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TOLL TRUCK LANES PROPOSED TO IMPROVE SAFETY

1.What problems with transporting goods over long distances can some companies face?

2.In what ways can trucks cause traffic problems on highways?

3.Does it affect safety on roads?

4.Can you think of any solution to the problems mentioned above?

5.Read the text below to find out about the details of the concept.

 

Visions of oversized trucks and compact cars weaving dangerously in and out of shared lanes have stalled the adoption of longer, heavier tractor-trailer combinations in much of the United States. But what if the larger vehicles were separated from normal traffic?

The Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based research organization, explores the concept of dedicated truck lanes on Toll Trackways. The report proposes building the lanes within the median of existing national highways and funding the construction and maintenance of the "truckways" with tolls.

In particular, the proposal calls for one 4m wide lane in each direction, with full 2m wide shoulders on both sides of each lane. Passing lanes would be provided at frequent intervals. The truckways would be separated from normal traffic lanes by concrete Jersey barriers. Trucks would enter and exit on dedicated flyover ramps and would never interact with normal traffic. For this reason, the report suggests, states that currently prohibit large double and triple trailers could safely allow them on the truckways.

Segregating truck traffic would help solve several problems at once, says Robert Poole, a coauthor of the report. The added lanes would increase highway capacity and improve safety at the same time by reducing the number of car/ truck accidents, which currently cause some 5,000 deaths each year.

The trucking industry would reap the greatest benefits. According to the authors' analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the widespread use of larger vehicles could reduce trucking costs by as much as $40 billion a year. Federal and state governments also would benefit, since the shift of heavy trucks onto independently financed toll lanes would reduce the need for maintenance on the main highways. The report notes that the truckways would require "stronger and more durable" pavements, costing perhaps 20 to 30 percent more than the pavements typically used on interstate highways. But the initial costs would be recouped in longer pavement life and lower maintenance costs over the long term, Poole says. Constructing the truckways would cost an estimated $1 million to $3 million per mile, assuming they are limited to non-urban intercity routes.

Proponents of the concept are hoping that a pilot program will be included in the federal highway funding reauthorization bill next year. A logical place to start would be highways linking routes on which the longer trucks are already allowed to operate. For example, a toll truckway along Interstate 90 in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania would connect the Ohio Turnpike to the New York Thruway, enabling the larger vehicles to haul freight across a broad section of the northeastern United States.



 

6.Answer the following questions:

a) How would traffic on a highway be organized according to the new concept?

b) What advantages of the proposal are mentioned in the text?

c) What might be one possible drawback of the concept?

d) Do you think the proposal for dedicated truck lanes is a good idea? Why? / Why not?

 

7.Correct the mistakes (each of the sentences contains one mistake).

Example: Oversized trucks and … buses … weaving dangerously in and out of shared lanes can often be seen on highways. COMPACT CARS

a) The report proposes building the truck lanes within the shoulder of the existing highways.

b) It also suggests funding the construction and destruction of the ‘truckways’ with tolls.

c) The added truck lanes would increase traffic congestion and improve safety.

d) Each truck lane would be 4 metres wide, with full 2-metre medians on both sides of each lane.

e) Normal traffic lanes would be provided at frequent intervals.

f) Trucks would enter and exit on dedicated bridges and would not interact with normal traffic.

g) Some states which currently prohibit large tractors could safely let them use the truckways.

h) The railway industry would reap the greatest benefits.

 

8.‘Interstate highways’ connect different states in the United States. Prefix ‘inter-’ means ‘between two or more things, places, etc.’ What do you call:

a) a train that travels between major cities without stopping at small towns in between - ……… train;

b) a flight from one continent to another one - ……… flight;

c) trade between countries - ……… trade;

d) a relationship between people - ……… relationship;

e) travelling between different planets - ……… travel;

f) two married people who belong to different races - ……… marriage.

 

9.Find one word in the text which has the same meaning as:

cause, excuse, explanation, grounds, motivation, motive, pretext, purpose.

