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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Ideas for making road intersection traffic lights / robots more efficient in order to aid in traffic flow

Idea for traffic lights to decrease the response times of drivers to get off at the lights.
Have warning lights like a countdown light to indicate that it's almost time for the driver to go.
I know, I know... people would object profusely to this idea because they will say "well, this will encourage street drag racing". Well, I mean for one, street drag racers are idiots and they're going to do it no matter what.
Yes it could potentially encourage street drag racers so in order to get around this - all of the lanes would be offset. They wouldn't be in a straight line.
Even if you didn't have the countdowns, having the offset lanes would help to discourage street drag racing as there would be an unfair advantage to one or more of the parties, therefore people wouldn't want a bar of it.
Additionally, you could place red light cameras at every set of lights which use digital cameras and are networked back to base - requiring minimal maintenance. As the red light camera road sensors would be placed according to the lane offset - if drag racers want to line up in the same line - they will be pinged by the red light camera.

On top of this, road management organisations should shorten the length of traffic light changes by a large degree - with particular emphasis on Perth's (Western Australia) traffic light changes which are seemingly up to 3 minutes in some places.
This works towards avoiding giving drivers a chance to get distracted and lose focus. With long changes, people start doing their makeup, brushing their hair, popping pimples, picking their noses, texting, day dreaming, reading, the list goes on.
I cannot go a day driving in Perth where a person waiting at lights has lost focus and is doing one of the above things - requiring a friendly honk of the horn to alert them that it's there turn to move on. Then by the time they finally pull away, the light changes as there's been no traffic flowing over the sensors and the lights believe there's nobody else coming. Very annoying at peak times to say the least.

I believe this idea would contribute to driver attention being maintained and increase efficiency of traffic flow.

I also believe that stacking up bumper to bumper at the lights causes take off times to be decreased as each driver has to wait for the driver in front to move a reasonable distance away, prior to starting to move themselves.
If drivers leave at least one car space between them and the driver in front, combined with the countdown idea above, drivers could take off at the same time. This would allow more traffic through the intersection before the next change - instead of the concertina slow take off effect from the typical driver bumper to bumper line up deal we see everyday.
To enforce this - you could mandate (via petty fines) that gaps of a minimum length are left while waiting at lights. You could also potentially have painted markers of metres going back from the traffic lights to assist drivers with abiding by this. Unfortunately that may negate the anti-street drag racing ideas above.
It could be possible for a government subsidised front sensor to be deployed on all vehicles. Heck - they made immobilizers mandatory, why not front sensors that are all set to the required distance. This sensor would beep when getting too close to the minimum distance and then go to a solid tone if you pass beyond the distance. This idea could also be used on highways to avoid tailgating - the source of many, many highway/freeway accidents and then mass delays for everyone else.

Another idea is to have road based sensors in all lanes on all roads coming into the intersection, a good distance away from the intersection - this could then determine if traffic is coming or not and allow for parties arriving to receive a green light immediately where there is no traffic coming from the other roads at that time. If traffic was coming from all roads, usual timers would take precedence.
I hope I'm making sense?

One day I'll put together some diagrams (famous last words).

If you want to ask any questions or point out any additional ideas or faults with my ideas, please post below - I would like to encourage discussions and ideas around this topic.
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