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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Attention Geniuses: Traffic      Home login  
Joined: 4/9/2006
Msg: 1
Attention Geniuses: TrafficPage 2 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
Given the power to make laws or allocate funding, how would you fix the traffic on the freeways?

How could we realisticly circumvent some of our most hated congestion potentials?

I'm searching for some innovative and plausible ideas here.
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 2
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/13/2007 8:04:06 PM
Build public transportation that actually goes were people need to go and when they need to go.
Build a time machine and go back in time and stop the oil industry from derailing public transportation plans.
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 3
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/14/2007 7:43:49 PM
Confining ourselves to freeways, the two biggest sources of congestion that I've seen are the merging of on-ramp and off-ramp traffic, and state troopers looking for speeders. For the former we need to prevent that merge from ever happening. We do this by building underpasses and overpasses so that these two groups of drivers never cross paths. For the latter we get rid of speeding laws.
Joined: 4/9/2006
Msg: 4
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/14/2007 10:58:48 PM
sources of congestion that I've seen are the merging of on-ramp and off-ramp traffic.

Now you're talking!

I hear you on the underpasses and overpasses. But could we perhaps ease the congestion from merging traffic by enforcing new rules of the road?

No passing on the right would reduce the frequency of left lane traffic having to slow down because of cut-offs from merging traffic.
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 5
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/15/2007 3:41:27 AM
There's a good first step in reducing traffic on freeways.
Stop building them !
Stop expanding them !
It's been recently realized that building more freeways and expanding old ones does not ease traffic congestion, but rather contributes to it. More and bigger freeways induces more and more people to drive on them.
Simply, people wouldn't use them if they weren't there and they would be encouraged to figure out another way to go.
Joined: 2/21/2004
Msg: 6
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/15/2007 6:13:33 AM
I would agree that people commuting to/from work and home is a big cause of traffic. At one time I would have considered public transportation as well, except that sports (soccer in my case) also often put demands on my transportation. Most of the places where I had soccer practice or games was not very close to public transportation. Bicycling with all my soccer gear was also infeasible (I suppose one could pull a trailer).

If public transportation is priced to be approximately the same cost per mile as private, private will win most of the time. In most of the cities I've lived in, usage and policy conspire to set prices in about that neighbourhood. Having public transportation being 30 or so percent cheaper probably doesn't help much either. You want the difference to be significant, for people to give up convenience. Cities can effect the convenience factor by making parking expensive.
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 7
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/15/2007 4:22:22 PM
Complaining about the past errors doesn't help fix the problem now, or in the future.
So, with that in mind.....

A "trucks only" lane....keeps smaller vehicles out of the way, and allows the truckers some peace of mind that some fool isn't going to try jumping in and out of traffic in front of them. In Montreal, they have a single lane barring trucks on it to help keep through traffic flowing. It helps.

Building a large "bypass" system around certain cities would help....that way, through traffic wouldn't have to join the flow of local traffic.

Using the newer "asphalt" that has recycled rubber from tires in it would help maintenance costs..less work to be done helps keep the flow going.

Outlaw private vehicles from within 5 miles of city center. Only taxis, and public transport available....park the car outside and take the public transport from there. Many would just take public transpirt form their point of departure then.

Lots of underground tunnels in many cities...perhaps have a conveyer belt system there....trucks could unload miles away, the goods go underground on the conveyer and the "pick-up" made at certain "stations" along the way.

Put different "speed limits" in different lanes. Make the last lane an "autobaun" type lane...go as fast as you want. Each lane moving inwards to decrease speed so that turn-off lanes are down to a reasonable speed. If people are passing on the right anyways, they could easily get into it and go. Slowpokes can keep left.
Joined: 4/9/2006
Msg: 8
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/15/2007 7:11:03 PM

Outlaw private vehicles from within 5 miles of city center. Only taxis, and public transport available....park the car outside and take the public transport from there. Many would just take public transpirt form their point of departure then

Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 9
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/17/2007 6:48:34 PM
I'd re-design the bus routes and times and frequency according to the Laws of Mathematics. If it was possible, I'd do the same with the roadways. I'd keep doing that until every bus journey was shorter than a car, and every car journey was really short.

I know that this is possible. I once heard from another Mathematics student that although Soccer stadiums in the UK are notorious for being clogged when the fans enter before the match, and being completely swamped when the match is over and everyone leaves, but one soccer club asked their new stadium to be designed by a mathematician. He used Queueing Theory, and when the stadium was built, the turnstiles and lanes never got clogged, either before or after a match. Everyone got in and out really quickly, with no-one feeling like they were stuck in traffic. I see no reason why Queueing Theory or another branch of Mathematics could not be applied in a similar manner.

