From: Sean Morrison Date: Wed, 4 Oct 1995 16:34:34 -0400 Here in New Orleans the lights are all set completely at random, and all the yellow lights last different lengths of time. There is clearly no science to that. In Montreal, the lights are set at the legal limit, and yes, even I followed the limit when that was the case. This simple point could save many lives if it were instated in the US. From: Bob Morrow &th;firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 00:28:24 -0400 I happen to agree with one person's opinion here about "all-red" intersections. We'll make every intersection's lights go all-red for a few seconds, then a few more, etc. What will happen is the drivers will figure this out and simply go when they see the other side is red. They will then be cited for running a red light when they had no reason to sit still. From: Shawn Holyoak <email@example.com> Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 19:07:29 -0400 (EDT) You requested examples of roads that dealt with speed limits and stop lights. Michigan Ave. in running from the west suburbs of Detroit all the way into Detroit is a perfect road in this way. If one drives five over ( a speed where most cops will let you alone), one can drive the 20 or so miles into Detroit stopping only once or twice (even that can be avoided if one knows where to speed up slightly!):-). The great thing is, even during rush hour when the road is extremely busy, traffic flows wonderfully. The entire reason for this is that the several cities through which Michigan Ave. passes have gotten together and set up a reasonable speed limit. Traffic flows great and I see few accidents. (Statistics on accidents would be interesting to see though). I agree with your basic premises too. Speed does not kill. Facts show that the majority of accidents occur because someone runs a red light or other brainless maneuver. Keep up the good work! From: Angela Leigh Hyrne <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sat, 19 Aug 1995 12:49:12 -0400 I am an engineer in the Air Force. I am currently stationed in Wichita, KS; where there are seemingly no such thing as traffic engineers. We have 25mph and 30mph speed limits through downtown areas with four lanes of traffic. This is ludicrous! Most people drive comfortably at 40mph, but if you get caught...you, and your insurance, are screwed. Also, for some stupid reason, there are very few roads with middle turn lanes. When there does happen to be a middle turn lane, no one knows what it is for, and therefore, no one uses it. This is poor planning/engineering!! It is also a show of the stupidity of the drivers around here. There is one, maybe two, streets through downtown Wichita that have synchronized lights (most of the way, anyway). Basically, if you are driving at the posted speed limit, which is 35 on this street, you will catch all but the last one. Obviously, someone has a basic understanding of the concept. If only the city were smart enough to apply it everywhere else. Most of the time, the lights seem to be synchronized so that you catch every light red. Rumor has it that the city does this to make it look like Wichita is a thriving metropolis. Enough complaining. Yes, lights are supposed to be synchronized so that if you are constantly doing the speed limit, you should catch them all green. Yellow lights are supposed to be timed according to the speed of traffic, (the speed limit), and the safe stopping distance/time of an automobile; so that no one has to slam on their brakes in order to stop on time. The length of green lights, yellow lights, and the time period where all lights are red are based on the volume and speed of current traffic, factored with safe stopping distances, speed, acceleration rates, and human factors such as recognition times, and impatience (people running through yellow lights), etc. These traffic studies should be updated more often!!! Maybe then they would notice that the speed limits are set too low. From: Matthew T. Russotto <email@example.com> Date: Sun, 8 Oct 1995 23:55:58 -0400 In Maryland and Pennsylvania, speed limits on secondary roads are often as big a joke as the double nickel. In Maryland, the lights are NOT synchronized to the limit-- they appear to be synchronized to something approximating the real traffic speed. This means that if you do drive the limit, you'll hit every light. I originally thought this was a clever way of making more money for the state, but more likely the traffic engineers set the lights and the politicians set the limits. PA doesn't appear to have traffic engineers... this state does stupid things like setting lights to no cycle and 3rd car detection (so if you're the only car there, you'll wait indefinitely) As for yellow and all-red time, there's a basic problem. The traffic engineers set them for a certain margin of safety. Most drivers prefer a smaller margin of safety, and do so by running the yellows and the double-reds. This seems to lead to longer and longer all-red times, which causes more and more drivers to run them. This is especially true during rush hour, when the all-red is mostly unnecessary because no one is entering the intersection at high speeds -- people are simply taking turns, and the all-red period just wastes the intersection. In PA, the lights are set on such a short cycle that if people actually respected the yellows and the all-reds, the intersections would be empty more than half the time. Of course, nobody obeys the lights. What does PA do? They have one of the richest communities in the country, Radnor Township, apply for federal aid to fight red-light runners.... *sigh*. (fortunately the money seems to be going for donuts instead) Guys: hire some traffic engineers.
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