l5tltute_ofplanners, X X X I I I , No.~4" TJuly, 19o"77, 210- 221.
^ I a n McHarg, "The Ecology o f the C i t y , " i n
Marcus W h i f f e n ( e d . ) , The A r c h i t e c t and the C i t y (Cambridge:
The M.I.T. P r e s s , 19667, p. 6~47
1 0
I M d .
x l
R e n e Dubos, "Man A d a p t i n g , " i n W i l l i a m R. Ewald, Jr.
( e d . ) , Environment f o r Man ( B l o o m i n g t o n : I n d i a n a U n i v e r s i t y
P r e s s , 196"7l, P. 18T
-
1 2
D . K r e c h , M. R. Rosenzweig, and E. L. B e n n e t t ,
" R e l a t i o n between B r a i n - C h e m i s t r y and P r o b l e m - S o l v i n g among
R a t s r a i s e d i n E n r i c h e d and I m p o v e r i s h e d Environments,"
Journal o f C o m p a r a t i v e and P h y s i o l o g i c a l P s y c h o l o g y , LV, No.5
Tseptember, 19o277~8"0"l^B07.
1
3 j a n e J a c o b s , The Death and. L i f e o f Great American
C i t i e s (New York: Random House, 19~o"l77 P 15*
A. H. Maslow, Motivat1 on_and P e r s o n a l i t y (New Y o r k :
Harper and. Row, 1954), p. 8~3.
27
Maslow describes an hierarchy of needs from physiological,
through safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem
needs, to the need for s e l f - a c t u a l i z a t i o n . The concept of
prepotency expresses the idea that i f no needs are being
s a t i s f i e d , then behaviour i s directed solely towards s a t i s -
fying physiological needs, these being the most prepotent.
When these have become s a t i s f i e d to a certain extent, then
the s a t i s f a c t i o n of safety needs emerges as a motivational
force.
^ F o r a discussion of human needs see Fred V. Hein,
and Dana L. Farnsworth, L i v i n g ( 4t h Edition; Chicago:
Scott, Foresman and Co., l 9o"5). See also William L. Slayton,
and Richard Dewey, "Urban Redevelopment and the Urbanite,"
i n Coleman Woodbury (ed.), The Future of C i t i e s and Urban
Redevelopment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953) ,
p. 313- 317.
^ F r e d V. Hein, and Dana L. Farnsworth, op. c i t . ,
pp. 78- 91.
^A. H. Maslow, og. c i t . , p. 85.
This and. other points would tend to suggest the usefulness
of children as a basis for environmental planning research.
Responses to environmental stimuli are conditioned by
education and experience, and. therefore with age comes a
l e s s "true" response.
18
An excellent discussion of scale i s contained i n
Hans Blumenfeld, "Scale i n C i v i c Design," Town Planning
Review, XXIV, No. 1 ( A p r i l , 1953) , P 35-
L
~. See also
Edward T. H a l l , The Hidden Dimension (Garden City, N.Y.J
Doubleday, 1966) .
!9
A
.
H
. Maslow, op. c i t . , p. 97.
on
David Lowenthal, Address to the University of
B r i t i s h Columbia Graduate Geography Club, November 6, 19^7;
and Kevin Lynch, and Malcolm Rlvkin, "A Walk around, the
Block," Landscape, VIII, No. 3 (Spring, 1958) , 24- 34.
21
Kevin Lynch, The Image of.the City (Cambridge:
The M.I.T. Press, 1960l ,~pp. 2 - 3 .
2 2
I b i d . , p. 9.
2
3oua ne P. Schultz, op_. c i t .
?4
Colin D. Buchanan, "Standards and Values i n Motor
Age Towns," Journal of the Town PIanni ng Ins t l t u t e , XLVII,
No. 10 (December, I 96T) , 325.
2
^Buchanan, T r a f f i c i n Towns, p. 222.
28
2 6
N. P. Allen, "The Street In Evolution," Journal of
the Town Planning I n s t i t u t e , LIII, No. 2 (February, 1977*
oT-6^5.
2
?Kevin Lynch, op. c i t . , pp. 49- 62. The other elements
are edges, d i s t r i c t s , nodes, and landmarks.
2
^ W i l f r e d Burns, B r i t i s h Shopping Centres (London:
Leonard H i l l , 1 959) , P. 75.
^9R. J. Smeed, "Accident Rates," International Road
Safety and T r a f f i c Review, I I I , No. 2 (Spring, 1955T,
p. 7k~.
3Barry Benepe, "Pedestrian i n the City," T r a f f 1 c
Quarterly, XIX, No. 1 (January, 1965) , 36".
CHAPTER III
THE MOTOR VEHICLE AND ENVIRONMENT
Environmental I^eeds of the Motor Vehicle.
The importance of the physical environment for
man's physical, psychological, and s o c i a l weil-being was
discussed i n Chapter I I , and a typology of man's basic
environmental needs was developed.. A second unit in the
urban physical environment i s the motor vehicle, which
s i m i l a r l y has a set of environmental needs that must be
s a t i s f i e d for i t to function e f f i c i e n t l y .
The needs of the motor vehicle (and. by t h i s i s meant
primarily the passenger car) are derived on the one hand
from i t being a free-wheeled, self-propelled machine, and.
can be measured i n terms of space and free-flow. On the
other hand, i t i s a man-machine system, and thus becomes
an extension of man, adopting i n turn many of man's needs,
p a r t i c u l a r l y i n terms of safety. The basic machine space
needs are hence modified, to take into account man's poten-
t i a l errors i n judgement. For example, a passenger car
may be six feet in width, and as a machine could operate
e f f i c i e n t l y within a roadway width of seven feet. But due
to the human component of the system, the lane width must
be enlarged, to, say, twelve feet.*
29
30
In terms of the machine component of the system,
the environmental needs of the motor vehicle can de d i v i -
ded into two partsneeds for movement and needs for park-
ing or storage. Those for movement are partly r e f l e c t e d
i n the alignment and cross-section elements of current
geometric design standards for roads. These standards
vary according to the design volumes, the design speeds,
the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the road, and. the l e v e l of service
demanded. To take the example of an undivided urban c o l -
l e c t o r street with a design speed of t h i r t y miles per
hour, the Canadian Good Roads Association recommend that
the travelled lanes should, have a width of twelve feet,
2
and. parking lanes a width of ten feet; alignment standards
suggest a maximum gradient of eight percent, a minimum stop-
ping distance of 200 feet, a minimum passing sight d i s t -
ance of 800 feet, and a maximum degree of curve of 21.0.
Ideally, the motor vehicle should be able to operate
i n conditions of free-flow. Thus any f r i c t i o n factors
that might p o t e n t i a l l y impede free-flow should be elim-
inated. Those which can be manipulated or controlled,
include t r a f f i c signals, the actions of vehicles within the
vehicle stream, parked vehicles, vehicles entering the
stream from intersections, and both vehicles and pedestrians
crossing the d i r e c t i o n of flow.
The parking needs can be accomodated i n three p r i n -
c i p l e ways: curb-side parking, grade-level o f f - s t r e e t l o t s ,
and m u l t i - l e v e l parking structures. The Canadian Good
3 1
Roads Association recommend a space 2 2 feet i n length for
each car for p a r a l l e l parking at the curb.^ H i t t e r , i n
discussing ground l e v e l l o t s , uses a basic rectangular
space of 18 by 8.5 feet for each car, which can be com-
bined i n d i f f e r e n t ways according to the layout.^
Subsiduary to these movement and parking needs are
needs analogous to man's food and clothing needs. The
motor vehicle requires such commercial f a c i l i t i e s as
f i l l i n g stations, repair garages, and. body shops, which
must be associated with the above-mentioned f a c i l i t i e s .
With regard to the human component, the environ-
mental needs can be seen primarily i n terms of safety and,
o r i e n t a t i o n . The safety of the driver i s i n part dependant
upon adequate t r a f f i c engineering measures related to
design volume and design speed, and the f r i c t i o n factors
noted above. Safety i s also related to comfort, and the
road i t s e l f should, contribute to making driving as pleas-
urable as possible. Thirdly, i t i s related to the actual
design of the motor vehicle i t s e l f , both the shape and
construction of the exterior body, and. the layout and f i n i s h
of the i n t e r i o r .
The second major need i s that of orientation-?-
the driver must know where he i s going, where he i s , and
must be made aware of the various regulations governing
his use of the roadway. Whereas the pedestrian relates
d i r e c t l y to the townscape, and his environment must provide
a high l e v e l of interest and variety, the driver i s not
32
involved with the environment to the same degree, and his
appreciation and s e n s i t i v i t y i s at a much lower l e v e l .
Because of the speed d i f f e r e n t i a l and the need, for a high
degree of concentration, d e t a i l becomes of much l e s s import-
ance to the driver than to the pedestrian. Thus the scale
and l e g i b i l i t y of the motor vehicle environment i s of a
quite d i f f e r e n t order than that of the pedestrian, and i t
must be related to the tempo and rhythm of vehicular move-
ment. The question of orientation and communication also
involves the use of signs to convey messages. Lettering
i s d i f f i c u l t to read when moving at almost any speed, and
wherever possible i t i s better to use symbols to transmit
the information.
The s p e c i f i c needs of the pedestrian i n a shopping
street environment were discussed i n Chapter I I . In the
same way, the motor vehicle, largely as a conveyor of
future pedestrians, has a set of s p e c i f i c needs i n terms
of access and parking which must be s a t i s f i e d by t h i s type
of environment. These, i n c i d e n t a l l y , closely r e l a t e to
the expressed desires of shopkeepers, who view a continual
flow of t r a f f i c past their shop fronts as an economic
advantage. Due to the multi-functional nature of the street,
however, access and. parking needs are p o t e n t i a l l y in con-
f l i c t with one-another, and, more Importantly, with the
needs of the pedestrian.
The passenger car needs to be able to penetrate
d i r e c t l y to the curb i n front of the shop in which the
33
driver intends to make his or her purchase, or, i f there
i s no p a r t i c u l a r choice, to park at the curb-side, where
the driver can then proceed, to window-shop on foot.^
Where curb-side parking i s not possible, parking must be
provided within easy walking access to the shops. Transit
vehicles need to be able to stop at points along the street
to unload and to pick up passengers. And access must be
provided for service vehicles, preferably at the rear, or
a l t e r n a t i v e l y at the front, of the shop premises. Because
most shopping streets are also being used as a means of
communication between d i f f e r e n t parts of the urban area,
these parking needs w i l l c o n f l i c t with the free-flow needs
of through vehicles.