I'd make cars have to give way for buses.
I'd provide extra buses with luggage room, for transporting shopping.

I'd bring back hitch-hiking.
I'd make hitch-hiking licenses and car-pooling licenses made for people who are completely trustworthy to take a trip with, as valid hitch-hikers and valid people with cars who pick up hitch-hikers. Then, I'd get everyone with those licenses to share car journeys, and pick up those people with licenses as valid hitch-hikers. I'd give all of the people who pick up people with licenses in their cars, incredible tax breaks. Cheap petrol, low car tax, low insurance, that sort of thing. I'd even set up bus-stops for those people.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 10
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/18/2007 8:09:22 AM

Mathmatical modelling is a good idea, but it's band aid on a slashed artery if it's not part of a more comprehensive transportation development plan.
I quite agree. However, the issue addressed was traffic, and I doubt that the scope of this issue would lend itself to using Mathematics to address urban sprawl, as that leads more onto Economics and social structures, including relationships. Mathematics is quite capable of expressing these issues, and improving them vastly. But book-smarts is a dirty word in today's society, and people don't like it, particularly Maths, so Maths isn't used for the right things, and nothing gets done right.
Joined: 8/3/2007
Msg: 11
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/18/2007 1:15:32 PM
increase the gas tax.
Use the extra taxes to update the new public transoportation system.

Good luck with that though, means cooperation between differents level of the government, fat chance on that happening.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 12
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/18/2007 4:43:29 PM
To quietcowboy in msg #29:
Very insightful. Very good post
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 13
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 10/22/2007 12:46:42 PM
Bulldoze a swatch right across the center of the city and make it a 12 lane either way, in both directions. Cuts the city into "quarters" right there, making lots of possibilities open.
Joined: 2/10/2007
Msg: 14
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 11/6/2007 8:30:27 AM
Some believe the problem with traffic management is rooted in the automobile. I believe it is more of an urban planning problem.

While some might argue that there are too many cars, or too few highways, I think it's easier to think of the real problem as being too many people reliant upon automobiles for transportation to work.

If you look at transportation patterns, outside of work-related rush hours, the streets and highways are more than sufficient to manage the everyday driving needs of most human beings.

This leads us to the issue of mass transit solutions like subways, light rail, and buses.

Unfortunately, mass transit is only viable under specific circumstances. In many regions of North America, mass transit loses money and must be subsidized heavily.

Now, some would argue that you should tax automobile and highways more to encourage usage, others argue that you should increase subsidies, neither of these solutions really get to the root of the problem.

The core problem with mass transit is the same problem that is inherent in the distribution of all civil services, whether it is sewage, water, electrical distribution, or mail delivery -- that of population density.

What we have in North America is an unsustainable lifestyle, unsustainable in that people feel "entitled" to owning a home, having a nice yard, and living in a suburb.

Unfortunately, suburbs are the least efficient model of human habitation that you can have.

In order to sustain a substantial transition to mass transit, you need higher population density.

Think of it like running a sewage line. From a civil perspective, running a sewage line to an apartment building or condominium of 1,000 families is enormously more efficient and less expensive than running sewage lines to 1,000 homes in a community. Similarly, these expenses scale for water delivery, electrical delivery, mail delivery, or any other public service you wish to make available.

The time and labor that it takes to deliver mail to 10,000 families in an apartment complex is a miniscule fraction of the time and labor that it requires to deliver mail to 10,000 homes in a group of sub-divisions.

This also applies to mass transit.

Only through concerted effort by communities to direct development towards higher population densities are you able to increase the efficiency of mass transit to the point where it can make a substantial difference in both the economics of mass transit, as well as substantially reduce the use of vehicles during peak transit hours.

In Ontario, the government in the last 10 years has adopted the official policy of "intensification". Intensification is the policy of restricting additional housing development to specific geographic areas. Large swaths of land have been allocated as rural/greenbelt areas, with re-zoning of those areas being made virtually impossible.

The theory is that if you restrict development exclusively to designated areas, then over time those areas will "intensify" in population, ie, their population density will increase and increase the efficiency of service delivery, whether it is water, sewage, electricity or mass transit.

You can tinker with the economics through incentives like subsidized transit, or increased commuter/highway/vehicle usage taxes, but in the end, the only way to really create a sustainable traffic model is to increase the economic efficiency of transit to the point that it becomes the best and most viable transportation option.

