We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Ah, evidence. Traffic wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for all those other idiots.
The zipper merge can be a wonderful thing, until someone doesn't pay enough attention and doesn't leave a gap, or does it on purpose, or a rubbernecker breaks while in the single-lane to see the what the h... they are doing.
And "maintain speed and distance" that is a laugh. When driving long distance I like to stay in the hole between wads of cars. It seems human or perhaps cars are pack animals and will mass together rather than travel alone down the highway. But I've found there is no speed you can go where you won't eventually start encountering the back of the pack ahead of you or the head of the pack behind you and often you get tangled up as one pack migrates through another.
It is interesting that the ideas for smooth traffic is for there to be no individuality.
But the article doesn't address one big issue I've notice for routine traffic jams in spots, perspective. I-270 in Maryland coming toward DC has a lot of rolling hills. Drivers top one hill see what they perceive as a backup going up the next and brake sending a wave into the following traffic. Then they go down the hill before finding no traffic jam and smooth flow at the bottom up to the next crest. Perspective, the cars going up the hill appear backed up like clouds on the horizon. They need to put sight distance barriers to block the view. Same on some curves on the Beltway where drivers, unaccustomed can see to far ahead and perceive the traffic as backed up. Same on Southbound I-5 in Seattle crossing the Washington Ship canal, brake, causing densification only after across the canal to discover almost no traffic. There is a similar spot, caused by a curve rather than a hill, on the H-1 in Honolulu.
T.V.'s explanation of why drivers merge "too soon" is debatable. I suspect it has less to do with trying to be "being polite" and more to do with their distrust that fellow drivers will be polite enough to allow them to merge in if they stay in the merging lane to its very end. No one relishes the idea of getting trapped in a tight bottleneck. I call it "auto claustrophobia."
At the beginning of his talk, he also mischaracterizes and perhaps misunderstands the controversy surrounding the traffic signal at the intersection of Kalakaua Ave. and Kapiolani Blvd. in Honolulu, which (as it happens) figured prominently in the community debate over whether a multi-billion dollar fixed-rail mass transit system was truly needed to relieve traffic congestion or whether the problem could be solved by much less expensive piecemeal solutions (e.g., a road underpass at this busy intersection, which would allow traffic to flow freely in both directions by eliminating the traffic signals at that location).
NPR has an interesting article about strategies to increase revenue at red light cams. As most Maggie's readers know, it's all about the revenue:
"Traffic engineers are facing an ethical dilemma of balancing revenue generation to sustain their red-light camera programs with their traffic safety and efficiency goals," of Tennessee's civil engineering department. "This is a new conundrum for them."
Regulate e-cigs, cause everybody knows without government approval, everything is dangerous. I wonder though if they are also motivated by tobacco settlement money, it drops as the sale of cigarettes decrease. Then there's the whole issue of taxation...
America's Cup, I suppose I should RAH RAH USA but looks more like a triumph of rules lawyering and deep pockets than seamanship.