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Traffic light

By ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker ·
I noticed the heavy volume on a recent post on bad drivers.

I spend almost 2 hours a day in traffic. I should carry a clicker sometime and count all of the traffic lights I go through, but it is upwards of 50 or more one way.

In this day of IT, why are traffic lights so horrible? There is one light that I have to go around since it will not allow me to go straight. Another light, that does left turn arrow first and only - yet no one ever turns that way. I see left turn lights that stay green way too long as well. I will not mention the light that catches me every morning that is there just for a department store that starts with a W*. Another light just seems to be there for the h of it. I could go on and on.

I estimate that 20-30 minutes a day are lost because lights are not operating properly.

Does any one else feel this way?

Is it safe to say that fixing these lights would greatly improve traffic and reduce pollution?

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I think it explains a lot too.

by TonytheTiger In reply to Deadly combination

Now it's not only 'fly over' country, it's 'drive over' too. People don't care who is inconvenienced, as long as it isn't them. So let's make Hicksville spend a lot of money on traffic systems so people from somewhere else don't have to slow down when driving through there. God forbid a piece of rust from one of those old pickup trucks might settle on the hood af the Beemer and scratch it!

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We need a portable RADAR sign with a traffic camera

by OnTheRopes In reply to I think it explains a lot ...

The Sheriff?s Traffic Safety Officer has had our road on a waiting list for one of their Speed RADAR signs. The speed limit past my house is 35 mph but because it?s fairly rural, compared to a city, people speed up EB (towards us) as soon as they get past the Fire Station and RR tracks to the west of us one mile.

My closest neighbor on the opposite side of the road EB has 6 kids. None of them are teens yet. They?re often out in their front yard playing like kids do, while their Mother watches them. There?s a 35mph sign on the shoulder in front of their house 100 yd.?s past the Sheriffs sign and another one a half-mile past that one.

I?ve been trying to get the County to install guard-rails in front of my house after seeing a roll-over accident directly across the road into an empty field last year. If they had rolled as far towards my house at the speed they were going they would?ve ended up in my first floor bedroom.

My front yard is four feet lower than the road in some places, low enough to qualify for guard-rails. There is only a three foot shoulder. The Sheriff Deputies and other officers, who have been over here as guests, say that it?s not unrealistic to believe that if someone launches at speed from the road they could land right in my bedroom. I think I could do it at 55mph if I wanted to try it. I?ve always been concerned about that ever since we moved here.

Many drivers use our road as a short-cut to get to the State Highway. I watched the RADAR sign from my yard today when I?d go outside and smoke a cigarette. The fastest I saw were a half-dozen random vehicles running at 60 to 63, some of them never slowing down the entire way thru the 35 mph zone. Easily 60% of the drivers were 10+ over the speed limit and accelerating. It was closer to 80% a few times so I?m using 60% to be conservative. In my book, 10+ over is clearly ticket writing speed.

I may have spent 20 minutes, in total, watching the sign. People would slow as soon as they saw that I was looking at them with my patented "friendly look". Tooooo phony... err... I mean funny. :^0 B-)

Keep in mind that this is Sunday. The volume isn't very high today, even during the week, but there's plenty of traffic during shift change hours.

I live 6 miles from a population center of any size so most of the drivers aren?t from here. Without being able to give an accurate number I will still say that the vast majority of the drivers who were running the fastest are driving vehicles costing $35K+. It?s a really popular short-cut. Maybe if my neighbors and I had huge houses people would slow down more because we?d be ?respectable?. There are a couple of places nearby where a tornado could come thru and do $50K worth of improvements, ifyouknowwhatImean.

There aren?t 100 houses on this stretch of road. That doesn?t matter. It?s zoned 35mph for good reasons. Kids play here, there?s a church and an active fire-station nearby, several houses are closer to the road than mine and/or have yards lower, etc.

One of the local Constables lives on this road too. Local cops, Deputies and Michigan State Police run regular stings for speed here. I?m highly in favor of that. That slows people down for about a week or so. I love to see the Lexus?s and whatever pulled over for a ticket while they?re loaded up with the entire ?fam damnily?. It makes me smile. B-)

Not only don't they care about my neighbors they don't even care about their own families. Maybe that ticket will make them think.