I'm not one of those people that would advocate the elimination of the automobile. It's unrealistic to expect people to surrender their vehicles. However, a model of intensified population would have a number of impacts.

First, it would reduce traffic loads on existing highways and roads, reducing maintenance burdens on government.

Second, it would allow some individuals to forego vehicles entirely, allowing people to save more money that could go to other economic endeavours.

Third, it would foster a boom in smaller and more local businesses such as grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. The big box model is predicated on a few core concepts, that of cheap real estate (only possible in low density areas), and on the availability of personal vehicles to justify the travel distances when shopping.

If you wanted to take a look at a functional mass transit model, you probably need to take a look at places like Hong Kong or Singapore.

Hong Kong has 7 million people, and it's geographic size is extremely limited due to it being an island. As a result, mass transit is the preferred method of travel. For a first world level economy, only a very small percentage of the population own vehicles. This is due to the combination of exceptional mass transit, and very high vehicle taxes. Only the wealthy own actual homes (due to very high land costs), with most people striving to own condominiums (many of which start at $1m).

In Hong Kong, the mass transit is completely private, operated by publicly traded companies that exist only to make a profit. The Hong Kong government owns a substantial portion of the shares, but still must answer to the shareholders. They also are allowed to operate as any normal business, so they often do substantial development above their subway stations, lease office and residential space, and lease considerable advertising and kiosk space.

If the MTR wishes to finance additional construction, they do not seek government handouts. Instead, they issue bonds and raise capital, just as any other business.

Simlarly, as a shareholder, the government receives a substantial portion of any profits, thus reducing pressure to raise taxes.

The corporation which operates their Subways (the MTR), has substantial authority to expropriate land. It is a fast and efficient process, with very little room for appeal or protest. If the MTR has done the studies and determined that your land is needed, don't even bother fighting them. You will lose and everyone knows it.

To offset higher land prices from high population density, the city subsidizes lower income housing (keyed to income and inflation) for the financially dis-advantaged.

The end result is a highly efficient transit system with one of the highest usage rates in the world. Virtually everyone takes transit to work, school and recreational events. There are grocery and variety stores on virtually every block. There are no "big box" or massive shopping centers in the North American sense.

In a city of 7 million, there are 5 subway lines, the latest completed just in the last few years. There is also yet another one under planning/construction. Under it's current design, close to 90% of the city is within a 10 minute walk of a subway station. In addition to this, there are dozens of privately operated bus-lines and thousands of taxi-cabs that cover the entire city. Since most people don't have cars, mass transit and taxi-cab fares are some of the lowest in the world.

Despite the numerous private transportation options, all the buses, subways and ferry's are on a universal payment system. While you can pay with cash fares, most people use the Octopuss card.

The Octopuss card is a pre-paid transit card. It is fully transferable, and like a pre-paid phone card, you charge the card with any amount you wish (at automated machines in every station, or at a handful of manned booths), then you far is automatically deducted every time you enter/exit a transportation station/vehicle.

The card does not to be inserted into a machine, it is instead done through proximity. If it is in your wallet, you do not take it out of your wallet and instead just swipe your wallet past the sensor. Similarly, the sensor is located at the top of the turnstile, so people often just leave it in the bottom of their briefcase/bags, then swipe their bag along the top.

Fares are calculated purely on a distance basis. From station to station has a pre-set cost, which is then deducted when you exit the station/vehicle. People who travel more, pay more. Those who travel less, pay less. This encourages people to live closer to where they work when possible, thus reducing load on the system.

The Octopuss card is so efficient, that it is also used by many retail establishments. People put their money on the Octopuss card, then can get on the subway, and can pick up drinks/food/etc at any number of stores in and around the city. Every 7-11 in the city accepts the Octopuss card.

The end result is that development is heavily distributed throughout the city. While there are financial centers that are more expensive, there are large office and apartment towers throughout the city. Heavy industrial factories are restricted to specific areas, while light manufacturing is located almost everywhere. Virtually all shopping centers are part of existing office/commercial developments, usually taking up a handful of the bottom floors with commercial offices located above.

While this model is currently far from viable in most North American cities, a concerted effort by government to change the way people live and work would eventually lead to an urban model where this becomes both possible and viable.

The only question is whether North Americans can learn to abandon their dreams of houses with a lawn and instead move towards a condominium/apartment with a local park.