 

10.Complete the sentences below with words from the box. There are some additional information explanations in brackets.

Example: The other runners’ times were fast, and that gave me the … motivation … to push even harder. (your personal reason for doing something)

 

a) The ……… of Tuesday’s meeting is to finalize the schedule. (the goal you want to achieve)

b) Permission for the march was refused, on ……… of public safety. (a good reason for doing something – used in official or legal situation)

c) Drinking and driving is one of the most common ……… of traffic accidents. (the reason that something happens)

d) There was no obvious ……… for his sudden disappearance. (the facts that tell you why something happened)

e) The police are unsure about a ……… for the crime. (someone’s personal reason for doing something, especially something dishonest)

f) He got into the warehouse on the ………. of making a building inspection. (a false reason you give for doing something bad in order to hide your real reason)

g) She gave some ……… about being too sick to finish her essay. (the reason you give to explain why you did something wrong)

 

11.Complete the text. (Degrees of Comparison) Translate it into Ukrainian.

Which is the better fuel for a car? Is it petrol or diesel? Petrol is more common because it makes a car go ________ (fast) than diesel. It’s also less noisy than diesel. Diesel usually costs less than petrol and you can travel for more kilometers per liter, because diesel has about 10% more energy per liter than petrol.

But diesel engines are ________ (noisy) and ________ (heavy) than petrol ones, although they last longer. From an environmental point of view, diesel oil is ________ (good) than petrol, because the exhaust from diesel engines produces less pollution. It’s also ________ (safe). As diesel is ________ (combustible) than petrol, it’s less likely to catch fire in an accident.

A new fuel, LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas), makes cars go as fast as petrol, but produces less energy per liter.

However, LPG is becoming very popular in some countries because it’s the ________ (little) harmful to the environment compared with diesel or petrol. Of the three types of fuel (LPG, petrol and diesel), cars that use LPG emit the ________ (small) amount of pollution from their exhaust.

LPG is also the ________ (clean) fuel when you’re filling the car, because the gas is completely sealed. LPG engines are about the same weight as petrol ones, but they’re much ________ (durable).

ROAD WARS IN EUROPE

 

1. What does the title suggest about the contents of the article:

a) wars between road and railroad transport?

b) protests against heavy traffic?

c) various road construction companies fighting for new projects?

d) rivalries between countries over road pricing?

e) new projects of alternative ways of transport?

 

2. Can you think of some possible problems with transporting goods in Ukraine / Europe? Think about such countries as Switzerland and their geographical location.

3. How do you think most freight is moved in Europe - by train or by road?

 

4. Read the text and mark the sentences below as true (T) or false (F).

a) Freight traffic across Europe will have risen by 20% by the end of this decade.

b) Most freight in Europe is transported by trains.

c) European countries have managed to create a network of well interconnected national railway systems.

d) "Phantom trains" are trains with no engine-drivers.

e) Competition alone will make European rail more efficient.

 

Despite its green rhetoric and vaunted rail systems, Europe can't wean itself from an addiction to big rigs.

The smoke has long since cleared from the narrow, two-lane tunnel beneath Mont Blanc where 39 people were burned to death or suffocated in March 1999. And the smoke has cleared, too, from the bonfires lit by protesters hoping to stop the 11-kilometer passage from reopening to heavy truck in June, 2002. But as thousands of the big rigs roll in and out of the mountain every day, they are bringing with them the smell of trouble.

The dangers of transporting freight by road are clear: 12 people died in Austria's Tauern Tunnel in May 1999, another 11 were killed in Switzerland's Saint-Gotthard in October 2001 after trucks crashed and caught fire. Yet the fact remains that Europe's single market for goods and services is expanding faster than common-sense policies about how to move those goods around. The EU is expected to add 10 more Eastern European members by the end of 2004; by 2010, the European Commission predicts transcontinental freight traffic will have risen by 50 percent and much of that will have to cross the enormous obstacle of the Alps. Right now the only practical way for most heavy traffic to get through is by truck and tunnel. And while that could change if safer and cleaner rail lines were opened, the chances are that won't happen anytime soon.

