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Could these crazy intersections make us safer?
Old 01-29-2013, 02:53 PM   #1
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Could these crazy intersections make us safer?

I'm mostly going for initially reaction here, so I'd ask you to look at the picture of the new proposed intersection below before reading the article. At first I couldn't figure out how it was supposed to work just looking at the picture.

After reading the article and watching the vids I understand, but I'm not advocating for or against. Our little town has replaced several intersections with roundabouts. It took residents a month or two to catch on to the first one, but they're a huge improvement IMO. And when I learned to drive in NJ they had "jug handle" turns, seemed silly when I was younger but not anymore.

With the scheme below you'd better know if you want to turn well in advance too. The days of deciding to turn when you get to the intersection would be over with. And if you move to a turn lane and want to go straight after all...oh my!

Could These Crazy Intersections Make Us Safer? - Commute - The Atlantic Cities
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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Interesting. A recent proposal in our hometown (for a road I travel quite a bit) has something sort of similar in mind. I studied the video and *think* I get it, but I wonder, too.

superstreet - YouTube
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
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It looks like a lot more land area would be needed for most of them presented....

I can also see a lot of accidents at night when it is raining hard on those that have your cross over and cross back... I am sure a number of people will miss the first cross over....

I will say that when I was in Egypt, I was surprised that they had very few lights in some places... they used a version of the Michigan left... but IIRC, they did not have the side street go straight through... if you wanted to stay on a minor street, you turn right, did a U turn and made another right... which just kept you straight on your street... there were a few round-a-bouts also...
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:32 PM   #4
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Once we have the cars that drive themselves, it should be no problem
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Once we have the cars that drive themselves, it should be no problem
Very good point. "They" say we may start to see them in 5 years...
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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We have a "Continuous Flow Intersection" not far from my house, it looks a bit like the one in the OP, though simpler. I've seen several wreck cleanups in progress when I drive by, probably a bit more frequently than standard intersections. And I can see how it happens.

From linked article at the OP:
Quote:
“The biggest problem is that you can educate locally as many people as you can reach,” Sangster admits. “But there’s always going to be somebody visiting from out of town.”
+1. There's something to be said for standardization. A driver shouldn't have to figure out a different puzzle each time. The computer simulations that assume the cars are omniscient don't reflect the behavior of real drivers.

It's a bit like being in a town that uses a lot of parallel access roads neear main arteries, one way streets, and non-standard cloverleaf intersections (missing a lobe, etc). It probably looked great in the computer simulations, but works less well in practice.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:15 PM   #7
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There are many continuous flow intersections where I live. They are a little confusing, and occasionally you do see someone going the wrong way after making a right turn. However, they have done wonders in some very busy intersections to ease congestion and reduce wait time. They are not perfect, but they do work.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:16 PM   #8
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During a recent mainland trip, I ran across several ways of dealing with intersections. They all have their plusses and minuses. But, here is where I have the biggest problem: If you can consistently follow all the signs, there is a good likelihood that you will end up where you want to go. If, as in my case, you tend to be too "literal", OR expect that the signs will be consistent, you may end up in the wrong state.

Sometimes there are so many signs that it's impossible not to miss one or even misinterpret it. Having DW along probably doubles the chances of making a mistake as she thinks "backward" of me. Also, using any visual cues or intuition will almost always get you going the wrong way. (e.g., I KNOW that I'm going north and my destination is east, so I should turn right. Right? Probably not!) You MUST follow each and every sign flawlessly, without distraction (e.g., heavy traffic, weather, "idiots", etc.)

I suppose it's just the future of traffic control. But, it reinforces the concept of travel as 99% boredom and 1% stark terror. Only the terror comes from the simple act of wanting to change from one highway to another. Guess I'm getting too old for these new-fangled roads. YMMV
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:16 PM   #9
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I'd love to see roundabouts become a standard as they are in some states/countries, but who knows...
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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There is a notorious roundabout in my home town (Cork, Ireland) that is known as the Magic Roundabout because if you escape, it's magic. It is so complex that there is a tutorial:

Kinsale Road Roundabout « PaulAllenAuto's Blog
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:01 PM   #11
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some other possibilities :
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:19 AM   #12
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If it wasn't for those cross-overs well back from the intersection, I'd be less concerned. It really does put people who aren't local at a distinct disadvantage and in a way sets them up for failure one way or another. And here in the Northeast, the extra space needed would be prohibitive in any non-highway intersection that has enough traffic to warrant rebuilding. We couldn't even get people to agree to build the minimal amount of highway our burgeoning population density called for.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:38 AM   #13
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Like most other effort to improve traffic flow, this will probably end as "less effective than planned". There are just too many idiots bad drivers out there who follow their own rules or wait until it is too late to actually read the sign. The best approach to solving traffic problems is fewer cars on the road.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:31 AM   #14
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Our little town just made a major change to avoid a 2 1/2 minute light at an intersection... Cut the light change time down to 1 minute, but requires a 3/4 mile detour and cuts off businesses on one side of the road...
Some day we'll get smart enough to hire a traffic engineer, instead of doing it in the city council.

The Villages in FL has made great use of the roundabouts...
Very smooth, and few lights.
Here's an interesting challenge: Houston
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:53 AM   #15
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Our little town just made a major change to avoid a 2 1/2 minute light at an intersection... Cut the light change time down to 1 minute, but requires a 3/4 mile detour and cuts off businesses on one side of the road...
Some day we'll get smart enough to hire a traffic engineer, instead of doing it in the city council.

The Villages in FL has made great use of the roundabouts...
Very smooth, and few lights.
Here's an interesting challenge: Houston

Heck, that isn't even a bad one.... try this...


Google Maps
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:59 AM   #16
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It's a good thing more and more people have GPS/nav systems in cars these days, makes navigating unfamiliar complex intersections a lot easier (if the route decisions don't come at the driver too fast, not always a given). I know I've traveled by car in some cities where the GPS instructions seemed counterintuitive, but were ultimately correct.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:52 AM   #17
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The best approach to solving traffic problems is fewer cars on the road.
My Dad always said the best approach was to outlaw automatic chokes and automatic transmissions. Fewer cars on the road and more skilled drivers according to him.

As I get older I find it more and more difficult to deal with unfamiliar traffic patterns. I am not sure if this is due to poorer eyesight and slower reflexes or a more acute awareness of the consequences of a mistake.
When I travel somewhere new I usually look over the route on google maps to get an overall idea of what to expect. This is in addition to using the GPS in the car.

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:58 AM   #18
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My Dad always said the best approach was to outlaw automatic chokes and automatic transmissions.
Might cut down on car thefts, too...

Would-be carjackers foiled by mysteries of the stick shift | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:26 AM   #19
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Like most other effort to improve traffic flow, this will probably end as "less effective than planned". There are just too many idiots bad drivers out there who follow their own rules or wait until it is too late to actually read the sign. The best approach to solving traffic problems is fewer cars on the road.
And there's a good body of work that suggests expanding roads to reduce fewer cars on the road has not been effective. I've read several good articles in Atlantic Cities and elsewhere demonstrating the phenomena - 'no good deed goes unpunished.'
Induced demand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:42 AM   #20
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Just looking at that thing gives me a headache. I'm glad Moscow doesn't have to deal with traffic at all.
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