How much do the urb-x elements weigh?
A straight supporting element of 20 metres length weighs approx. 4'500kg. A straight roadway element weighs approx. 700kg including the PV modules and the railing elements. Accordingly, a straight support element package of 20 metres length weighs approx. 11 tonnes. Curved elements are typically somewhat lighter, but weigh approx. 10-20% more per metre of track than straight elements.
Can the colour of the urb-x road surface be changed?
he standard colour of an urb-x route is green. This corresponds to the marking/designation of cycle lanes in some leading cycling nations, so the use of this colour is recommended. In special cases and for longer routes, another colour can be chosen.
How is a track element constructed?
The construction of a track element is kept very simple. The basis is a wooden frame on which a 3-layer wooden panel is mounted. The heating wire of the track heating is incorporated into the wooden panel. The 5-layer Conica special covering is then applied to the track panel. The eyelets for the railing elements are attached to the side of the deck. The glass-on-glass photovoltaic modules are inserted and fixed into the railing elements.
For which static loads is urb-x designed?
The surface load of an urb-x route is designed for 2.5kN/m2. Standard rescue vehicles and common small cleaning vehicles can operate on urb-x routes in the event of an emergency. In these cases, the control system also enables the closure of sections of the route.
The supports of urb-x must comply with the locally applicable standards (e.g. regarding impact protection).
urb-x is mainly made of wood. Is there a particular fire risk?
No, glulam constructions have meanwhile proven in various test series that there is no particular fire risk. Accordingly, the building material is now also used as standard in residential construction and even for high-rise buildings.
What about weather resistance?
The load-bearing elements of urb-x are made of glulam. This is well protected from direct exposure to water by the special coating. Experience with corresponding timber constructions promises a very long durability. The main components of urb-x are guaranteed for 20 years.
In specially exposed areas (e.g. along seashores with high surf), the exposed components can be impregnated by means of a special treatment.
In addition, the "state of health" of the support and track modules is continuously monitored by the integrated monitoring system using various sensors (e.g. acceleration sensors, optical sensors and conductivity sensors). Based on this sensor data, specific maintenance or timely replacement of aged modules is possible.
How does the rescue of injured persons from an urb-x track work?
The statics of urb-x are designed to allow a standard ambulance of 5 tons weight and 2.8m height to drive the track in case of rescue. On curves, the maximum speed of the rescue vehicle is limited to 20 km/h. In this case, the guidance signals of the track ensure that the track is closed.
How much electricity does the photovoltaic system integrated into the urb-x railings produce?
The electricity yield depends on a number of factors. The exposure and any shading by trees or houses, which leads to a reduced electricity yield, are particularly important. Optimal is a route from east to west (which allows the orientation of the PV modules to the south) and no shading by trees or houses. In such a case, a peak power of approx. 300 - 350 W per linear metre of track can be expected. In Central European latitudes, this results in an electricity yield of up to approx. 300 MWh per kilometre and year.
Does an urb-x line need winter maintenance?
No, the powerful pavement heating keeps the track free of snow and ice. Sensors monitor the condition of the track and switch on the pavement heating when necessary.
How does the cleaning of an urb-x track work?
The urb-x lanes are accessible for standard cleaning vehicles such as those used for cleaning pavements. Individual lanes can be closed to traffic by the control system in case of cleaning. Robot cleaning vehicles are envisaged, which can automatically clean the route controlled by the control system.
How much electricity does the urb-x decking heater consume?
The urb-x pavement heating consumes approx. 120 W/m2. Accordingly, the track consumes about 500kW per kilometre when heated. In Central European latitudes, an operating time of approx. 100 - 140 hours per year can be expected, which results in an electricity consumption of approx. 40 MWh per km. Added to this is the power consumption for lighting, signalling and control technology. Accordingly, an urb-x line in Central Europe produces 5 - 8 times as much electricity as it consumes through the heating itself.
What effect does an urb-x track have on noise?
urb-x tracks have a noise-reducing effect upwards due to their construction and material. A route along the embankment of an existing railway or road cut can achieve or even exceed the effect of noise barriers.
Can urb-x be built over tram routes
Yes, it is possible, but local regulations regarding construction over live lines must be observed. Since trams are typically operated at voltages below 1000 volts, the use of tram lines for urb-x is possible.
How is an urb-x track lit?
A special luminaire belongs to each support element of the urb-x system. In addition to the luminaire, the housing of the luminaire also contains 8 control signals, sensors and a special control computer. The luminaire is a 25W LED panel whose light temperature can be controlled. The sensors installed in the luminaires can be configured together with the guidance system in such a way that at certain times (e.g. at night) the luminaires are only switched on when a cyclist is approaching. This helps to save electricity and reduce light pollution.
