This Week in Traffic: 19 March 2007

Traffic Signal “Synchronization”

This article discusses a city initiative to “synchronize” their traffic signals. As a traffic engineer, I try to avoid the term “synchronize” because that’s not what we do (I apologize if this is pedantic). To synchronize a signal network would cause all signals to be green or red or amber at the same time. What they mean is coordinate, and I heartily encourage them to do it. I only hope they realize that they have to maintain the coordination which requires funds for their signal engineers and technicians, indefinitely.

Traffic Signal Coordination

Here’s an article that treats the subject (see above) well. Not only do you have to go and program all these signals, but you need to adjust and maintain them over the long term. Traffic changes accumulate and what works this week may be terrible next year.

Java Traffic Simulation (redux)

This web app for a traffic simulation has been blogged about again.

Copper Theft in Hawaii

Copper has been trending up in the markets for the past few years, to the point where theft of home plumbing is a cost-effective business. Hawaii has been having problems with copper wire being stolen from the highways.

Chicken Fat Jam

Don’t count your chicken fat before it’s scooped off the highway.

Comments about Driving Habits and Cats

Title says it all.

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2 Responses to This Week in Traffic: 19 March 2007

  1. Annie says:

    Regarding signal coordination – there was a news blurb up here about how the state of CT was going to have to spend $X to pay the guys to go around and reset the lights for the earlier daylight savings time. Apparently, a number of them need manual resetting.

  2. Bill says:

    There are a lot of controllers sitting at signals that do not have the sort of programmable interface that people of today’s generation would take for granted. Hell, I know of at least one city in Texas that still has a signal that works on gears. It’s called an electromechanical controller, and it works like a mechanical timer switch for your house lights—You put the pins on the clock wheel at the time you want the lights to come on and as the clock turns, it activates (or deactivates). Same things with the electromechanical, except that there are several wheels and they turn faster.

    Not that I think there are a lot of these things out there, and I’m 99.44% sure that there are none at important intersections, but the latest and greatest signal controllers with all of the bells and whistles have only been around 5 years or so.

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