Discussion:
What are the major flaws in the US road system?
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Jonathan Grobe
2004-10-12 18:01:22 UTC
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Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
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Chris Bessert
2004-10-12 18:27:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
That it's not perfect.

That about sums it up for me... :^)

Later,
Chris
--
Chris Bessert
***@aol.com
http://www.michiganhighways.org
http://www.wisconsinhighways.org
http://www.ontariohighways.org
ill
2004-10-12 19:27:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Bessert
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
That it's not perfect.
That about sums it up for me... :^)
Later,
Chris
First Flaw - we are way to dependant on it but we basically invented it.
(Driving around all the time) There was a great "Modern Marvels" on the
History channel that talks about how the Interstate sytem was created
and how many of those ideas came from the German Autobahn but the US
chose for quantity over quality.

Personal issues...

- That you can't just drive from Philly to NYC on Interstate 95.
- That most licensed drivers never received any formal training.
- That you get a licence to early in life (drive before you can drink??)
....a 16 y/o can drive a 6000 pound Suburban at 65 down a highway but
isn't responsible enough to drink?....
- That you get to keep that license basically until you die or a doctor
takes it from you...
Andrew Szafran
2004-10-12 20:04:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by ill
Personal issues...
- That you can't just drive from Philly to NYC on Interstate 95.
They're fixing that in a few years (2007?) by building a freeway
interchange between I-276 and I-95 in PA. The new routing of I-95 will be
via the NJ Turnpike from NYC to I-276, and then duplexed with 276 until
the current I-95. I-95 in PA north of 276 will become 295.

-Andrew
Jeff Kitsko
2004-10-12 20:16:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Szafran
Post by ill
Personal issues...
- That you can't just drive from Philly to NYC on Interstate 95.
They're fixing that in a few years (2007?) by building a freeway
interchange between I-276 and I-95 in PA. The new routing of I-95 will be
via the NJ Turnpike from NYC to I-276, and then duplexed with 276 until
the current I-95. I-95 in PA north of 276 will become 295.
It'll take longer than that to complete, as the project has just shifted
into the design phase: http://www.paturnpike.com/i95/. Also, the I-276
designation will be truncated at the I-95 interchange instead of continuing
to the New Jersey line.
--
Jeff Kitsko
Pennsylvania Highways: http://www.pahighways.com/
Ohio Highways: http://www.ohhighways.com/
Mitsguy2001
2004-10-12 23:19:33 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Re: What are the major flaws in the US road system?
Date: 10/12/2004 3:27 PM Eastern Standard Time
Post by Chris Bessert
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
That it's not perfect.
That about sums it up for me... :^)
Later,
Chris
First Flaw - we are way to dependant on it but we basically invented it.
(Driving around all the time) There was a great "Modern Marvels" on the
History channel that talks about how the Interstate sytem was created
and how many of those ideas came from the German Autobahn but the US
chose for quantity over quality.
Personal issues...
- That you can't just drive from Philly to NYC on Interstate 95.
In a few years, you will be able to.
- That most licensed drivers never received any formal training.
Probably a driving course should be a requirement in all states.
- That you get a licence to early in life (drive before you can drink??)
....a 16 y/o can drive a 6000 pound Suburban at 65 down a highway but
isn't responsible enough to drink?....
I think the reason is because in many situations, it is nearly impossible to be
able to get around anywhere without driving, but drinking is more of a luxury
that is not necessary. I personally don't even agree with a minimum age for
driving: it should be based more on skills and maturity. There are probably a
lot of 14 or 15 year olds who have a legitimate reason to need to drive and
have the skills and maturity to drive; and, there are probably a lot of older
adults who do not have the skills necessary to drive. I do not agree, however,
with the 21 year old drinking age. I guess I just don't agree with assigning a
chronological age to anything, since it is so meaningless.
- That you get to keep that license basically until you die or a doctor
takes it from you...
Or until the cops and courts take it from you.
Arif Khokar
2004-10-12 19:19:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
The numerical values on most speed limit signs ;)
John A. Weeks III
2004-10-12 20:17:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arif Khokar
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
The numerical values on most speed limit signs ;)
Ain't that the truth. The cars are wizzing by so fast that
I might have to get that cataract operation afterall.