Environmental Effects.
Set against these environmental needs are a number
of environmental effects produced by the motor vehicle both
when moving and. at rest, which are leading to an increasing
deterioration of the urban physical environment. The trans-
portation and t r a f f i c problem i n towns, c i t i e s , and metro-
p o l i t a n areas i s conventionally seen i n terms of increasing
motor vehicle usage (which i s compounding the d i f f i c u l t i e s
and f r u s t r a t i o n created by an urban form p a r t i c u l a r l y
unsulted to mass motor vehicle movement);:. i n terms of d e c l i -
ning t r a n s i t patronage; and i n terms of inadequate finan-
c i a l and planning arrangements. Even i f a l l these problem
areas are recognized, the usual approach has been to attempt
34
to increase the road, network i n step with t r a f f i c demand,
an obsolete and. i n e f f e c t u a l e f f o r t which only serves to
widen the chaos by a t t r a c t i n g more t r a f f i c .
But while t r a f f i c congestion and parking d i f f i c u l t -
i e s receive widespread recognition, and while transportation
planners are changing t h e i r approach to one of balancing
demand, with the available network by u t i l i z i n g a range
of transportation modes, the deterioration of the urban
environment from the side-effects of the motor vehicle
i s almost universally ignored. The major exception i s the
increasing number of road accidents, which are the subject
of mounting public pressure and new l e g i s l a t i v e measures
designed to a l l e v i a t e the problem. This non-recognition
of the declining quality of the urban environment i s most
l i k e l y the r e s u l t of the almost complete acceptance of the
motor vehicle as an integral and necessary part of d a i l y
l i f e , with the consequence that we take i t and i t s less
desirable effects very much for granted.
Many c r i t i c s have denounced the erosion of c i t i e s ,
the endless sprawl of suburbia, and the movement towards
a greater impersonality of human contact that the motor
7
vehicle i s held In part to produce. But for a l l t h i s ,
the motor vehicle plays a v i t a l part i n the communications
and economic l i f e of urban centres. However, the adverse
consequences of motor t r a f f i c i n towns i s a matter of
great and increasing seriousness which demands urgent atten-
t i o n . To take any other view "would, be to put oneself
35
out of l i n e with a whole section of s o c i a l endeavour directed
over many years to the r a i s i n g of environmental standards,
and the promotion of understanding and enjoyment of the
Q
v i s u a l arts, architecture and landscape design".
The Buchanan Report, Traff1c_In_Towns, was the f i r s t
major document to examine the environmental effects of
the motor vehicle to any degree, and to suggest that
environmental considerations of this nature should be
recognized as an e x p l i c i t part of the planning process.
In the report, Buchanan outlined four major environmental
effects--safety, noise, fumes, and. v i s u a l intrusion.
These were not analysed to any depth, however, and. the
remainder of this chapter w i l l be devoted to a more exten-
sive examination of the problems.
Safety.
Safety, i n the sense which i s meant here, i s free-
dom from danger or r i s k s associated with motor vehicles,
p a r t i c u l a r l y i n motion, and of a l l the influences on the
environment It i s the most c r i t i c a l . I t i s d i f f i c u l t to
separate the Idea of safety from accidents, and the l a t t e r
can be viewed as a negative indication of the degree of
safety i n any environment.
In the United States i n 1966, deaths due to motor
vehicle accidents accounted for k7 percent of the t o t a l
number of accidental deaths (53,000 out of 113,000);
9
and. motor vehicle accidents were the major cause of a c c i -
36
dental deaths for a l l age groups except for those under
one year and those 7 5 years or over. Of the t o t a l number
of disabling i n j u r i e s , motor vehicles accounted for 1 7 5
p e r c e n t .
1 0
Comparable figures are not available f o r Canada,
but i t i s reasonable to expect that a similar relationship
e x i s t s .
Seven out of ten accidental deaths associated with
motor vehicles occurred i n places c l a s s i f i e d as r u r a l , and
the victims were mostly occupants of motor vehicles.
In urban areas, however, 3 6 percent of the victims were
p e d e s t r i a n s .
1 1
Of a l l pedestrians Injured or k i l l e d i n
urban areas approximately two-thirds were crossing or
entering streets at the time of the accident. Most f r e -
quently, the crossing was between intersections for persons
1 9 years or below, and at intersections for those 2 0 or
above.
i 2
Safety not only requires freedom from actual danger
and r i s k , but equally as important a f e e l i n g of security.
Safety and security are prerequisites for a c i v i l i z e d
l i f e , and against this standard the urban environment leaves
much to be desired. The continual presence of moving veh-
i c l e s i n any environment Is a constant threat to that safety
and security, especially i n the case of urban areas to
that of the pedestrian. Parked cars l i n i n g a street are
also a hazard to pedestrians where they r e s t r i c t the l a t t e r * s
a b i l i t y to see on-coming vehicles, while at the same time
r e s t r i c t i n g the driver's a b i l i t y to see pedestrians.
37
The lack of pedestrian safety r e s u l t s from pedes-
t r i a n s and vehicles competing for the use of the same space
at the same time. This i s obviously most c r i t i c a l at
street intersections and along busy shopping streets where
there i s a continual flow of pedestrians from one side of
the street to the other. In such situations the safety
of the pedestrian w i l l depend upon the number and speed
of vehicles, the exposure of pedestrians to vehicles-,
(the intensity of c o n f l i c t between them), pedestrian and
driver attitudes and s k i l l s , external controls on vehicles
and pedestrians such as s i g n a l i z a t i o n , ambient conditions,
and automobile design.
Noise.
Noise i s defined as "sound which i s undesired by the
13
r e c i p i e n t " . Over the l a s t century, man has become sub-
jected to increasing amounts of noise i n the urban environ-
ment, such that noise l e v e l s are now presenting a hazard
to health.
The sense of hearing i s subject to decay with age:
t h i s effect i s known as presbycusis. Hearing begins to
decline i n the age group 10- 19 years, and as age advances
l t becomes more pronounced, a f f e c t i n g the appreciation of
higher tones f i r s t . ^ In a study reported by Beales,
1
^
H i n c h c l i f f e compared the hearing of a r u r a l and. an urban
population i n the age groups 55-64 and 65- 75 years.
He found a mean hearing loss of 18 decibels (abbreviated d.B)
38
and 25dB for the r u r a l , and. 45 &B and 49dB for the urban
population, a fact which can only be explained by the d i f f e r -
ences i n noise between the two environments. A further
study by Rosen, which compared an i s o l a t e d t r i b a l popu-
l a t i o n l i v i n g i n a r e l a t i v e l y noise-free environment to
various ages of an healthy population l i v i n g i n the United
States, showed that the hearing decline with age was greater
for those l i v i n g i n c i t i e s and occured e a r l i e r .
1 7
Noise can i n t e r f e r e with many phases of human health
and l i f e . It may prevent sleep and reduce stress. I t may
intrude into our physical privacy, or our thoughts and
feelings, and r e s u l t l n annoyance and i r r i t a t i o n (in general,
i t i s the unexpected noise that i r r i t a t e s most). It may
i n t e r f e r e with s p e c i f i c a c t i v i t i e s such as communication,
especially conversation, education, and recreation.
And i t may a f f e c t working e f f i c i e n c y by disturbing the con-
centration needed for some s p e c i f i c task. Beyond t h i s ,
evidence shows that exposure to excessive noise over a
long duration does r e s u l t i n physical damage to hearing,
18
and that t h i s i s permanent.
A B r i t i s h committee established to consider the
problem of noise concluded that i n London "road t r a f f i c i s ,
at the present time, the predominant source of annoyance,
19
and no other single source Is of comparable importance".
In a survey of 5^0 points equally spaced over 3 square miles
of central London, analysis of the results from 400 points
showed that at 84 percent of these noise from road t r a f f i c
39
20
predominated. At the same time, a sample of 1,400 people
were questioned about noise and i t s importance r e l a t i v e to
other factors. Asked the question "If you could change
just one of the things you don't l i k e about l i v i n g round
21
here, which would you choose?", 11 percent chose noise.
The committe outlined f i v e p r i n c i p a l sources of
vehicle noise. The predominant noises were caused by pro-
pulsionengine, exhaust, and transmission. The others
were horns, brake squeal, door slamming, and loose loads
or b o d i e s .
2 2
To these can be added t i r e squeal, and the
hum of t i r e s on wet roads.
The steady flow of passenger car t r a f f i c alone i s
not necessarily i r r i t a t i n g . The highest noise l e v e l s are
usually produced by heavy trucks and vehicles such as buses,
p a r t i c u l a r l y when accelerating. Trucks pass a given point
l e s s often, because they usually comprise a small percent-
age of the t r a f f i c stream, and the load burst of noise
that r e s u l t s i s more d i s t r a c t i n g and. annoying. However,
the B r i t i s h committee found that t r a f f i c noise i n the
United States was generally l e s s obtrusive. This was
attributed to the t r a f f i c being more homogenous: fewer buses;
fewer trucks at peak periods due to r e s t r i c t i o n s on d e l i v -
e r i e s ; American cars being higher powered and. l e s s seldom
driven at high engine revolutions; and the flow of t r a f f i c
being interrupted less frequently.^3
40
Fumes.
The problem of a i r p o l l u t i o n has received an i n -
creasing amount of attention i n recent years, primarily due
to the recognition that the r i s i n g l e v e l s of a i r p o l l u t i o n
are a s i g n i f i c a n t danger to health. There i s now the fear
that we are discharging more wastes into the atmosphere
than can be handled by such natural processes as d i l u t i o n ,
and that the build-up of pollutants w i l l have s i g n i f i c a n t
b i o l o g i c a l and physical effects as yet unknown.
The health effects of acute p o l l u t i o n episodes have
f o r a long time been established, and pollutants i n con-
junction with certain meteorological conditions, such as
those which caused the severe London fogs of December, 1952,
and December, 1962, can r e s u l t i n death. However, there i s
no simple cause and effect r e l a t i o n s h i p between a i r p o l l u -
t i o n and disease. I t i s l i k e l y that p o l l u t i o n i s not the
sole cause of any disease, but that i t might aggravate
already existing conditions and p r e c i p i t a t e i l l n e s s .
Further, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to extrapolate from the data on
p o l l u t i o n disasters to the low l e v e l s of p o l l u t i o n to
which people are exposed i n more normal urban situations.