Just some stuff to think about.
Joined: 8/10/2007
Msg: 15
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 2/16/2008 4:42:52 PM
Allow manufacturers that make vehicles with a limited range and speed to be sold and used within city boundaries exclusively. If people live outside of thier work zone and must commute take away their ability to commute. Shorter range vehicles would do this.

Also there has to be some body to reduce the speculation market in real estate so people have the ability to live and work in the same area. Put restrictions in place on the length of ownership of a property to 3 years to reduce "Flipping".

Abstentee land owners or owners that do not develop properties within a set time forego their right to own the land/building that would otherwise be used for housing/business/schools/parks.

Reduce taxation in areas of high density/highrises as they are impacting land use much less than single family homes thus reducing urban sprawl. As well institute a square footage regulation that all condos be over 1100 sq. ft. in size to accomodate larger families.

Make transit free and impose a fuel tax that is heralded as a tax to pay for new busses and new routes.

Make sure there are signs on all fuel pumps showing how much of this money is going into transit.

Personally I tried doing the transit thing for 6 months and it worked out well unless a bus short changed the route at night which happened several times. Therefore I would say put GPS devices on all busses to monitor that the busses are where they should be at any given time.
Joined: 1/15/2008
Msg: 16
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 2/19/2008 2:43:40 PM

Perhaps if we stop reproducing!!! Just kidding!!!

Actually that alone would take care of traffic, amongst other things...
There is entirely way too many people in the world, but CA's got to be the worst place to drive and live for that matter!!!

Seriously, I am with the rest of the posters here; public transportation...
Joined: 12/25/2006
Msg: 17
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 2/20/2008 5:48:07 AM

Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption and Travel

This is USDOT's annual tally of vehicles, fuel, miles driven, miles of pavement, time stuck in gridlock, damned wrecks etc. Better bookmark it, if you're going to think about traffic. Looks like we have about 250 million vehicles for a population of 300 million, which turn about 180 billion gallons into smog every year. If you could put 180 billion gallons into a container 2 storeys tall, I wonder if that would take acres, or square miles, or what?

Forumchick's first answer is the only hope. Of course, people aren't likely to stop reproducing, but if they don't stop over-reproducing, they'll be throwing their babies into the pit to fight each other for air. As for transportation: transportation to where?
Joined: 2/3/2008
Msg: 18
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 2/20/2008 8:10:39 AM
Get off the main grid. Create more wind turbines to support public transportation and cut the energy cost. Each city that has an established population should support the idea of manufacturing there own personal power supply outside of Privatization. Cut cost. For electrical transportation or street cars. Smaller power plant suppying the community over the larger structured plants. To much waste with the bigger operating plants we have to day. Support the growth of Hemp for Bio fuels and give the farms back to the people. Hemp will grow on a rock and adds no pollution to the air. It will smell like your cooking french fries. The first Diesel motor ran on Hemp oil. plus hemp can be made into 25,000 different products and is in direct competition with the oil industry, thats why its illegal. What I am saying is the more self suficent we are the better the outcome, we can get the people out of there cars with inexpensive transportation city wide and constantly.

Theres a city in Western Canada I don't know where that runs there street cars on Wind Energy, turbines
Joined: 11/20/2004
Msg: 19
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 2/20/2008 9:10:01 AM
Part of the problem is in the drivers choice of route, and lack thereof an alternate route. I'll give you an example:

I-75 runs North and South through the center of my city. There's also I-69 which runs diagonally South East to North West corners. At the part in example, the highway merges and breaks in several spots. There's also a main road with lots of businesses a mile from the I-75 North to I-69 North East/West merger. There's another road about a half mile down that business filled road that goes to an on/off-ramp for I-69. There's also the I-69 Business loop which connects both of the highway, only a tiny fraction of a mile North from I-75's ramp to I-69. The same distance is covered in all routes mentioned, and there's a plethora of side roads between the on ramp of I-75 and the off ramp of I-69.

Can you guess the main route people take to get from that business road to the off ramp on I-69 North West? You probably guessed right, they get on I-75, take that to the merger, then get off on I-69's off ramp. The whole time all those side roads are almost completely empty, the business road has some traffic, but mostly at the on-ramp of I-75, the connecting road to I-69 has very little traffic. The business, baron.

I don't think the problem lies with roads as much as it does with the drivers not taking the time to think through there routes. I once calculated the amount of traffic going across I-75 and I-69 during peak usage hours and watched which cars got on and off at the two ramps mentioned. Then I calculated the cars spread across just the business road, the connecting road, and the business loop. There was a slight imbalance so I threw 3% of the cars onto back roads. No traffic buildup at all, short of an accident, which could get taken care of faster with less traffic involved.
Joined: 1/15/2008
Msg: 20
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Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 6/16/2010 11:32:15 PM
Perhaps this has been suggested already, and I apologize if it has, considering it is two am and didn't bother to read the three pages...