-john-
--
====================================================================
John A. Weeks III 952-432-2708 ***@johnweeks.com
Newave Communications http://www.johnweeks.com
====================================================================
Arif Khokar
2004-10-12 20:29:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by John A. Weeks III
Post by Arif Khokar
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
The numerical values on most speed limit signs ;)
Ain't that the truth. The cars are wizzing by so fast that
I might have to get that cataract operation afterall.
That would explain your lack of depth perception ;)
Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
2004-10-12 21:46:32 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 18:01:22 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
Too many freeways and bypasses, and not enough access for people who
can't afford cars (I'm referring to the near-total lack of facilities
for bicyclists). Combined with the right-wing attitude that only those
who drive the biggest SUV should be allowed on the road, this is a
recipe for disaster.

Another flaw is new subdivisions that form bottlenecks by having a
severely limited number of entrances.
Andrew Szafran
2004-10-12 22:41:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 18:01:22 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
Too many freeways and bypasses, and not enough access for people who
can't afford cars (I'm referring to the near-total lack of facilities
Freeways and bypasses are just fine, as long as pedestrian and bicycle
traffic has a way to cross them - fairly frequent over/underpasses where
local streets exist. Remember that a car driving at a constant 70-80 mph
is a lot more efficient than one stop-and-going it's way along local
roads.

Where no other crossings exist nearby, freeway bridges over large natural
obstacles should incorporate pedestrian walkways.
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
Another flaw is new subdivisions that form bottlenecks by having a
severely limited number of entrances.
Agreed, actually.

And the "gated" aspect of many of those subdivisions makes their residents
feel apart from the community at large. I'd rather see more mixed-use
"small town" type development outside of major cities.

-Andrew
Froggie
2004-10-12 23:31:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Szafran
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
Too many freeways and bypasses, and not enough access for people who
can't afford cars (I'm referring to the near-total lack of facilities
Freeways and bypasses are just fine, as long as pedestrian and bicycle
traffic has a way to cross them - fairly frequent over/underpasses where
local streets exist. Remember that a car driving at a constant 70-80 mph
is a lot more efficient than one stop-and-going it's way along local
roads.
Where no other crossings exist nearby, freeway bridges over large natural
obstacles should incorporate pedestrian walkways.
I've known cases where building a freeway was the only way to get a bicycle
route built along a given corridor...

While I will agree that there aren't enough facilities for bicycles, that is not
a reason to argue that there are too many freeways and bypasses. If anything,
there AREN'T ENOUGH freeways and bypasses...

Froggie | Virginia Beach, VA | http://www.ajfroggie.com/roads/
Gal
2004-10-12 23:20:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 18:01:22 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
Florence Henderson had a Mullet !!!!
Too many freeways and bypasses, and not enough access for people who
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
can't afford cars (I'm referring to the near-total lack of facilities
Freeways and bypasses are just fine, as long as pedestrian and bicycle
traffic has a way to cross them - fairly frequent over/underpasses where
local streets exist. Remember that a car driving at a constant 70-80 mph
is a lot more efficient than one stop-and-going it's way along local
roads.
Where no other crossings exist nearby, freeway bridges over large natural
obstacles should incorporate pedestrian walkways.
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
Another flaw is new subdivisions that form bottlenecks by having a
severely limited number of entrances.
Agreed, actually.
And the "gated" aspect of many of those subdivisions makes their residents
feel apart from the community at large. I'd rather see more mixed-use
"small town" type development outside of major cities.
-Andrew
Sherman Cahal
2004-10-13 05:43:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Szafran
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 18:01:22 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
Too many freeways and bypasses, and not enough access for people who
can't afford cars (I'm referring to the near-total lack of facilities
Freeways and bypasses are just fine, as long as pedestrian and bicycle
traffic has a way to cross them - fairly frequent over/underpasses where
local streets exist. Remember that a car driving at a constant 70-80 mph
is a lot more efficient than one stop-and-going it's way along local
roads.
And more earth-friendly as well. However, the addition of all these
freeways has just elaborated America's dependence on automobiles even
more... sort of a no-win senario..
Post by Andrew Szafran
Where no other crossings exist nearby, freeway bridges over large natural
obstacles should incorporate pedestrian walkways.
Post by Florence Henderson Had A Mullet
Another flaw is new subdivisions that form bottlenecks by having a
severely limited number of entrances.
Agreed, actually.
And the "gated" aspect of many of those subdivisions makes their residents
feel apart from the community at large. I'd rather see more mixed-use
"small town" type development outside of major cities.
-Andrew
I agree with Tim and your statement on this. Several of my research
papers for my planning classes shows the trend towards mixed
development trends, such as Pullman Square in Huntington, WV,
developments at Morgantown, WV, etc...
Steve
2004-10-13 00:05:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
1) Roadways in older urban areas were built haphazardly (see New York
City, for example). The result of this is that there are missing
freeway connections that cannot be built because of neighborhoods in the
way, and many freeways take less than ideal routings. Also, the
constraints of these older roads often prevent them from being widened
to accommodate traffic. Europe did much better on this concept, with a
beltway around every major city, and the biggest cities being a focal
point of freeways. In the US, a lot of beltways are too large or small,
or misshapen, and many cities don't really have one at all.