At these l e v e l s , human adaptive mechanisms and tolerance
may confer s i g n i f i c a n t protection, and the Influences on
public health are much more subtle. But the evidence
collected to date suggests that a i r p o l l u t i o n i s a con-
tributory factor i n eye i r r i t a t i o n ; chronic obstructive
lung diseases involving asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema;
24
and cancer of the lung and respiratory t r a c t .
41
There are two broad classes of atmospheric pollutants-
a) particulate matter, consisting of s o l i d or l i q u i d
p a r t i c l e s greater than 100 microns (1 micron = 10~^cm)
to aerosols of l e s s than 1.0 to 0.01 microns;
b) gases and vapours, including the permanent gases
and those substances which have b o i l i n g points
of below about 2 0 0 C
2
5
Within the former group, the motor vehicle, or more part-
i c u l a r l y the i n t e r n a l combustion engine by reason of the
f u e l i t burns, i s a s i g n i f i c a n t source of hydrocarbons.
Within the l a t t e r group, i t contributes through i t s exhaust
99 percent of the carbon monoxide i n the atmosphere, which
next to carbon dioxide i s the most abundant atmospheric
26
pollutant; and i s a major source of oxides of nitrogen.
These are the three p r i n c i p a l contaminants produced by
the operation of the motor v e h i c l e .
Carbon monoxide i s toxic i n the form i n which i t
i s emitted, and. combining with heamoglobin i n the blood
r e s u l t s i n a decreased oxygen carrying capacity, which may
i n turn lead to anexia i n exposed persons.
2 7
Hydrocarbons
and oxides of nitrogen, on the other hand, undergo photo-
chemical reaction i n the atmosphere in the presence of
sunlight to produce a number of compounds which may be
toxic, i r r i t a t e eyes and the respiratory system, damage
28
vegetation, and. impair v i s i b i l i t y .
The nature and severity of a i r p o l l u t i o n w i l l vary
with the number of vehicles, the presence of other sources
42
of p o l l u t i o n , topographical features, and meteorological
conditions, notably winds and temperature inversions.
Conditions i n Los Angeles, C a l i f o r n i a , have attracted a great
deal of research, and the C a l i f o r n i a Department of Public
Health estimated i n I960 that hydrocarbon emissions had to
be reduced, by 80 percent and carbon monoxide by 70 percent
29
before acceptable a i r quality could be obtained. ' But
that c i t y i s not alone i n t h i s problem, and with increasing
use of the motor vehicle p o l l u t i o n effects w i l l become more
apparent i n other c i t i e s . Normal conditions i n Los Angeles
show ribbons of high contaminant concentration over heavily
t r a v e l l e d a r t e r i e s , and lower but more widespread concen-
trations throughout the community. The peak period, of
contaminants i s associated, with the morning and afternoon
t r a f f i c peaks. While these are the periods of the greatest
concentrations of t r a f f i c , the stop-and-go driving con-
d i t i o n s produced by congestion are those associated with
30
the greatest degree of emissions.
V i s u a l Intrusion.
While strong cases can be put forwarder safety,
noise, and fumes as s i g n i f i c a n t environmental effects of
the motor vehicle with serious consequences for human health
and. well-being, the question of v i s u a l intrusion i s more
subjective. It i s , however, no less serious, and. may be
shown to c o n f l i c t to some degree with the need for c l a r i t y
i n the environment which the previous discussion has revealed.
43
This intrusion into the environment i s of two kinds.
The f i r s t i s the intrusion of the motor vehicle i t s e l f ,
both moving and at rest, into almost every corner, so that
wherever one looks one i s confronted with a continual mass
of vehicles of every shape and hue. "Buildings seem to r i s e
from a p l i n t h of c a r s , "
3
* and the effect that was o r i g i n -
a l l y created or intended by the a r c h i t e c t u r a l expression
i s broken or destroyed. Shopping streets become lined, with
cars, and during peak shopping periods and under conditions
of inadequate parking cars may s p i l l over into surrounding
r e s i d e n t i a l areas. We have already noted that the motor vehicle
transcends the intimacy of human scale demanded for ped-
e s t r i a n a c t i v i t y to that l a t t e r * s ultimate destruction.
The second kind of v i s u a l intrusion i s that created,
by a l l the paraphernalia somehow necessary to s a t i s f y the
demands of the motor vehicle. The signs and signals which
attempt to d i r e c t and. regulate t r a f f i c c l u t t e r the environ-
ment with redundant r e p e t i t i o n , and confusion, where sim-
p l i c i t y , c l a r i t y and sparsity could, achieve much more.
The f i l l i n g station and the parking l o t are two of the most
unstimulating forms i n the urban environment which tend
to destroy any sense of scale with t h e i r openness.
A continued lack of concern for v i s u a l intrusion may u l t i -
mately lead to a general apathy towards the quality of
urban l i f e , and an unwillingness to become involved i n
urban a f f a i r s .
LL
Summary.
The motor vehicle i s a man-machine system, and i t s
environmental needs can be i d e n t i f i e d i n r e l a t i o n to the
two components of t h i s system. For the machine component
they can be seen i n terms of space and free-flow; for man,
i n terms of safety and. orientation. In contrast, however,
the motor vehicle has a series of effects on the environ-
ments through which i t passes, the most serious of these
being safety, noise, fumes, and. v i s u a l intrusion.
E e f f e r r i n g back to the typology of needs developed
i n the previous chapter, these environmental effects may
have a deleterious effect on a l l three classes of needs.
The danger presented by both a moving and a stationary
motor vehicle a f f e c t s safety i n both i t s physiological and
psychological senses. The effect of noise i s s i m i l a r l y
physiological and psychological. Fumes and pollutants
under certain conditions can have a serious e f f e c t on the
quality of the a i r we breathe, and. hence on the human body,
and at the same time a f f e c t the appearence of the environ-
ment. And the v i s u a l intrusion of the motor vehicle and
i t s paraphernalia can a f f e c t the psychological need for
c l a r i t y and for human scale.
In r e l a t i o n to the shopping street environment,
the motor vehicle c o n f l i c t s with the requirements for
safety and comfort. I t may well, however, serve to
heighten the f e e l i n g of a c t i v i t y and variety.
45
While Buchanan outlined these e f f e c t s , he did not
extend the general statement and attempt to formulate
environmental t r a f f i c standards which might be applied i n
planning s i t u a t i o n s a defect which he f r e e l y admits.
In the next chapter current research and viewpoints w i l l
be examined to determine a tentative series of t r a f f i c
standards which may then serve as the basis for further
research and review.
46
REFERENCES,
^Canadian Good Roads Association, Geometric Design
Committee, Manual of Geometric Design Standards (Ottawa:
The Association~1963) , Figure C2. 2, p. 5o .
2
I b i d .
3lbid., Table B l , p. 19.
^Ibid., Figure C2. 2, p. 66.
5Paul R i t t e r , Planning for Man and. Motor (Oxford:
Pergamon Press, 1964) , p. ~85.
^Frederick Gibberd, Town_Design ( 4th Edition;
London: The Architectural Press, 19&2T, p. 110.
7
See, for example, Jane Jacobs, The Death and L i f e
of Great American^Ci t i e s (New York: Random House, 1961) ,
Chapter XVIII, pp. 335- 371.
8
Buchanan, T r a f f i c In Towns, p. 23.
^National Safety Council, Accident Facts (Chicago:
The Council, 1967) , P. 3* Other p r i n c i p a l classes account-
ing for accidental deaths were Work: 10$; Home: 26$;
and Public:
1 0
I b i d . Work accidents accounted for 19$; Home: 42$;
and Public: 22$.
i l l b i d . , p. 41.
1 2
I b i d . , p. 50.
13
-'Great B r i t a i n , Committee on the Problem of Noise,
Flnal_ReEort (London: H.M.S.O., 1963) , P - 2 .
* ^ P h i l i p H. Beales, Noise, Hearing and Deafness
(London: Michael Joseph, 1 9 6 3 7 7 P 131*
1 5
I b i d . , p. 132.
^The decibel i s an international unit measuring the
intensity (loudness) of noise. I t i s based on a logarithmic
scale and involves the r a t i o of two i n t e n s i t i e s a standard
reference intensity (that just barely audible) and the inten-
s i t y being measured. Each lOdB increase corresponds to
an approximate doubling of loudness.
47
1 7
P h i l l p H. Beales, op. c i t . , pp. 132- 133.
1 8
I b i d . , p. 143.
eat B r i t a i n , Committee on the Problem of Noise,
qp. c i t . , p. 27.
2 0
I b i d . , p. 22.
2 1
I b l d . , Table 4, p. 24.
2 2
I b i d . , pp. 43 - 44.
2
3 l b i d . , p. 29.
2 i |
See Donald 0 . Anderson, "Effects of Air Contamin-
ation on Health," Paper A3-2, Background Papers prepared
f o r the_Natlonal Conference on~"Pollution. and_our Envlron-
ment".(Montreal: Canadian Council of Resource Ministers, 19&7) .
2
5Morris Katz, "Nature and Sources of A i r P o l l u t i o n , "
Paper A2-2, Background. Papers prepared for the National
Cqnference on "Pollution and^our_Envlronment
1 r
^Montreal:
Canadian Council of Resource Ministers, 1977> PP. 4 - 5 .
2 6
I b i d . , pp. 14- 31.
2 7
I b i d . , p. 28.
2 8
J o h n A. Maga, "Vehicular P o l l u t i o n Effects i n Urban
Development," Journal of the Urban Planning and Development
D i v i s i o n , Proceedings of the American Society of C i v i l
Engineers, XCIII, No. UP4 (December, 1 967) , 231 .
2 9
Ibid.., p. 239
3Morris Katz, qp_. c i t . , Tables 20 and 21 , p. 35.
3
x
Buchanan, Traffic_inJTqwns, p. 22.
CHAPTER IV
ENVIRONMENTAL TRAFFIC STANDARDS
Perspective.
Standards are a series of c r i t e r i a established for
measuring the excellence of quality i n components of a
community's structure. Those established by community
by-laws, or used for such planning purposes as c a l c u l a t i n g
the park acreage needed i n a p a r t i c u l a r area, most usually
take the form of minimum standards which have become recog-
nized as f u f i l l i n g a community's basic needs. Quite often,
however, these standards are based more on t r a d i t i o n and
a period of long use than on any current o b j e c t i v i t y , and
thus do not necessarily correspond to present conditions
and needs.