How does the drainage of an urb-x track work?
The urb-x tracks have a transverse slope of 1-2% so that water can flow off well to the side via the moulded drip nose. At exposed points, this water can be collected in rain gutters and drained off in an orderly manner.
What gradients, what slopes are possible with urb-x?
Technically, gradients of up to 10% can be realised well on an urb-x trunk line. However, cyclists find longer gradients of more than 3.5% unpleasant, which is why the urb-x design guide advises to avoid gradients of more than 3.5% if possible. On entrances and exits, gradients of up to 10% are possible, in exceptional cases even up to 12%. Entrances and exits can be realised in a space-saving manner by designing them as a helix - in this way, pleasant gradients can also be realised in a relatively small space. In addition, metres of slope can often be avoided by taking advantage of the topography
How often does urb-x need to be connected to the mains?
urb-x needs a connection to the power grid at least every 1.5km. In view of the high outputs, the connection must be made to the medium-voltage grid of the local electricity supplier. A high-performance conductor rail is integrated into the urb-x support elements, which transports the electricity produced by the PV system as well as the electricity consumed by the line. Secondary use of the conductor rail - for example for charging stations for electric cars - is possible.
Can the track drawing of an urb-x track be changed?
This is possible. For example, the subdivision into 2 lanes per direction can be dispensed with. However, this is not recommended, especially in branching and exit areas. In addition, the value of the guidance signals, which are designed for a 2+2 lane system, is reduced in this case. If urb-x is used as a combined bicycle/pedestrian bridge in exceptional cases, a 1+1+1 lane system is possible, which designates one lane for each direction of bicycle traffic and a third lane for pedestrians.
Which sensors are installed in the urb-x modules and what are they used for?
Various environmental sensors are installed in the luminaires of the urb-x system to measure temperature, humidity, CO content, precipitation and wind speed.
Optical and acoustic sensors are used for traffic detection, non-contact measurement of the pavement temperature, and assessment of the system status.
Acceleration and vibration sensors are installed in the support element to monitor the system status.
What components does the urb-x control system consist of?
The urb-x control system consists of the following main components:
Sensors in the track modules
Control signals and signals on the track
Decentralised control computers in the track modules
Central cloud infrastructure for the storage of states
Computer applications for managing the operation and hardware of the line
What functionality does the urb-x guidance system offer?
The control system offers the following essential functions:
- Monitoring of the system status (indications of defects, necessary maintenance, etc.)
- Monitoring of the current traffic situation with the possibility of manual intervention (e.g. closing lanes, publishing notices on the electronic display boards, etc.)
- Alerting: automatic detection of alarm situations.
What does urb-x cost?
One kilometre of urb-x track costs EUR 2 - 2.5 million from the support head. This includes the main line with all supporting elements, roadway elements, railings and lights. Not included are the supports and foundations as well as the access and exit ramps.
What does Total Cost of Ownership mean?
An urb-x line is optimised for the lowest possible costs over its entire service life (total cost of ownership). This is achieved by the following features of the urb-x system:
Modularity: Maintenance and possible replacement work is limited to a small (the really necessary) part of a line. Maintenance and replacement work can usually be carried out without interrupting operations.
Automated system condition monitoring: The urb-x sensor and control system constantly and automatically monitors the condition parameters of the track. This enables timely and limited maintenance work.
Reusability: The essential components of the urb-x system can be reused elsewhere (e.g. for a new track).
Sustainability & Safety
What is the function of the specially shaped railings of the urb-x system?
On the one hand, the railings enable the integration of photovoltaic modules, which produce approx. 5-8 times more electricity per year than is consumed by the route for lighting, heating, signalling and control.
In addition, the special "wing shape" of the railings offers significantly increased safety compared to today's standards for bicycle bridges. Not only is its height of approx. 1.45m much higher than the currently valid standards of 1.1 - 1.3m, but the railing's design also offers a much higher subjective feeling of safety.
What are guidance signals and what are they used for?
Guide signals indicate the status of each track. There are 4 different states:
Green arrow pointing vertically downwards: lane is free to move.
Yellow arrow flashing to the right: change lane to the right
Yellow arrow flashing to the left: Change lane to the left
Red cross: lane is closed
An urb-x route has such a guidance signal integrated in each luminaire for each of its 4 lanes. Accordingly, the traffic guidance system can flexibly control the use of the route. For example, cyclists approaching a slip road can change lanes in good time before cyclists approaching the slip road by means of a yellow flashing guidance signal without disrupting the general flow of traffic. Likewise, lanes affected by maintenance work or accidents can be specifically closed.
Guidance signals also enable traffic load-dependent management of the 4 lanes. In case of heavy traffic in one direction, 3 lanes can be released for this direction, while only one lane remains for the oncoming traffic.