This Week in Traffic: 2 August 2007

Global Warming all Bad?

If, as posited, global climate change causes the norther polar icecap to disappear entirely (or even partially) new shipping routes will open up from Europe to Asia; the fabled Northwest Passage will be open. The US Coast Guard will need to redeploy to handle the shipping.

Traffic Helicopter Loses Power, Crashes

It’s not a good week for News copters. First two collided over Phoenix, Arizona, killing everyone, then this one goes down in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Houston Citizens Transportation Coalition

Many cities across the US attempt to mobilize their citizenry to supply input into major projects that affect them and their neighborhoods. From my perspective as a traffic engineer, it’s always helpful to win over the locals before presenting a project to everyone; you will have advocates with automatic credibility arguing for your side, which saves time and effort (or the entire project). Houston has a citizens advisory committee for transportation concerns.

Bad Year for Bridges in California

I’m not superstitious; I don’t think things come in threes, but if they do, what bridge collapse is next in California?
EDIT: I composed this entry before the Minneapolis bridge collapse. I predict that the professional societies I attend will go through another round of bridge maintenance discussions.

Foreign Currency in NYC Parking Meters

Need drachmas? How about shillings? Pesos? Rupees? Just head on down to New York City and place a bid on foreign coins found in parking meters.

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2 Responses to This Week in Traffic: 2 August 2007

  1. Jim says:

    Have any studies been done as to the efficacy of traffic copters as a traffic control device? Or are they solely informational? I know that people listen, but does anyone actually change their planned route based on the information they receive?

    At least here in the middle of nowhere, the traffic is barely bad enough to warrant traffic reports. And my two experiences living in rather large cities taught me that traffic report or not, the alternate routes were significantly enough out of my way that there wasn’t about to be enough difference to make up the time lost sitting in traffic. (Or, the secondary effect appears: everyone that heard the traffic report chooses the alternate route, which clogs that up real quick.)

  2. Bill says:

    I don’t know that newscopter traffic reports affect driving changes generally, but there have been studies that show that an Intelligent Transportation System such as is found in Atlanta ( does affect people’s driving habits and routes.

    Speaking personally, I have made changes to my travel routes because of information I’ve heard on the radio. Of course, a lot of that information doesn’t come from helicopters, but from a dude or dudette sitting in front of a computer looking at the information provided by Georgia Navigator.

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