A form of standard which i s gaining increasing
acceptance i s the performance standard, which provides a
c r i t e r i o n for testing the degree of hazard or nuisance
created by certain a c t i v i t i e s .
1
For instance, high-rise
r e s i d e n t i a l buildings might be allowed to locate i n a
single-family r e s i d e n t i a l zone i f they met certain perform-
ance standards with regard to t h e i r effect on the sun-
l i g h t i n g , daylightlng, privacy, and amenity of the single-
family dwellings. Environmental t r a f f i c standards can
most conveniently be formulated i n terms of performance
48
49
c r i t e r i a , for the motor vehicle must be made to meet
c e r t a i n requirements i n r e l a t i o n to safety, noise, a i r
p o l l u t i o n , and v i s u a l intrusion i f the quality of the
environment i s to be preserved and. enhanced.
Any standards set must be based on sound, data and
objective research. The discussion i n Chapter III out-
lined, the most l i k e l y basis for formulating such standards.
Noise and. a i r p o l l u t i o n , for example, were shown to a f f e c t
human physiology i n a number of ways, and i f the l e v e l s at
which these effects begin to occur can be established, then
acceptable standards can be defined r e l a t i v e l y precisely.
But i t was also noted that the reaction to these effects
i s i n many cases individual and subjective, and that some
people are more sensitive than others. Therefore, to be
e f f e c t i v e , the standards r e l a t i n g to noise and. a i r p o l l u -
t i o n must be based on those groups of persons xiho are most
sensitive to noise and p o l l u t i o n e f f e c t s .
While the motor vehicle's effect on pedestrian
safety i s absolute i n terms of accidents, i t was also shown
that the effect was psychological i n terras of creating a
decrease i n the sense of security. Thus before a standard
can be established, some measure of this e f f e c t must be
defined. Such a measure w i l l be perhaps l e s s precise and.
more subjective than i n the case of p o l l u t i o n ; but i f a
large enough sample can be taken over which to analyse
behaviour patterns, then some degree of o b j e c t i v i t y can
be achieved.
50
The question of v i s u a l intrusion emerged as the
most subjective of the motor vehicle's environmental e f f e c t s ,
and i t may well prove impossible to establish any workable
standard. But i f we accept that the s i t u a t i o n i s at
present unsatisfactory, then some indications as to methods
of improvement can be made.
As a preface to further discussion, i t should be
noted that the environmental t r a f f i c standards formulated
below are not fine l i n e s that distinguish between good
and bad conditions. Rather, they indicate the approximate
point at which under some circumstances there may be
undesirable e f f e c t s .
Safety..
Inasmuch as accidents r e s u l t i n g from vehicle-vehicle
and vehicle-pedestrian c o n f l i c t are a negative indication of
the degree of safety In any environment, the primary basis
for any standard r e l a t i n g to safety i s that there should
be no motor vehicle accidents causing injury or death i n
any environment. This measure, however, f a i l s to take
into account the psychological element l n s a f e t y t h a t i s
that people, especially pedestrians, should f e e l safe as
well as be safe.
Vehicle-pedestrian c o n f l i c t takes place primarily
during the act of the pedestrian crossing the road at
or between intersections, and consequently the danger of
injury or death i s greatest at these points. Presumably
51
a pedestrian w i l l only cross the road when he believes i t
i s safe to do so. Studies have shown that t h i s judgement
i s a subjective impression of the degree of r i s k involved,
and that i t i s related to the speed and distance of on-
p
coming t r a f f i c .
. A study of a crossing on a. main road in a busy part
of Manchester, England, showed that when approaching
vehicles were 2.5 seconds or less away, only one person
out of the jSk who had the opportunity crossed; when the
vehicle was four or f i v e seconds away, about half the
people who could cross did so; and when the vehicle was
ten seconds or more away, pedestrians without exception
would cross the road.3 The d i s t r i b u t i o n for each time
i n t e r v a l was shown to conform closely to that expected, and
other studies c i t e d by the authors confirm t h e i r findings.
I t i s possible on the basis of t h i s data to formulate a
c r i t e r i o n which r e f l e c t s the psychological element i n
safety.
Based on the observed fact that pedestrians without
exception w i l l cross a road i f an on-coming vehicle i s
ten seconds or more away and on the requirement that a
pedestrian should be able to cross a street whenever he
wants to with a minimum of delay, and assuming a random
d i s t r i b u t i o n of vehicles t r a v e l l i n g along a street,
to establish a standard i t i s then necessary to determine
the volume of vehicles that w i l l give a certain probability
of a ten second gap occuring at any time. A 50 percent
52
probability i s assumed to be reasonable and practicable.
Using Poisson d i s t r i b u t i o n i t i s found that a volume of
252 vehicles per hour (vph) i n both directions w i l l give
a 50 percent l i k l i h o o d of no vehicles passing a p a r t i c u l a r
k
point during any ten second period. Thus i n the i d e a l
s i t u a t i o n and within the l i m i t i n g assumptions a volume
of 250 vph or below w i l l give a desirable l e v e l of safety
i n any environment i n r e l a t i o n to t r a f f i c . However, a
f i v e second vehicle gap, allowing half the pedestrians to
cross, might prove acceptable, and t h i s would give a volume
of 5 0
k
vph i n both directions along the street (rounded to
500 vph) as an acceptable l e v e l of safety.
Under these volume conditions i t i s anticipated that
the delay to those pedestrians who have to wait w i l l be
quite small. Tanner has shown that with an acceptance
gap of f i v e seconds and a volume of 288 vph i n both d i r e c t -
ions, there i s a 66 percent probability of not being
delayed, and. an 80 percent probability of not being delayed
longer than two seconds.*'
This standard would apply to a two-lane s i t u a t i o n ,
where the width of the road i s not a c r i t i c a l factor.
In the case of four lanes, with an increase of road width,
both the i d e a l and the acceptable volumes would need, to
be reduced to allow for the fact that the wider the road
the longer i t w i l l take to cross, and hence the longer the
required acceptance gap.
53
Although not based on the same approach, t h i s stand-
ard, for environmental safety i s comparable to Buchanan's,
and subsequent, calculations of environmental capacity.
Buchanan's approximate d e f i n i t i o n of environmental cap-
acity i n r e l a t i o n to a 22 foot carriageway was 250 passenger
car units (pcu) per hour."'
7
Subsequent research i n England
has shown environmental capacity to be approximately 500 pcu
per hour, with a desirable value of about 300 pcu per hour
o
where t h i s can be achieved i n an o v e r a l l design.
The v a l i d i t y of t h i s standard rests on i t s assump-
tions and on the data, which might not apply to the North
American s i t u a t i o n . Further research into pedestrian
behaviour patterns and the effect of non-random flow must
be carried out i n order to confirm or modify i t s applica-
b i l i t y . However, i t has been demonstrated that the creation
of a number of very short i n t e r v a l s and a few very long
i n t e r v a l s by s l g n a l i z a t i o n w i l l reduce the probability of
obtaining a short gap, but at the same time w i l l increase
the probability of long gaps, hence reducing the waiting
time for these.9
Noise.
In the previous chapter i t was established that
noise, especially t r a f f i c noise because of i t s ubiquity,
has a s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t on accelerating the decline of
hearing due to increasing age, and that continuous exposure
to excessive l e v e l s of noise i s l i k e l y to lead to permanent
54
deafness. A great deal of research has been undertaken
i n an attempt to define the l e v e l at which deafness i s
l i k e l y to occur, termed the c r i t i c a l sound l e v e l . The most
important factors believed to a f f e c t the capacity of a
noise to produce a hearing loss are i t s intensity (loudness),
spectrum (frequency range), time pattern, and. the duration
of the individual's exposure.10 The r i s k of damage to hear-
ing appears to be greatest for the sounds between 2,400
and 4,800 cycles per second ( c p s ) .
1 1
But due to the wide
range of i n d i v i d u a l s e n s i t i v i t y the c r i t i c a l sound l e v e l
has been d i f f i c u l t to define p r e c i s e l y .
The B r i t i s h Medical Association has stated that
continuous exposure throughout one's working l i f e to noise
whose intensity exceeds 85dB i n the speech frequencies
250- 4, 000 cps may cause permanent damage to h e a r i n g .
1 2
This, however, assumes that intensity i s the most important
TABLE 1
DAMAGE RISK LEVELS
(After Burns
and L i t t l e r )
Frequency band S.P.L. value
(cps) (dB)
37-5- 150 100
150- 300 90
300- 600 85
600-1200 85
1200-2400 80
2400-4800 80
Source: W.Burns and T . S . L i t t l e r
55
factor i n evaluating danger from noise; the consideration
of other factors would suggest a lower l e v e l . Burns and
L i t t l e r have established c r i t i c a l l e v e l s for various f r e -
quencies of broad band noise (see Table 1) based on expo-
sure experienced for an eight hour day, f i v e day week through-
out one's working lifetime.
1
-^ These indicate a c r i t i c a l
l e v e l of 80d.B i n the frequency range 1,200-4,800 cps,
increasing to lOOdB i n the frequency range 37.5-150 cps.
14
Noise from t r a f f i c f a l l s i n the low frequencies,
but the frequency spectrum of t r a f f i c noise would make
a standard based on Burns and. L i t t l e r ' s damage r i s k l e v e l s
excessively complicated. Furthermore, the liklihood. of
continuous exposure to these c r i t i c a l l e v e l s i n the urban
environment i s small. However, as with safety, the phys-
i c a l component i s supplemented by a psychological component,
which was defined i n Chapter III as annoyance or i r r i t a t i o n .
I f annoyance l e v e l s can be established, they would form
a more acceptable basis for defining a standard.
Through s o c i a l surveys i t i s possible to discover
how much noise people are prepared to stand, without serious
complaint, complaint being an Indication of annoyance.
Using such c r i t e r i a , the Wilson Committee i n England was
able to establish acceptable l e v e l s of noise i n dwellings
which should not be exceeded for more than ten percent of
the time. In busy urban areas these were set at 50dBA by
day, and. 35dBA by n i g h t .
1
^ For other types of buildings,
where speech communication i s important, and shops should.
56
be included i n t h i s category, i t was suggested that 55dBA
should not be exceeded.
1
^
Noise enters a building mainly through the windows,
or i n the case of shops through doors, and with f u l l y open
windows there i s a difference of 5dBA between i n t e r n a l
and external l e v e l s . With a partly open window the insu-
l a t i o n effect i s approximately lOdBA.