That may come as some surprise to foreign visitors, who are often impressed with Europe's high-speed passenger trains. Yet when it comes to moving freight, Europe is for truckers. Several private trucking companies have adapted quickly and creatively to the demands of European unification. Some of the bigger truckers trace cargoes with the Global Positioning System and sophisticated computers. And if trucks also bring more hazards and pollution, at present there is no alternative. Right now only 8 percent of European merchandise moves by rail, compared with more than 40 percent in the United States. Delays are so common that the average speed for freight is about 18 km an hour. As a European Commission White Paper noted in 2001, "that's slower than an ice-breaker opening a shipping lane in the Baltic Sea!"

The railways have had trouble outgrowing a heritage of national rivalries and open warfare between Europe's countries. The result is what another European Commission report calls "a mosaic of badly interconnected national systems." Language barriers remain a problem, requiring crew changes at some borders. Switching systems and signals differ. In some places, as between Spain and France, the tracks are different widths. Most trains are electric, but voltages differ. Weight and length allowances vary.

And efficiency is more of a dream than a goal. Europe's railroads still have to deal with "phantom trains" that run so late they combine with others and disappear from the railroad's records. A report by International Rail Road Union president in 2000 noted that of 20,000 international transport trains checked in Europe, only about half were punctual, hi an era when many companies depend on "just-in-time" inventories to make a profit, railroads are rarely on time at all. Nor does such inefficiency come cheap. The Continent's railways are almost all state-owned monopolies, and, according to the European Commission, those states' taxpayers fork out more than $30 billion a year to keep the trains running badly.

Yet there is little official enthusiasm for changing the system. Michel Charlet, mayor of the town of Chamonix at the entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel, has lobbied in vain with successive governments in Paris to close the tunnel to heavy trucks. Environmental groups like Alp Action have taken the issue to international forums, with little apparent effect. "We've come up against the economic power of the trucking companies," says Catherine Berthet, in the mayor's office. It can't help that France's state-owned railway system is also one of its biggest trucking concerns.

What few reforms there are have come from outside official EU channels. Switzerland, in the middle of the Alps and of Europe - but not a member of the union - has tried imposing its own limits on the 20,000 trucks that transit the country every day. They're banned at night and at weekends, and taxes on the ones that do go through are earmarked to build new rail tunnels through the Alps. One of those, at Gotthard, will be the world's longest: 57 km. Eventually the aim is to have most truck traffic carried under and through the mountains on roll-on roll-off trains much like the shuttle that now goes beneath the English Channel.

One of the most interesting projects has been developed by home furnishings giant Ikea. With 20 million cubic meters of freight to transport each year, the company decided to start its own railway. "Originally we wanted to buy our own tracks," says Christer Beijbom of Ikea Rail, "but we didn't succeed in purchasing any. So we set up our own operations with our own trains and bought some slots from the national rail companies." The first 1,000 km route from Almhult, Sweden, to Duisburg, Germany, opened in June 2002. Plans call for the network to expand to Italy and eventually Poland. Thus far, the trains are averaging 65 km an hour and emit 70 percent less carbon dioxide than trucks carrying similar loads. A consortium of German chemical companies led by BASF is also developing its own facility, Rail4chem.

If the problem of transport in Europe is going to be addressed, though, broader changes are obviously needed. The most important of these - deregulation, was supposed to go into effect in 2003 when, theoretically at least, the engines of any European company were to cross national frontiers pulling their own freight trains. Unfortunately, few analysts believe that competition alone will make European rail more efficient. "The railroads have always had a hard time adjusting quickly, and draconian reforms don't work,” says Denis Doute, director of freight services for the French rail company SNCF. Germany's Deutsche Bundesbahn has had to face internal competition since 1994, but remains the country's biggest operator by far. "The market's not easy for newcomers," says Doute.

