An Improved Subsidy Specification.
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THE LATEST specification for subsidized vehicles was issued by the War Department last week. In its essentials it does not differ to any marked extent from that brought halo operation last year, but it has, so far as possible, been simplified and brought more into line with several standard makes Of chassis which have proved suitable for work as email coaches or goods vehicles for the carrying of medium loads. Consequently, the requirements are not quite so stringent as hitherto,, and therefore should bring the products of a much larger number cf manufacturers into the subsidy scheme.
This modification may be traced, to the valuable assistance and advice given to the War Department at a conference between it and a representative gathering of -manufacturers, this conference taking place last February.
It is now freely admitted that the results obtained from the previous Seheme did not come up to expectations; for the reason that the extra benefits obtained by the buyers of a subsidy-type vehicle were hardly More than sufficient to cover the additional coat :involved.
So far as we can see, there is nothing in the new specification which is likely to involve any considerable difference between the price of a special subsidy chassis and those of approximately the same capacity which do not come under this category, and it is certain that a vehicle which will meet with the approval of the War Department, by successfully undergoing the various tests to be imposed, will perform its work in civilian use with completely satisfactory results. That is one of.the good points a,bont the subsidy scheme, that it does not call for a, type of vehicle which is likely only to be of use for a single purpose or to appeal to a single user—the War Department. The entire success Of a subsidy scheme rests upon its ability to induce the manufacturer to build to it, and the user to buy the type of vehicle which, at one and the same -time, will suit his requirements and also those of the services in times of stress.
In the general note acconipanying the specification, emphasis is laid upon the importance of consideration being given to accessibility for inspection and adjustment, lubrication and repair, and also as to the desirability of including in the design provision for secondand third standards for those parts subjected to heavy wear. The consideration of these important peints has long been emphasized by The Commercial Motor, and it will be all to the good if the action of the War Department will assist in the furthering of these desirable features.
How to Reduce Delays in Traffic.
THERE IS a tremendously long way to go before we get traffic control in congested areas which shall reduce the really serious delays that now cccur. In London, where the problem is the greatest, because the traffic there is probably 'unequalled in the busiest quarters of any other British city, it is becoming almost quicker to walk than to take a cab or an omnibus over a moderately short journey. In Leicester, during the Royal Show week, the heaviness of the traffic left the police limp physical wrecks by the time the .Show was over. But, as we stood Watching them during some of their busiest tours, we could, an we dared, have attempted consolation by an assurance that it was always like that in Lon
don until until 7 o'clock in the evening: .
We have particularly in mind just now the delays at crossings. There is 'a lack of system which greatly intensifies the trouble. It seems to us that the " take "(to use a term well known in many industries, denoting the amount of work or portion of a continuous job taken on at a time) is much too great, and has a tendency always to be extended. The line of traffic going east and west will be held up fcr a period of time varying front one to four or five minutes to allow the north and south-bound traffic to flow, the result being that delay occurs in the bottleneck of the crossing owing to the difficulty of dispersal in the three directions available beyond.
No "take," it seems to us, should exceed a minute and a half, and the constable who has charge of a traffic crossing should work to the watch, allowing the traffic to flow for a given maximum time (never exceeding it, but always reducing the time to the minimum consonant with the needs of the moment), and then definitely checking it and allowing the cross traffic to flow within the same limits of time. Fewer
vehicles would collect in the blocks and many of those which merely required to turn blocks, the left without crossing any line of traffic would be able to do so with little or no interruption, thus again effecting a relief and a saving of time.
In New York, where the traffic problem is really acute, this • 90-second flow has been adopted at all crossings in a certain large area, and has proved to be a time-saver and a congestion-averter. The more symmetrical layout of the streets helps such a system in New York,. perhaps, better than it would in London, where distances between important crossings vary as much as the weather. Over 'there it has been found possible to use a system of coloured signals, by which a flow east and west is permitted for forty seconds, with an interval of ten seconds, followed by a flow north and south for ninety seconds (the allotted time being dependent upon the average volume of traffic in a particular direction). In this country, however, we would urge the desirability of determining a maximum period of flow which would reduce the wait at a crossing to 11 minutes or less.
A Silent Sprag on the Transmission.
THE equipment of every motor vehicle with an automatic sprag has been the subject of consistent and persistent advocacy in the columns of The Commercial Motor, and manufacturers have been urged to develop a satisfactory device and users to demand it. We have, ourselves, advanced one practical idea in the nature of a band brake which will act automatically when a vehicle begins to move backward, and, in this issue, we are able to deal fully with a pawl-and-ratchet sprag, emanating from America, in which the parts are strong and well supported, a friction disc being interposed between pawls and ratchet teeth to keep them out of engagement unless the vehicle starts to run backward, when the plate automatically rotates out of the way, as it were, and allows the pawls to come into operation. May we ask manufacturers to study this solution to the prololem?