1 7
Assuming that
windows should be enabled to be at least partly open when
required, i t follows that an external sound l e v e l i n r e s i -
dential areas of 6 0 d B A and 45dBA by night should not be
exceeded for more than ten percent of the time i f accept-
able i n t e r n a l l e v e l s are to be achieved. In non-residential
areas higher noise l e v e l s may be permitted, and i n a comm-
e r c i a l area an external sound l e v e l of 650LBA would be an
acceptable standard on the above basis. It i s anticipated
that, because of d i f f e r e n t acoustical conditions, t h i s
l e v e l would not i n t e r f e r e with speech communication on
the street. I t should also be noted that the l e v e l com-
pares with the maximum noise l e v e l established by the Swiss
Anti-Noise Commission for commercial areas. 60dB by day
and 50dB by night, with infrequent peaks of ?5dB by day,
1 ft
are accepted as the maximum.
L O
A i r P o l l u t i o n .
In defining standards for the a i r p o l l u t i o n caused
by motor vehicles, i t must be recognized that this i s but
one part of the wider problem of community a i r p o l l u t i o n ,
57
and. that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to Isolate one group or several
groups of contaminants, l e t alone treat them i n d i v i d u a l l y .
While motor vehicles are the major source of carbon monox-
ide, and a s i g i f i c a n t source of hydrocarbons and oxides
of nitrogen, the t o t a l p o l l u t i o n problem i s very complex,
involving variable amounts of substances i n the atmosphere
from a variety of sources, that undergo as yet inadequately
understood reactions. Furthermore, due to cost factors
some degree of p o l l u t i o n i s at present inevitable, and
thus to formulate standards i t becomes necessary to define
acceptable l e v e l s of pollutants.
The physiological effects of p o l l u t i o n were d i s -
cussed i n the preceding chapter, and the standards should
be based on the l e v e l s of contaminants at which certain
specified effects begin to occur i n the most sensitive
groups of people. The net effect of pollutants depends on
a number of modifying factors, and cannot be r e l i a b l y pre-
dicted from the mere s p e c i f i c a t i o n of a concentration of
a pollutant at one place and at one time. The ambient
a i r quality standards for the State of C a l i f o r n i a , the only
comprehensive standards yet formulated i n North America,
are based on and supported by available, r e l i a b l e scien-
t i f i c data,*
9
and i t i s therefore reasonable to accept
these, at l e a s t on an interim basis, as applicable to the
current study.
The effects of p o l l u t i o n vary both i n kind and i n
severity, and the seriousness of the effect determines the
58
urgency of control. The C a l i f o r n i a Department of Public
Health recognizes three l e v e l s of e f f e c t s :
1) "adverse" l e v e l - the l e v e l at which there w i l l
be sensory i r r i t a t i o n , damage to vegetation,
reduction i n v i s i b i l i t y , or similar e f f e c t s ;
2) "serious" l e v e l - the l e v e l at which there w i l l
be the a l t e r a t i o n of bodily function or which
i s l i k e l y to lead to chronic disease;
3) "emergency** l e v e l - the l e v e l at which i t i s
l i k e l y that acute sickness or death i n sensi-
t i v e groups of people w i l l occur.
On the basis of these l e v e l s , the Department defines a
series of standards for ambient a i r quality. Of these,
two are related to motor vehicle p o l l u t a n t s :
2 1
a-) at the adverse l e v e l - "oxidant index" - 0. 15 parts
per m i l l i o n of a i r (ppm) for one hour by the
potassium iodide method;
2 2
b) at the serious l e v e l - carbon monoxide - JO ppm
for eight hours or 120 ppm for one hour (at
which l e v e l there occurs interference with oxygen
transport by blood).
There are as yet i n s u f f i c i e n t data to establish firm a i r
quality standards for oxides of nitrogen.
2
3
The oxidant index i s based on an empirical assoc-
i a t i o n of eye i r r i t a t i o n , plant damage, and photochemical
aerosol formulation with smog effects, and i s an i n d i r e c t
Indicator of the effects of p o l l u t i o n . It refers to sub-
59
stances, including hydrocarbons, which have t h e i r o r i g i n
i n photochemical reaction, and w i l l be used u n t i l adequate
procedures for the measurement of the individual substances
have been developed. In contrast, the carbon monoxide
standard represents a medical judgement of a l e v e l of
s i g n i f i c a n t impairment of bodily function i n a sensitive
segment of the population.
Visual Intrusion.
The question of v i s u a l intrusion i s very much a
matter of personal opinion, but to ignore the problem
because of this fact w i l l probably r e s u l t i n the destruct-
ion of many urban values. I t i s probably impossible
under the present state of knowledge to define standards
which can be agreed upon by a l l . This i s perhaps not
necessary, and i t may be more reasonable to base this
segment of the environmental standards on the
M
s e n s i b i l i t i e s
of an a e s t h e t i c a l l y i n t e l l i g e n t observer'", despite the
obvious d i f f i c u l t i e s i n defining such a person.
The application of the above environmental t r a f f i c
standards, especially that related to safety, would most
l i k e l y lead to a reduction of moving vehicles i n the environ-
ments to which they are applied. This leaves, however, the
continued i n t r u s i o n of parked vehicles. An i d e a l standard
would prohibit the use of streets for parking, and. r e t a i n
the space for the purposes of both vehicular and pedestrian
access and passage; but the inadequate provision of o f f - s t r e e t
60
parking i n existing environments makes t h i s impossible.
Nevertheless, considerations of both v i s u a l intrusion and
safety demand some reduction i n street parking, especially
i n commercial areas. In general, therefore, u n i l a t e r a l
p a r a l l e l parking only should be permitted, i n order both
to reduce the v i s u a l intrusion of the motor vehicle and
to ensure maximum i n t e r v i s i b i l i t y between driver and pedes-
t r i a n .
While i t may be possible to reduce the absolute
number of t r a f f i c signs, for reasons of safety they cannot
be allowed to merge into the environment. Greater atten-
t i o n must be paid to the p r i n c i p l e s of design, and. because
the messages of d i r e c t i o n a l and. regulatory signs frequently
involve safety, they should, therefore be simple, sure,
e f f e c t i v e , and understandable, and. located, where necessary
to protect and d i r e c t the general public. They might
also be used, to create or enhance a. f e e l i n g of v i t a l i t y ,
and. so further add to the urban scene. Special attention
must also be paid to the f i l l i n g station. Although the
motor vehicle has been In existence for over 60 years,
an a r c h i t e c t u r a l expression r e l a t e d to i t s needs and rhythm
of movement that at the same time does not destroy the
e x i s t i n g urban structure has yet to emerge.
Again, the problem of v i s u a l intrusion has cono-
tations wider than that of mere t r a f f i c . What i s p a r t i c -
u l a r l y needed i s a set of o v e r a l l v i s u a l c r i t e r i a that
can apply to the urban physical environment.
Summary_ of Environmental T r a f f i c Standards.
1. Safety:
a) primary basis--that there should be no motor
vehicle accidents causing injury or death;
b) a desirable volume of 250 vph, and an acceptable
volume of 500 vph i n both directions.
2. Noise:
a) an external sound l e v e l of 60dBA by day and 45dBA
by night i n r e s i d e n t i a l areas, and a l e v e l of
65d3A i n commercial areas, which should not be
exceeded for more than ten percent of the time.
3. Air P o l l u t i o n :
a) at the adverse l e v e l " o x i d a n t index"0. 15 PPm
for one hour by the potassium iodide method;
b) at the serious level--carbon monoxide--30 ppm
for eight hours or 120 ppm for one hour.
4. V i s u a l Intrusion:
a) u n i l a t e r a l p a r a l l e l parking.
62
REFERENCES.
F. Stuart Chapln, J r . , Urban Land Use Planning
(2nd Edition; Urbana: University of I l l i n o i s Press, I965),
P. 378.
o
''John Cohen, E. J . Dearnaley, and C. E. M. Hansel,
"The Risk taken i n crossing a Road," i n William Haddon, J r . ,
Edward A. Suchman, and David Klein (eds.), Accident Research
(New York: Harper and Row, 1964), pp. 347- 351.
3 l b i d . , p. 348.
^Total number of vehicles = T vph
Selected safe acceptance gap = 10 sees.
.-.Xt = '
r
/3600 vpsec x 10 sees. =
T
/360
By Poisson
p[ 0,
T
/360] = 0. 5
i . e .
T
/360 = 0. 7
T = 0. 7 x 36O = 252 vph
5 j . C. Tanner, "The Delay to Pedestrians crossing
a Road," Biometrika, XXXVIII, Parts 3 and 4 (December, 1951) ,
Figure 2, p. 39T.
6Environmental capacity denotes the maximum acceptable
flow of vehicles having regard of the need to maintain
environmental q u a l i t y . Buchanan, T r a f f 1 c__ln Towns, p.221.
7Buchanan, Traffic_in_Towns, p. 204.
o
Ernest H. Doubleday, " T r a f f i c i n a Planned Environ-
ment," T r a f f i c Quarterly, XX, No. 2 ( A p r i l , 1966) , 184.
Passenger car units are a measure of t r a f f i c volume which
considers various types of vehicle l n terms of the equiva-
lent number of passenger cars. The equivalents w i l l d i f f e r
according to the layout of the section of the highway
system under consideration, but for general purposes buses,
for example, are rated as 3*0 peu. Buchanan, T r a f f i c i n
Towns, p. 221.
^Karl Moskowitz, "Waiting for a Gap i n a T r a f f i c
Stream," Highway Research Board, Proceedings of the 3 3
r d
Annual Meeting (Washington: National Academy of Sciences -
National Research Council, 1954) , p. 393.
1 0
P h i l i p H. Beales, Nolse
t
Hearing and Deafness
(London: Michael Joseph, 196"5l, p. 168.
63
"K. P. H. Murrell, Ergonomics (London: Chapman and
H a l l , 1965), P. 283.
12philip H. Beales, op. c i t . , p. 163.
13
W. Burns, and T. S. L i t t l e r , "Noise," i n B. S. F.
S c h i l l i n g (ed.), Modern Trends in Occupational Health
(London: Butterworth and Co., I950~T> P. 25'3.
^See, for example, G. L. Bonvallet, "Levels and
Spectra of T r a f f i c , I n d u s t r i a l , and Residential Area Noise,"
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, XXIII, No. 4
TJul y, 195lT7~
I
*
:
35-^39.
eat B r i t a i n , Committee on the Problem of Noise,
F i n a l Report (London: H. M. S . O. , 1963), p. 32. The dBA unit,
T
A
T
weighted decibels, represents the sound pressure so
weighted as to correspond more closely to the frequency
response of the human ear.