Edit "," . Sure...

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Wasn't there a state

by TonytheTiger In reply to We need a portable RADAR ...

One of the western states I think, who deployed a device to make radar detectors go off at random intervals?

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I'm not sure

by OnTheRopes In reply to Wasn't there a state

I never had a Radar detector in my big-ride and don't use one now so I haven't paid any attention. I've heard that Weigh Stations and patrol officers can detect detectors but I haven't used Google to find out for certain.

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It just isn't that simple

by dogknees In reply to Traffic light

If it was as simple as you think to do this, it would certainly be done. One primary reason it isn't simple is that the lights you want changed to suit you would almost certainly adversely affect other road users.

One of the classic simulation exercises is to write a traffic sim with lights. It's still not a fully solved problem as most programmers learn when trying to get their sim to work better. It's usually a case of disadvantaging one group to help another.

There is still a lot of research going into this, but to apply some of the technology that is in development requires significant infrastructure (cameras covering every parts of every road in the system) and major computing resources to recognize cars, trucks, bikes,... You've then got to factor in things like weather (you can't travel as fast or as close together in wet weather) accidents, priority vehicles( from firetrucks to presidential motorcades), direction of travel(people travelling west at sunset can't see as well), damaged roads, accidents,....

Then you get the idiot who when they see a light go red ahead, slow down and roll upto the intersection rather than continue and brake a little harder when they get close. There's often someone behind that wants to turn at those lights but can't because of the "rollers".

Predicting which cars will roll up to the lights rather than driving up to them isn't a simple problem!

All in all it just ain't that simple.

Roll on automated cars. Then you have control over the whole system, and though it may take a vast amount of processing power, it would be far more feasible

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No movement

My main complaint was that lights should see that there is no movement in a given direction, but there is a car waiting in another, so change the light more quickly.
Also, I was complaining about the left turn arrows that ALWAYS come on but are rarely used.

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Left turn arrows are needed in many places

by Why Me Worry? In reply to No movement

If it weren't for those left turn arrows, you simple would be sitting in the left turn lane for about 20 minutes like an idiot, waiting for the opportunity to turn because traffic is so heavy and nobody, I mean nobody, will yield to allow you to make a left turn.

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Last time I checked

by LAConvis In reply to Left turn arrows are need ...

The last time I checked the rules on left turns there is no requirment to yield to left turns. Do you think it would be better for someone to stop the traffic behind them and cause a pile up just to allow you to complete your left turn? Do we change the laws and re-educate every driver to be courteous and yield to left turns? If I were waiting 20 minutes to make a left, I would find another route to my destination that was less constricting.

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You missed my point completely

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Last time I checked

I am not advocating what you are claiming, but if it weren't for left turn arrows on heavy intersections, it would be impossible to make that turn at all. Yes, you could look for an alternate route, but that is sometimes not feasible or not available at all. Yes, the separate left turn signal causes regular traffic to have to wait longer for their light, but if it decreases accidents by preventing drivers turning left from cutting off cross traffic to squeeze through the intersection, then it isn't such a bad idea.

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Complexity and Cost

by Wayne M. In reply to It just isn't that simple

gbently just touched on the difficulties. The problem is not in tuning a single traffic light, it is in tuning a vast set of traffic lights.

The simplest approach is applying a static pattern to traffic lights in one specific direction of flow. Main street is tuned for inbound traffic in the morning and outbound traffic in the evening. This optimization, however, degrades all other paths. Furthermore, when somthing out of the normal happens, a road closure, repavement, a fender-bender, the optimization fails. The larger the stretch of the optimized path, the more likely a failure condition will occur.

Addressing a traffic mesh presents a terribly complex problem that probably defies human capacity to form an algorithm. The solution would require a self learning, fuzzy logic approach based on a vast set of ground sensors feeding a central control system for all traffic lights. Predictive algorithms would have to learned to understand how traffic flow at point A affects points B, C, and D. It is unclear, however, what level of improvement might result. One might find that thousands of people making independent decisions have already tuned the system.

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