Anyway, another way would be to design an alternative route where you could divert commercial traffic exclusively during rush hours. Once there is an alternative, mandate all commercial vehicles (Semi trucks mainly) to stay out of the freeways throughout city’s downtown during rush hours. Although the majority of their drivers are rather skillful, they are definitely limited on speed considering their loads, and do tend to slow down the flow of traffic.

And if you don’t think that this idea is just brilliant, well I don’t know what to tell ya, all I can say is: "Give me a break okay, it is two am, you really shouldn't expect much from me or listen to me at this hour...”

Or any other time for that matter...

Joined: 9/30/2009
Msg: 21
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 6/17/2010 8:46:47 PM

Given the power to make laws or allocate funding, how would you fix the traffic on the freeways?

Decrease population via:


Make university education mandatory and funded by the government. Generally speaking people of higher intelligence have timid sexual desires and are more responsible and wise - they won't f*ck anything that moves, or spread their legs for "love" or "popularity".

Life Style:

Make the pursuit of knowledge, excellence, and well-being a lifestyle. This goes hand in hand with education. The idea here is to direct a person on the path to becoming a better person, and therefore making better choices in every area of their life.

Significant reduction of poverty:

A person in poverty cannot follow the path of education, or the lifestyle of inquiry described above. Poverty, like in Africa or India leads to more of the same.

Military reduction:

All of the above can be achieved if the US reduces its military spending by half. Even then the US military will STILL be the largest in the world. In fact it will be the largest in the world even if all other countries combine their military powers.

Enforce birth control:

Government will only give child benefits to families who have planned, and have signed an agreement to have children prior to having children. Government will tax parents of "unplanned" children.

Revisit, reanalyze, clarify or redefine basic social concepts:

Few of my suggestions:

1. Separate parenthood from marriage, and abolish marriage. Parenthood and children should take higher priority in the scheme of things. Serious relationships should be based around parenthood and children, not marriage. Make new laws concerning relationships from the perspective of parenthood or "parentships", not marriage.

2. Abolish all current laws concerning male-female relationships. There should only be laws concerning "individuals". Get the government out of male-female relationships.

The idea here is to free people to pursuit whatever relationships they wish to form among one another while still be accountable to nature's consequences. (i.e. parenthood)
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 22
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 6/17/2010 9:08:44 PM
The way you could beat the traffic is to use the highways at times when it is not too occupied. So if you shift is at 8:00, either leave at 6:00 and try to change your work schedule from 7:00 to 3:00 if possible. Use public transportation since, some bus routes use lanes reserved to only them.
Joined: 11/20/2004
Msg: 23
Attention Geniuses: Traffic
Posted: 6/21/2010 4:04:12 PM
The problem with that JP1111 is that if enough people listen to your suggestion you'll only end up shifting the traffic into a different time frame.

Recently I seen a really cool analogy to traffic jams, it was tailored to implementing the math behind it into a video game, but held some neat real world observations. A common form of traffic jam is very close to a standing wave, forming when enough aggressive drivers speed up on a defensive driver only to slam their breaks causing the cars behind them to do the same. It forms a situation where all of the aggressive drivers slow down and close the gap between the car in front of them, with the car at the end of the wave speeding out of it.

Think of one of those desk ornament with the 5 metal balls hanging from strings, you pull back a ball on one side and release it, the 3 balls in center stay relatively still, while throwing the ball at the opposing into the air. Those balls in the center will almost never move any significant distance, instead transferring the force right to the one at the opposite end. Unlike that ornament cars have means to provide their own energy for movement, along with the capacity for correcting speed to compensate for a standing wave.

Steps can be taken to break a standing wave however, very simple steps at that. Instead of slowing down to the speed of those cars when you get to them, slow down gradually from a distance, and leave space in front of you for a few cars. In the worse case you'll just move the wave backward a bit, but with a little practice you can obliterate that wave before you even get to it, simply by giving it time to dissipate. It's a simple matter of physics, to fuel a stable reaction you must provide a constant flow of fuel, destabilize that flow and the reaction will dissipate.

It's the entire purpose of the question on the written test for a drivers license "How many car spaces ahead of you should you maintain for x amount of speed". No amount of law or road fixes will compensate for bad driving habits.
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