1 6
I b i d . , p. 33.
1
7l b i d . , p. 3-+.
1 8
0 . Schenker-Sprflngli, "Down with Decibels,"
Unesco Courier, XX, No. 7 (July, 1967) P. 7.
^ C a l i f o r n i a , Department of Public Health, Technical
Report of C a l i f o r n i a Standards for Ambient A i r Quality and
Motor Vehicle Exhaust iBerkeley: 196"0j.
2 0
I ^ i d . , pp. 13-14.
2 1
I b i d . , Table 1, p. 15.
22The potassium iodide method i s based on the absorp-
t i o n of oxidant from the a i r i n an a l k i l i n e solution of
potassium iodide. On a c i d i f i c a t i o n , iodine i s l i b e r a t e d
from a buffered, neutral potassium iodide solution. The l i g h t
transmittancy of the yellow solution that i s obtained i s
measured with the aid of a double-cell cblourimeter, and
continuously recorded on a s t r i p chart. See Morris B. Jacobs,
The Chemical Analysis of Air_Pollutants (New York: Inter-
science Publishers, I 960T, pp. 219-226" and p. 400.
^ C a l i f o r n i a , Department of Public Health, op. c i t . ,
Chapter IX, "Nitrogen Oxides," pp. 79-80.
2
^Christopher Tunnard, and Boris Pushkarev,
Man-Made America: Chaos or Control (New Haven: Yale Uni-
v e r s i t y Press, 1963), p. 35.
CHAPTER V
CASE STUDY
Introduction.
A series of interim standards for the four major
environmental effects of the motor vehicle were developed
i n Chapter IV. In this chapter a p a r t i c u l a r environment
i s examined i n the l i g h t of these standards. This has
a two-fold purpose. F i r s t , to test the hypothesis that
environmental t r a f f i c standards can be applied to a part-
i c u l a r environment to determine whether the quality of
that environment i s above or below that suggested by the
standards; and i f the quality should be below, to suggest
methods by which i t might be enhanced.. Second, to examine
the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the standards themselves, to analyse
such defects as they might have, and to indicate ways i n
which they might be improved.
The p a r t i c u l a r environment chosen for the case study
examination i s the Kerrisdale shopping d i s t r i c t i n the City
of Vancouver. This i s a t y p i c a l example of a shopping
street, stretching for approximately six blocks along West
klst Avenue, a major east-west a r t e r i a l street, between
Maple and Larch Streets. It i s a well-established shopping
area, comprised, of a wide variety of stores of both a l o c a l
65
L A N D U S E
K E Y
Commercial
Automotive
Parking
Residential
Institutional
Crosswalk

i
-1 I .
67
and a regional nature, and immediately surrounded by a pre-
dominantly low-rise and, high-rise apartment area.
The case study i s only concerned with that segment of
the shopping street as defined on north and south by the
shop facades, on the east by the most westerly crosswalk
at the 4 l s t Avenue and West Boulevard intersection, and on
the west by the most easterly crosswalk at the 4 l s t Avenue
and Larch Street i n t e r s e c t i o n . The o v e r a l l v i s u a l impress-
ion along the street i s one of heterogeneity. The arrange-
ment of stores i s very much the r e s u l t of growth by acretion,
such that there i s a mixture of old and. new buildings.*
In general the stores are i n an above-average state of
repair, and. t h i s implies a prosperous and popular shopping
area. The roadway throughout i s 46 feet i n width, with
two travelled, lanes, and. eight foot parking lanes on both
sides. In the block immediately west of the Boulevard
the shop facades are mostly two-storey, and t h i s combined
with the width of the roadway and the sidewalks gives a
sense of enclosure and intimacy. I t also serves to heighten
the f e e l i n g of a c t i v i t y along this part of the street.
This contrasts with the remainder of the street, where the
facades are predominantly one-storey and set further back
from the curb, thus giving a greater sense of openness,
which i s accentuated i n the most westerly block by f i l l -
ing stations.
Time and resources did not allow a f u l l - s c a l e
analysis of the environment i n the l i g h t of the environ-
68
mental t r a f f i c standards over a long period of time and
under a variety of conditions. The results obtained are
therefore subject to t h i s l i m i t a t i o n . Two periods were
chosen i n which to test the standards for safety and noise.
These were a Thursday and a Saturday afternoon, the former
being taken to I l l u s t r a t e "normal" weekday conditions, and
the l a t t e r the expected period of peak shopping a c t i v i t y .
V i s u a l intrusion, though not exactly temporal i n nature,
was evaluated, during the same periods.
It was decided not to attempt to examine the stand-
ards for a i r q u a l i t y . The equipment necessary i s r e l a t i v e l y
sophisticated. At the same time the a i r p o l l u t i o n problem
i s community-wide i n character and cannot be adequately
reduced to a point l o c a t i o n . It would therefore only be
meaningful to consider t h i s on a comprehensive and c i t y -
wide basis. However, odour and smoke effects were noted,
from individual vehicles during both the test periods.
Safety.
The primary basis for the standard for safety i s
that there should be no motor vehicle accidents causing
injury or death i n the environment. An analysis of a c c i -
dent data (Table 2) compiled by the T r a f f i c Division of
the City of Vancouver Engineering Department for the f i v e
intersections within the length of the shopping street
shows that over the l a s t three years a t o t a l of 83 a c c i -
dents have occured. Only two of these d i r e c t l y involved
69
TABLE 2
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS AT INTERSECTIONS
ALONG 41st AVENUE, KERRISDALE,
JANUARY, 1965 - MARCH, I968.
Location Rear Angle
H o
/ T u r n Swiped Backup Fed. Total
West Boulevard. 18 8 4 2 1
-
33
Yew
10 3 1 1
-
1 16
Vine
9
- . - - -
. 9
Balsam
4 4 1 2 1

12
Larch
4 6 1 1 - 1
13
Total
45
21
7
6 2 2
83
Percent
54. 2 25. 3 8. 5 7. 2 2. 4 2. 4 100
Source: T r a f f i c Division, Department of Engineering,
City of Vancouver.
a pedestrian, and of the remainder just over one half were
rear-end c o l l i s i o n s . U n t i l the Spring of I967 the pedes-
t r i a n crosswalks, with the exception of those at the Boule-
vard, were a l l uncontrolled, and It i s therefore l i k e l y
that a proportion of the rear-end. c o l l i s i o n s can be a t t r i b -
uted to pedestrians crossing the road. No data were a v a i l -
able on mid-block accidents.
Data for the remainder of the City indicate that
the number of accidents along this shopping street i s
comparable to other shopping streets i n Vancouver, notably
the East Hastings, West 4t h Avenue, and South Granville
shopping d i s t r i c t s .
2
Kerrisdale and these three other
locations are recognized by the T r a f f i c Division as being
major hazard areas. Although only two pedestrian a c c i -
dents have taken place i n the l a s t three years, the number
70
of rear-end c o l l i s i o n s suggests that there i s a degree of
c o n f l i c t between vehicles and pedestrians, and. that the
l e v e l of pedestrian safety i s not of a high order. It i s
also perhaps s i g n i f i c a n t to note i n passing that the pedes-
t r i a n activated, signal introduced within the l a s t year at
the i n t e r s e c t i o n of Yew Street and 4 l s t Avenue was not
i n s t a l l e d for reasons of pedestrian safety, but at the
request of B.C. Hydro Transit Division to reduce delay' to
t r a n s i t vehicles caused by the heavy flow of pedestrians
across the road.3
The second, part of the standard for safety suggests
that, to achieve a desirable l e v e l of pedestrian safety i n
crossing the road, a t r a f f i c volume of 250 vph should not
be exceeded; and to achieve an acceptable l e v e l , a volume
of 500 vph should not be exceeded. To test t h i s counts
were made of t r a f f i c volumes i n f i v e minute units through-
out the two test periods. The r e s u l t s are shown i n Tables
3 and 4, and graphically In Figures 1 and 2.
There are wide fluctuations between f i v e minute
units on the Thursday (Figure 1), with pronounced peaks
around 3. ^5 pm and 5. 00 pm. S l i g h t l y less pronounced
fluctuations occur on the Saturday (Figure 2) , but again
a peak occurs around 5. 00 pm. Hourly volumes on the l a t t e r
occasion are much higher, a probable r e s u l t of a high
degree of shopping a c t i v i t y i n the Kerrisdale and neigh-
bouring shopping d i s t r i c t s .
71
TABLE 3
SOUND LEVEL AND TRAFFIC VOLUMES,
THURSDAY EXAMPLE.
5 Min. Period Mean Sound Vehicles/ Hourly
Beginning Level dBA 5 Min. Volumes
2. 00 64 93
2. 05 63 89
2. 10 62 70
2.15 60 65
2. 20 61 77
2. 25 62 59
2. 30 64 72
2. 35 63 55
2. 40 64 63
2. 45 61 74
2. 50 60 67
2. 55 62 65
849
3. 00
63 77
3. 05 68 71
3. 10
64 83
3.15 67 86
3. 20 62
68
3. 25 66 80
3. 30
67 77
3. 35 66 79
3. 40 66 89
3. 45 66 100
3. 50 67 85
3. 55 . 65 88
983
4. 00
65 77
4. 05 63
81
4. 10 61
67
4. 15
61 70
4. 20 60
84
4. 25
62 76
4. 30 62
73
4. 35
63 81
4. 40
62 92
4. 45
62
93
4. 50 62 96
4. 55 63
76
966
72
Fig.1.Sound Level and Traffic Volume/ Thursday Example.
o
o
o
CD
O
00
O
o
*~ -suiuu aA^/sspj qeA- vaP I
3
*
3
! punos U E B H
1 1
1
1
1
i
Ul
cu
o
tz
u
JC
o
V)
>
73
TABLE 4
SOUND LEVEL AND TRAFFIC VOLUMES,
SATURDAY EXAMPLE.
