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Old 05-04-2015, 03:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ten counter-intuitive traffic facts

10 Weird Things About Traffic And Your Commute - Tested

1. Drivers can't maintain consistent speeds and following distances. I live on an arrow-straight street and can hear all the herky-jerky throttle modulation issues.

2. Zipper merge. Problem with that is when motorists on the main drag are more interested in protecting their number in the queue than letting anyone merge in at all. Yes I'm talking to you, Omahaians. Something so simple frequently turns ugly there.

3. Bad drivers improve traffic flow...? Then we should have awesome throughput!

4. Hiding accidents reduces slowdowns. Yup. Rubbernecking.

5. Traffic lights are run by sensors. Many but not all are. In my State a motorcycle can proceed on Red after stopping and ensuring the coast is clear.

6. Jams move in waves.

7. Commutes over 45 minutes lead to more divorces. And yet so many think it's worth it.

8. Mass transit reduces congestion. A study says so.

9. Bigger roads (more lanes) increase congestion. And yet everybody thinks that is the solution.

10. More roads (more routes) increase congestion. Seems to be true.

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Old 05-04-2015, 01:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
10 Weird Things About Traffic And Your Commute - Tested

1. Drivers can't maintain consistent speeds and following distances. I live on an arrow-straight street and can hear all the herky-jerky throttle modulation issues.

2. Zipper merge. Problem with that is when motorists on the main drag are more interested in protecting their number in the queue than letting anyone merge in at all. Yes I'm talking to you, Omahaians. Something so simple frequently turns ugly there.

3. Bad drivers improve traffic flow...? Then we should have awesome throughput!

4. Hiding accidents reduces slowdowns. Yup. Rubbernecking.

5. Traffic lights are run by sensors. Many but not all are. In my State a motorcycle can proceed on Red after stopping and ensuring the coast is clear.

6. Jams move in waves.

7. Commutes over 45 minutes lead to more divorces. And yet so many think it's worth it.

8. Mass transit reduces congestion. A study says so.

9. Bigger roads (more lanes) increase congestion. And yet everybody thinks that is the solution.

10. More roads (more routes) increase congestion. Seems to be true.
1. Radar linked to brake, accelerator & other vehicles would reduce throttle variations. Yeah, but the whole electronic inter-tied system would have electrical malfunctions, like Boeing is having with their 787's. Redundant systems would help......'cept fer all the money, which we don't have(hey, that there bridge jest collapsed).
2. Ah....the radar link would help dat.
3. Bad driver throughput? Ya talkin' about T-bones?
4. I rubberneck with difficulty with my arthritis. Give everybody arthritis of the neck.
5. Let Smart traffic lights know all the traffic within a half a mile & inter-tie the close traffic lights. Oh, yeah, 'nother bridge jest fell down.
6. Ban spreading strawberry jam on waving flags.
7. My wife takes Fridays off, now.
8. 10% of the drivers switching to bicycles helps congestion, too.
9. Lettin' rich people drive the commuter lane ain't goin' ta hep, neether.
10. Disneyland "flymobiles" ain't goin' ta help..........neether.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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1. True. Especially if one tries to follow more than 1 vehicle length. That tailgater is only too happy to punch it, cut you off, and brake right in front of you.
2. No kidding. Then there is the person that decides they will take that slot that's not open by stopping and blocking everyone else behind them.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
As I was reading through these, each one I had either already observed on my own or intuitively made sense to me...

until I got to number 9.

So, I tried to find the study itself:
http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/pub...tecipa-370.pdf
It's rather difficult to digest, but a lot of what they base their conclusions on seems sketchy (i.e. calculating availability of mass transit not with mass transit data... but on the 1972 presidential voting record and using 1898 train maps in determining metropolitan areas) The direct 1-1 correlation mentioned in the article only seems to appear in their estimates, empirical data has a much more broad correlation, and even that seems suspicious to me.

This paper also directly contradicts Item 8 on the list, stating "that public transit does not affect traffic levels."
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Public transit DOES affect traffic levels.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
Public transit DOES affect traffic levels.
Exactly.

The study that item 9 is based on "proves" that it does not.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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#1: Whether people are physically able to maintain consistent speed & distance is irrelevant, since almost no one even tries.

4) Maybe rubbernecking at accidents, or maybe all the road signs saying slow down for emergency vehicles, and cops waving you to go even slower through the scene.

7-10) Ah, the benefits of telecommuting, plus flexible work hours :-)
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree #9 is specifically designed to be misleading. It says traffic increases on roads when you add a lane or two and decreases on roads when you take a lane away. What they don't say is that traffic is just moving from or to another road. So take a lane away and it doesn't get any better or worse on that road but that traffic goes somewhere else and makes it worse there. Same thing if you add a lane, more traffic goes there and it gets better somewhere else. They did a "road diet" in our town taking a lane away from a major cross town and sure traffic didn't get any worse there because nobody goes that way now, traffic on the next main road to the north and the one to the south both got worse with all the people avoiding the main road. Worst part is now people just use side streets more as well.
One thing they need to keep in mind is #2, don't add a lane in heavy traffic just to take it away a mile later. Adding a passing lane in rural areas helps move traffic safely around slow cars and trucks, but if the traffic is slow because it is bumper to bumper the passing lane just causes problems. The highway north of San Francisco bay used to be a great example of what not to do.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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#3 only works if "polite" drivers space themselves out for bad drivers.

Here, the opposite takes effect. "Good" drivers often resort to tail-gating to prevent "bad" drivers from cutting into line... leading to more snarls and micro-shockwave jams.

-

#7: 1-2 hour commute for nearly ten years before we married. It was rough, but we survived.

#9: Sad, but true.

#10: Seen this firsthand. Electronic signboards urging people to take the less congested routes seem like a good idea.
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
9. Bigger roads (more lanes) increase congestion. And yet everybody thinks that is the solution.
I'm a bit sceptical about that claim, you find bigger roads where there is already lots of traffic. And there's a few spots where an offramp is so backed up that only the left lane is still moving (the zipper is stuck).

Need a big grain of salt for some of those. Especially the "you can't drive at only one speed", well if you have an ijiit at the front of the line and you are riding their tail, of course not.

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