Road Architecture Hardware and Traffic Qualities in Urban Areas. Some Polish Research and Experiences
Each traffic system includes the following two interdependent components that form the traffic architecture or road architecture: the traffic environment in its constructional and functional form, i.e. traffic hardware or static road architecture like roadways, sidewalks, buildings or trees (in brief: road architecture in the strict sense); man as the traffic subject (e.g. the pedestrian, cyclist, driver or passenger) i.e. traffic software or kinetic road traffic architecture (in brief: man in traffic). There are two reasons at least that provoke reflection upon the relations between transportation infrastructure and traffic qualities in Polish urban areas: according to actual percentage relationships of motor traffic intensity, accidents, population and network length, the probability of injury or death in urban traffic related to traffic on highways is about I9 to I; more than 70 per cent of all pedestrian casualties occur in cities. A road is both a socio-spatial and a technical composition. Hence, road architecture should form and organize road space in real shapes necessary to meet the material and psychic needs of man. It must take into account the following considerations: communication and transportation needs, traffic qualities, but first of all safety, functional requirements, compositional aspects, protection of the human and psychic environment, topographic conditions, geological properties, engineering restraints, material and texture eatments of pavement, road maintenance problems, services, operations, etc. These considerations form an ergonomic complex, which has long been known, but which now in the age of motorization is very often neglected and forgotten. We know the three architectural rules: "dispositio" = technical construction, "decor" = art and aesthetic, and "distributio" = economic use of constructional means, as formulated about 2000 years ago by the Roman architect Vitruvius. In 1812, the Polish humanist Sierakowski said: "Roads must be short, comfortable, safe and beautiful". (fragment of text)
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