5 Min. P e r i o d Mean Sound V e h i c l e s / Hourly
Beginning L e v e l d.BA 5 Min. Volumes
2.00 86
2.05
66 81
2.10 66
83
2.15 67 83
2.20
65
84
2.25
66 101
2.30
66
87
2.35 65 83
2.40
63
98
2.45 64
99
2.50
68
95
2.55
64
75
1055
3.00
66
85
3.05 66 93
3.10 63 87
3.15
64
89
3.20 67 75
3.25 66
84
3.30 65 71
3.35 65 91
3.40 65 91
3.45 65 92
3.50 67
81
3.55 65 90
1029
4.00
65 93
4.05
64
96
4.10 66
97
4.15
66 101
4.20 62 86
4.25
68 88
4.30 67 91
4.35
64
90
4.40 62
97
4.45 64 86
4.50 63 115
4.55 63
104
1144
60
sound
vehi cl es
2.00 3.00 4.00
T i me - p m
5.00
75
On both occasions hourly volumes were well above
the acceptable l e v e l for pedestrian safety as defined by
the standard, and this indicates that this p a r t i c u l a r
environment has a r e l a t i v e l y low l e v e l of environmental
safety i n r e l a t i o n to t r a f f i c . In order to achieve an
acceptable l e v e l i t would be necessary to reduce t r a f f i c
TABLE 5
HOURLY TRAFFIC VOLUMES AND
REQUIRED REDUCTIONS.
Time Volume Required Reduction Percent Reduction
Acc. Des. Acc.~ Des.
Thursday
2. 00-3. 00 84-9 349 599 41 71
3. 00-4. 00 983 483 733 49 75
4. 00-5. 00 966 466 716 48 74
Saturday
2. 00-3. 00 1055 555 805 53 76
3. 00-4. 00 1029 529 779 51 76
4. 00-5. 00 1144 644 894 55 78
flow along the shopping street by approximately 40 to 50
percent i n the Thursday example, and by 50 to 55 percent
i n the Saturday example (Table 5) . To achieve a desirable
l e v e l i t would be necessary to reduce the flow by approx-
imately 75 percent i n both cases.
It i s estimated that approximately 70 percent of the
t r a f f i c t r a v e l l i n g along 41st Avenue at t h i s point during
weekdays i s through t r a f f i c , '
4
' and thus has neither o r i g i n
or destination i n the area. I f this t r a f f i c could, be
removed, then the desirable l e v e l of safety could almost
be achieved. It i s l i k e l y , however, that through t r a f f i c
76
represents a smaller proportion of the t o t a l In the Sat-
urday example, and thus alternative measures must be
adopted i f the quality of the environment i s to be increased.
The l o c a t i o n of parking l o t s behind the shopping street
within easy walking distance might be an e f f e c t i v e measure
combined with r e s t r i c t i o n s on through t r a f f i c and non-
essential vehicles i f the l o t s can be integrated struct-
u r a l l y into the surrounding r e s i d e n t i a l environment.
Such "solutions" are essentially short run, however.
Even i f through t r a f f i c could, be diverted from hist Avenue
onto, say, 37th Avenue and.
k
5 t h Avenue, and only l o c a l
t r a f f i c allowed to penetrate Into the shopping d i s t r i c t ,
the increased flow along these l a t t e r streets would undoubt-
edly lower the environmental quality of the r e s i d e n t i a l
areas through which i t would pass. This i l l u s t r a t e s the
dilemma with which planners are faced i n attempting to
Improve environmental quality, and the absolute need, for
a comprehensive approach. In the long run, stop-gap meas-
ures are no answer, and i t must be recognized that the
present urban structure i s inadequate i n terms of our
present and future needs and desires.
The approach adopted in formulating t h i s standard,
f o r safety rests largely on theoretical considerations.
I t was based primarily on pedestrian^acceptance gaps i n a
random Stream of vehicles, and on the assumption that the
pedestrian should be free to cross the road with the mini-
mum of delay at any time. These conditions, however, are
77
r a r e l y to be obtained, and, moreover, observations i n the
case study area tend, to question the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the
delay concept. This i s only r e l e v a n t to the standard i f
i t can be proved that delay i s a s i g n i f i c a n t - f a c t o r to the
p e d e s t r i a n .
The crosswalk s i t u a t e d at the centre of g r a v i t y of
the shopping s t r e e t (Yew Street and 4 l s t Avenue) i s con-
t r o l l e d by a p e d e s t r i a n a c t i v a t e d s i g n a l . While t h i s
increases the p h y s i c a l safety of the p e d e s t r i a n , i t does so
by i n t e r r u p t i n g both the flow of v e h i c l e s and pedestrians.
The average delay occasioned to pedestrians who have to wait
i s approximately 20 seconds, f a r greater than the accept-
able average delay of two seconds used by Buchanan.-?
I t then becomes a question of determining i f t h i s amount
of delay i s i n f a c t annoying to the p e d e s t r i a n .
I t i s suggested that delay i s not s i g n i f i c a n t to
the average p e d e s t r i a n . The standard, as formulated does
not take i n t o account the e f f e c t of s o c i e t a l c o n d i t i o n i n g :
that i s that the North American p e d e s t r i a n i s conditioned
to wait f o r the "walk" s i g n a l before c r o s s i n g . This becomes
accepted and thus delay becomes r e l a t i v e l y unimportant.
However, more research must be undertaken on the question
of p e d e s t r i a n delay, and i f I t does prove to be unimportant,
a s a t i s f a c t o r y l e v e l of safety i n c r o s s i n g the road may
then be achieved, at l e a s t i n the short run, by c o n t r o l l e d
p e d e s t r i a n crosswalks, r a t h e r than by reducing t r a f f i c flow.
Nevertheless, t h i s does not l e s s e n the d e s i r a b i l i t y i n
78
environments which are primarily pedestrian for freedom of
movement and the a b i l i t y to cross the road with the mini-
mum of delay at any time, and for freedom from danger or
r i s k . And i n existing environments, where the cost of
separating t r a f f i c from pedestrians i s most often pro-
h i b i t i v e , this can only be attained by reducing t r a f f i c flow.
Noise.
Measurements of the sound l e v e l i n * A* weighted
decibels were taken during the two test periods with a
type 1551-B sound l e v e l meter manufactured by the General
Radio Company. The measurement point was situated just
east of the most easterly crosswalk at Yew Street and 4 l s t
Avenue, and at the curb. It was not possible to obtain a
suitable graphic recorder; accordingly, readings were
taken at 30 second i n t e r v a l s and converted into a mean
value f o r f i v e minute periods corresponding to the t r a f f i c
counts. This gives an i n d i c a t i o n of the o v e r a l l sound
climate. The data are again presented i n Tables 3 and 4,
and i n Figures 1 and 2.
The standard suggested that the sound l e v e l i n a
commercial area should not exceed 65&BA for more than ten
percent of the time. In the Thursday example (Figure 1)
the mean sound l e v e l exceeded 65&BA for approximately 23
percent of the time over the t o t a l three hour period, but
remained below that l e v e l for the periods 2. 00- 3. 00 pm
and 4. 00- 5. 00 pm. The Saturday example (Figure 2) shows
79
g e n e r a l l y higher readings, as might be expected with the
higher t r a f f i c flows, but l e s s f l u c t u a t i o n between f i v e
minute u n i t s . The sound l e v e l exceeded the standard, f o r
approximately 49 percent of the time throughout the t o t a l
p e r i o d . The JO second readings show frequent peaks due to
a c c e l e r a t i n g v e h i c l e s , predominantly trucks and. small
European c a r s . The measurements i n d i c a t e that the environ-
ment i s not s a t i s f a c t o r y with regard, to sound l e v e l .
Figure 1 tends to demonstrate that sound l e v e l i n
general v a r i e s with the volume of t r a f f i c . Using the data
c o l l e c t e d i n the two t e s t periods, sound l e v e l (measured
i n terms of the f i v e minute means) was p l o t t e d against
v e h i c l e s (per f i v e minutes) on a graph, and a r e g r e s s i o n
l i n e c a l c u l a t e d (Figure 3). Further a n a l y s i s showed that
the c o e f f i c i e n t of determination ( r
2
) was 7*8 p e r c e n t
i n o t h e r words that the r e g r e s s i o n e x p l a i n s only 7.8 per-
cent of the " t o t a l e r r o r " ( t o t a l sum of squares) i n the
sound l e v e l . This i s a very weak c o r r e l a t i o n and suggests
t h a t , i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r i n s t a n c e , sound l e v e l i s not
s t r i c t l y related, to the volume of t r a f f i c , but to the con-
d i t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l v e h i c l e s as they pass. The con-
t i n u a l stopping and s t a r t i n g of the t r a f f i c stream tends
to r a i s e the general sound c l i m a t e , and to produce f r e -
quent peaks of noise w e l l above 6 5 d B A .
This leads to the perhaps p a r a d o x i c a l conclusion
t h a t , w i t h i n c e r t a i n l i m i t s , the sound l e v e l could prob-
ably be reduced to the acceptable l e v e l by measures designed
80
81
to even out the flow of t r a f f i c . However, l t was noted,
during the test periods that under conditions approaching
free flow with a moderately heavy t r a f f i c volume the sound
climate was approximately 68-70dBA. Studies i n England
have shown that on roads with a 30 m.p.h. speed l i m i t , the
noise l e v e l r i s e s appreciably with increasing t r a f f i c for
Fig.4.Noise and Traffic Density.
0 500 1000 1500 2 0 0 0
Total Traffic vph
Source- Greater London Council, Traffic Noise.
2500 3000
densities below about 1, 200 vph. Above this figure the
noise l e v e l r i s e s very l i t t l e (Figure 4) . The 65&BA l e v e l
i s attained at a l i t t l e over 500 vph. This, however, i s a
mean l e v e l , and i t would therefore be necessary to r e s t r i c t
vehicle flow to a lower volume i n order to achieve the
standard. Further research would be needed, to establish
82
t h i s volume, hut i t might be expected to work out at about
300-400 vph.
This standard has many of the same implications for
planning remedial measures as does that for safety. I t
would, seem that i f through t r a f f i c could be removed, then
an acceptable sound, l e v e l could be attained. This i s prob-
ably the only p r a c t i c a l "solution" as far as the existing
environment i s concerned, for the physical alterations
necessary to reduce sound l e v e l s would, be p r o h i b i t i v e and
u n r e a l i s t i c . But again, the diversion of t r a f f i c i s merely
s h i f t i n g the problem to another environment. An alternative
would be to treat the source of the problem rather than
the symptoms, and. devise more e f f e c t i v e methods of reducing
actual vehicle noise.
Visual Intrusion.
