Congestion and gridlock is the antithesis of traffic flow. I wrote earlier how having to wait for the green arrow to display in order to turn left in designated left-turn lanes is inefficiency to the hilt. Just my opinion.
The most basic methods used to regulate traffic are signage, channelization (as in traffic circles), signalization and signal manipulation (e.g. signal synchronization), and these most basic methods have been around for some time.
Question: Would there be total dysfunction without some type of traffic regulatory framework in place? I would tend to think not but I would imagine it would depend on the case.
Say, for example, intersections lacked signs and/or signalization. My take is, erring on the side of caution, motorists would first stop and then proceed, but only when safe to do so. In all likelihood, proceeding would be on a basis of: the first motorist to arrive is the first one through. It would seem logical.
I am appreciative of the fact that there is signage, signalization and channelization insofar as this is applied intelligently.
What I have never given any thought to – that is until now – to control traffic and hence control emissions, is this idea of limited or regulated access. As it stands, it is pretty much open access which means anyone licensed to operate a motor vehicle can drive wherever and whenever they choose, that is, where access, of course, is not restricted.
So what I’m specifically thinking of is severely constrained traffic on a freeway.
To provide a case in point, in traveling on Interstate 405 once headed to LAX, from the intersection of California State Route 101 and I-405 all the way to the airport, it was bumper-to-bumper and stop-and-go traffic. Stuck in the traffic snarl, my thoughts turned toward there being an alternate route to get me to that destination faster. But, then again, if there was one, others would surely be using it, I reasoned, so I stayed put.
Anyone who drives California’s freeways should be familiar with electronic sign or display boards. Wouldn’t it be great if the same information that is displayed on these message boards could likewise be displayed to drivers inside their vehicles so that the driver in question could be kept informed of area traffic conditions at all times; those that would affect the driver in question and not just when the driver comes within eyeshot of the road-mounted sign. Taking this one step farther, not only would such road-mounted signs be unnecessary, but signage (visual blight?) along roads could be reduced. Maybe this day is coming. Maybe it is already here. Automobile manufacturers would need to get on board.
With something on this order, there is the potential for traffic flow to be more efficient and, in essence, is what this discussion really all boils down to.
This is a case where technology could answer the call in helping motorists navigate area roads more efficiently, resulting in more efficient movement of traffic, leading to fewer traffic tie-ups and, ultimately, fewer emissions.
Remember, Americans waste 2.9 billion gallons of fuel due to delay annually. At an average of $3.50 for a gallon of gas, that is $10.15 billion up in smoke – needlessly.