The reality is that governments have helped create the imbalance between road and rail in Europe - and government action will likely be needed to fix it. The French emphasis on using rail to move people instead of goods, for instance, has helped cripple freight service. "All the investments went to passenger traffic," says Doute. Freight trains have had to find "windows" to run in between passenger trains, unlike those in the United States, which often travel on separate tracks. Their loads and their lengths are much more limited as well. "There's a real desire to further develop the freight network," Doute claims. "But that requires massive investments to modernize existing infrastructures and open new ones." The political will to fund that kind of investment is lacking, which means the citizens of Chamonix will have to hold their noses for a while longer.

 

5. Answer the following questions:

a) What does the list of tragic accidents illustrate?

b) What is the biggest geographical obstacle in Europe that transport companies have to deal with?

c) How do some bigger truckers improve their efficiency?

d) What are the reasons for Europe’s transport trains’ inefficiency?

e) How is Switzerland trying to cope with the problem of immense truck transit?

f) In what ways have the European governments helped create imbalance between road and rail?

 

6. Match the words from the text with the definitions below.

Example: … hazard … - something dangerous

a) __________ - generally praised or described as very important or successful

b) __________ - to die because you cannot breathe

c) __________ - (infml) a large truck

d) __________ - fighting or serious disagreement

e) __________ - to destroy something or damage it severely

7. Complete the statements below with phrases from the text.

Example: Foreign visitors are often impressed with Europe’s … high-speed passenger trains …

 

a) Europe’s single market for goods and services is ………

b) By 2010, Europe’s transcontinental freight traffic will ………

c) When it comes to moving freight, Europe is for ………

d) At present only 8% of European merchandise moves by ………

e) The average speed for freight trains is about 18km an hour because of ………

f) ……… run so late, they combine with others and disappear from the railroad’s records.

g) European countries’ taxpayers spend more than $30 billion a year to ………

h) ……… transports about 20 million cubic meters of freight each year.

i) In France all the investments went to ………

 

8. Interpret the following phrases:

Example: green rhetoric – pro-ecological way of talking about environmental problems

 

a) addiction to big rigs - ………

b) the mayor has lobbied in vain - ………

c) roll-on roll-off trains - ………

d) draconian reforms don’t work - ………

e) the citizens of Chamonix will have to hold their noses - ………

f) the political will to fund the investment - ………

 

9. Complete the sentences with the appropriate form of the words in capitals.

 

a) The Swiss parliament is … discussing … whether to build a new St. Gotthard road tunnel. DISCUSSION
b) This would punch a hole in an earlier ……… not to build any more Alpine highways. AGREE
c) The main thrust of Swiss transport policy has been to try to ……… a shift of both passenger and freight traffic from road to rail. COURAGE
d) Switzerland tries to ……… heavy road freight vehicles through measure such as a ban on trucks at night and a distance-related heavy-vehicle tax. COURAGE
e) At the same time, the government has been investing ……… in the rail network, most notably in Rail 2000, and the Alp Transit. HEAVY
f) The latter involves the ……… of base rail tunnels beneath the Alps to increase capacity on the transit lines. CONSTRUCTOR
g) The St. Gotthard base tunnel will be …….. in 2014. COMPLETION

 

10. Put the verb into the correct tense form in Passive.

a) The expedition … (to supply) with all the necessary equipment last week.

b) This device cannot … (to rely) upon because it is not accurate enough.

c) In modern ports the ships … (to load) and … (to unload) mechanically.

d) As far as I know, the goods … (just / to ship).

e) What kind of fuel … (to use) in these motor cars?

f) The difference of travel between one rear wheel and the other is known as differential action and it … (to allow) in the design of the rear axle.

g) These ice-breakers … (to design) for operation in Arctic waters 25 years ago, but they … (to use) even nowadays.

h) Cars with engine troubles of this sort can … (easily / to repair) at every service station.

i) Yesterday he … (to stop) by the man who demanded his name and address.

j) The engineer … (often / to ask) to estimate the cost of the car repair.

 

11. Put different types of questions to the sentences from Exercise 10.

 


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 416


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