With the exception of bus and loading zones, i n t e r -
sections and. driveways, throughout both test periods parked,
vehicles l i n e d both sides of the roadway along the length
of the shopping street and s p i l l e d over into the surround-
ing r e s i d e n t i a l area. Thus from t h i s t h i r d point of view
the quality of the environment f a l l s below the standard,
as established. Directional and regulatory signs, however,
were not v i s u a l l y oppressive. This i s not to say that they
are acceptable. I t could as easily mean that they are not
performing an e f f e c t i v e function, or that they are being
overpowered by more dominant shop signs. Moreover, as was
83
noted previously, the use of good design can enable signs
to create, or add to, a sense of v i t a l i t y .
The standard for v i s u a l intrusion suggested that
parking should, be allowed on only one side of the street.
To achieve t h i s l t would be necessary to provide additional
parking space within easy walking distance of the shopping
s t r e e t . At present l i t t l e space i s provided i n the lanes
behind the stores, and i t i s l i k e l y that these cannot accom-
odate more space. The alternative i s again to provide o f f -
street parking behind the shopping street. In fact two
grade-level l o t s have been b u i l t immediately south of the
shopping street i n the block just west of the Boulevard.
However, such l o t s must be integrated into the r e s i d e n t i a l
environment.
84
REFERENCES,
Community and Regional Planning Studies, Student
Project No. 6, Sub-Urban Centres: The Case of the Dunbar
D i s t r i c t (Vancouver: University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1966) ,
P. 23.
i n t e r v i e w with H. Crawford, T r a f f i c Division,
Department of Engineering, City of Vancouver, March 29, 1968.
3l nt er v i ew with R. Boyes, T r a f f i c Division, Depart-
ment of Engineering, City of Vancouver, November 22, I 968.
^Estimated on the basis of interzonal flows tabu-
l a t e d l n Vancouver, B.C., A Study of Highway Planning,
Technical Report No. 2, Analysis and Forecast of Motor
Vehicle Travel (Vancouver: 1959) , Tables 13A and 13B.
5Buchanan, T r a f f i c i n Towns, p. 204.
6Greater London Council, T r a f f i c Noise (London:
The Council, I 966) , p. 6.
CHAPTER VI
REVIEW
The case study presented i n Chapter V has shown
that environmental t r a f f i c standards can be applied to a
p a r t i c u l a r environment to determine whether the quality of
that environment i s above or below that suggested by the
standards. The application of three of the four standards
to the Kerrisdale shopping d i s t r i c t demonstrated that i n
terms of safety, noise, and v i s u a l intrusion the quality
of that environment f a l l s below that suggested i n each case.
I t i s also apparent from the case study that any
attempt to improve the quality of the urban environment
would require a t o t a l l y comprehensive approach throughout
the whole metropolitan area, and that simple repair jobs
to existing environments w i l l not s i g n i f i c a n t l y enhance
environmental q u a l i t y . Measures designed to remove non-
essential t r a f f i c from certain environments only serve to
transfer the problems to others. Further, we are faced
with a legacy of buildings and urban form representing the
f i n a n c i a l and. s o c i a l investment of many decades. While t h i s
form i s c l e a r l y inadequate i n the environmental terms d i s -
cussed i n t h i s study, the physical changes needed to a l l e v i a t e
the problems only in part w i l l be p r o h i b i t i v e . Yet, can we
afford not to Improve the quality of the environment when
85
86
human health and well-being i s at stake? I f we are to main-
t a i n a certain l e v e l of a c c e s s i b i l i t y and a certain stand-
ard of environment, t h i s w i l l ultimately mean some major
s t r u c t u r a l alterations to the urban form as Buchanan demon-
strated. This w i l l become increasingly c r i t i c a l i f car-
ownership and car-use r i s e to expected proportions.
1
The four environmental t r a f f i c standards presented
i n t h i s study are a f i r s t step towards preserving and enhan-
cing environmental q u a l i t y . However, the case study revealed
c e r t a i n defects i n the standards themselves. The importance
of delay to the pedestrian crossing the road must be estab-
l i s h e d by further research, and the standard for safety may
have to be revised by such findings. The v a l i d i t y of a 50
percent probability must also be further examined, together
with the effect on gap lengths of a non-random stream of
t r a f f i c . While i t may be possible to improve pedestrian
safety i n existing environments by means other than by re-
ducing t r a f f i c volume, t h i s In no way questions the fact
that freedom of movement i s a necessary quality i n situations
which are primarily pedestrian. Under such circumstances the
standard remains v a l i d , and should be applied to a l l future
development following the present type of urban form.
The standard for v i s u a l intrusion i s f e l t to be the weakest
of the three, and the review of the l i t e r a t u r e and the case
study tend to question whether standards for t h i s effect can
indeed, be defined. Intrusion i s more a question of design,
education, and awareness, and. of eventually applying a body
87
of research from such f i e l d s as perception to resolving con-
f l i c t s . The standard for noise would appear to be generally
adequate on the basis of the case study. But further research
i s needed to confirm or modify the noise l e v e l s leading to
annoyance i n the North American context, and to examine a l t e r -
native methods of reducing engine noise and. the effects of,
for example, various road, surface materials and. screening
on noise l e v e l s .
There would appear to be a l i n k between safety, noise
and v i s u a l intrusion, and t r a f f i c volumes. A further step
i s therefore to attempt to establish this l i n k more strongly,
and possibly reduce the three standards to one common stand-
ard based on acceptable or desirable t r a f f i c volumes i n a
given s i t u a t i o n . This would give the added advantage of a
common approach and reduce the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of treating only
one effect and increasing the nuisance of the others.
Attempts to reduce noise i n an environment by evening out
the t r a f f i c flow might conceivably adversely a f f e c t safety
by increasing t r a f f i c volumes. Because of the diverse fac-
tors that influence p o l l u t i o n l e v e l s , i t i s less l i k e l y that
t h i s fourth standard can be subsumed into an o v e r a l l t r a f f i c
standard.
The case study applied three of the standards to one
environment over a l i m i t e d time period. While the results
obtained are f e l t to r e f l e c t the normal afternoon situation,
quite d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s would be obtained at other times and
under d i f f e r e n t conditions. The study must now be extended
88
to cover a range of situations and conditions. Such analyses
should be more comprehensive than the present study and make
use of more sophisticated data gathering systems on a 2
k
-hour
monitoring basis over extended periods. I t w i l l then be poss-
i b l e to make comparisons between similar types of environ-
ment. At the same time the study should be extended to cover
the other types of micro-environment, and to formulate not
only environmental t r a f f i c standards but also other perform-
ance c r i t e r i a to measure the hazard or nuisance from other
effects i n these environments. I t would then be possible to
undertake comprehensive environmental studies of p a r t i c u l a r
environments.
The approach followed i n formulating the standards i s
f e l t to be generally v a l i d . Environment i s a broad area of
concern which involves a range of separate, but complementary,
d i s c i p l i n e s . The p o s s i b i l i t i e s of planners undertaking exten-
sive research into i t s many facets are small, and to tackle
the problems adequately i t i s therefore necessary to borrow
from the existing body of research i n associated f i e l d s .
Apart from the standards themselves, however, the study
has raised certain areas f o r research i n which planners must
take a part although they extend beyond the confines of
"planning". A typology of man's basic needs was presented,
i n Chapter I I . This l i s t must become more refined and exten-
ded, and the needs better analyzed; the ways i n which these
are affected by culture must be examined, together with the
means by which t h i s approach can be incorporated into the
0
8 9
planning process. Chapter II also pointed, to the need, for
more research into the relationship between man and. his phys-
i c a l environment, p a t i c u l a r l y i n the f i e l d s of environmental
perception and. mental health, and. the question of human scale.
On a wider scale, the l a t t e r stages of the study have
r a i s e d three other major areas for research. Although the
widespread a l t e r a t i o n of existing environments i s u n r e a l i s t i c ,
we are i n danger of perpetuating present conditions i n future
developments unless we develop alternative urban forms,
coupled with new network patterns. While new modes of move-
ment may lessen the environmental impact of t r a f f i c , more
research could be conducted into ways of reducing movement,
and hence t r a f f i c , through land, use planning.
Some problems of adoption and. implementation have
also been made apparent, but i t i s hoped, that these w i l l be
resolved by further research and education. It has' been
shown that acceptable noise and p o l l u t i o n l e v e l s can be de-
f i n e d with a r e l a t i v e l y high degree of precision, and such
l e v e l s have been adopted by govermental bodies i n Great B r i t -
ain, West Germany, Switzerland, and the United States as the
basis for regulations. Again, i f safety i n the environment
i s e x p l i c i t l y recognized by public bodies as a necessary
objective, a more precise standard can be defined. The reg-
u l a t i o n and control of aesthetics, however, i s l e g a l l y d i f f i -
c u l t , highly complex, and. of dubious public acceptance. It
would therefore seem that a better approach would, be to stimu-
l a t e public concern and s o l i c i t voluntary action than to
attempt to formulate standards.
90
This study has perforce considered only a small seg-
ment of the t o t a l environmental problem, and has properly
r a i s e d more questions than l t has answered. I t has shown that
t r a f f i c i s a serious environmental problem, and that the mix-
ture of people and vehicles at the present l e v e l s i s not con-
ducive to good environment. In the f i n a l analysis and under
the present conditions of physical layout, the two dimensions
of the t r a f f i c p r o b l e m a c c e s s i b i l i t y and environmental qual-
i t y a r e v i r t u a l l y i r r e c o n c i l a b l e . The increasing demand for
better access as more vehicles crowd, the e x i s t i n g network of
roads w i l l ultimately lead to a progressive lowering of en-
vironmental quality unless some dramatic steps are taken i n
the d i r e c t i o n of a new urban form and alternative modes of
movement.
The quality of the environment i s of c r i t i c a l import-
ance i f we are to plan for human health and. well-being. The
costs of human deterioration are immeasurably greater than
purely economic considerations. Planners, and especially
transportation planners, must recognize that t r a f f i c i s not
all-important, and that the primary concern i s how people
l i v e . There i s no sense i n planning for t r a f f i c without
planning as intensively for people's other needs.
REFERENCES.
iThe rate of growth i n Canada's motor vehicle pop-
u l a t i o n was 7. 9 percent annually between 19
k
5 and. I 965.
I t i s predicted that there w i l l be a further 60 percent r i s e
by 1980 to 11 m i l l i o n vehicles, or 2. 3 persons per vehicle.
Economic Council of Canada, Fourth Annual Review (Ottawa:
The Queen's Printer, 1967) , P. 199.
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