2) Mountains. France in particular is good with tunnels through
mountains, while we try to fight our way over or through them. There
are missing connections across the Rocky Mountains, such as a diagonal
from Texas toward Seattle. The Appalachians have posed less of a
problem, though.

3) Greed. Small towns don't like bypasses, because then traffic doesn't
pass through them and stop at their stores, and traffic doesn't speed
and generate ticket revenue for the town. Residents may fight to keep a
road from expanding to accommodate its traffic load, say from two to
four lanes.

4) The American spirit. Europeans have been able to adapt to public
transportation, but we have not. Americans live in suburbs, Europeans
live in cities; Americans like to expand, Europeans like to be
efficient. Also, because our government is more capitalist than
socialist, public transportation isn't funded well enough, meaning that
even with fares that discourage many from using it, it still loses tons
of money. The effect of this is that a much greater load is placed upon
our highways; if public transportation were developed to the same degree
as the highway network, we wouldn't have capacity issues in nearly so
many places.
--
Steve
GO YANKEES! GO JETS!
Civil Engineering (Course 1) at MIT
Ingsoc75
2004-10-15 12:54:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
1) Roadways in older urban areas were built haphazardly (see New York
City, for example). The result of this is that there are missing
freeway connections that cannot be built because of neighborhoods in the
way, and many freeways take less than ideal routings. Also, the
constraints of these older roads often prevent them from being widened
to accommodate traffic. Europe did much better on this concept, with a
beltway around every major city, and the biggest cities being a focal
point of freeways. In the US, a lot of beltways are too large or small,
or misshapen, and many cities don't really have one at all.
2) Mountains. France in particular is good with tunnels through
mountains, while we try to fight our way over or through them. There
are missing connections across the Rocky Mountains, such as a diagonal
from Texas toward Seattle. The Appalachians have posed less of a
problem, though.
3) Greed. Small towns don't like bypasses, because then traffic doesn't
pass through them and stop at their stores, and traffic doesn't speed
and generate ticket revenue for the town. Residents may fight to keep a
road from expanding to accommodate its traffic load, say from two to
four lanes.
4) The American spirit. Europeans have been able to adapt to public
transportation, but we have not. Americans live in suburbs, Europeans
live in cities; Americans like to expand, Europeans like to be
efficient. Also, because our government is more capitalist than
socialist, public transportation isn't funded well enough, meaning that
even with fares that discourage many from using it, it still loses tons
of money. The effect of this is that a much greater load is placed upon
our highways; if public transportation were developed to the same degree
as the highway network, we wouldn't have capacity issues in nearly so
many places.
I agree with your comments Steve. Many people look at Amtrak as an
example of govt. transportation that doesn't work. Well maybe it
doesn't work in areas of the US where travel is measured in days
rather than hours but in concentrated areas of the country like the
northeasy corridor it works. When I lived in Philly it was much easier
to hop on a train to NYC or Boston rather than take a car or fly.
Would this work well travelling from let's say Davenport, Iowa to
Cleveland, Ohio? Probably not because it's too far away.

Invest train travel to areas of the country where you have many,
larger cities in a small area (California, Florida etc).
Dave Simpson
2004-10-14 00:36:19 UTC
Permalink
Many eastern roads are inferior. Along with being too narrow and
usually without a shoulder, creating conflicts between motorists and
cyclists, the roads often have a "spaghetti" pattern. There is no
need to pave over every wagon road and cow path that ever existed
somewhere. Many eastern roads are also in poor condition.

One of the additional problems, again found in parts of the eastern US
mainly, is the presence of toll booths on Interstate highways. There
never should be stops of any kind, not even slowdowns (electronic
toll-taking), no such hazards as well as interruptions whatsoever, on
the Interstate highway system.

Overall in the USA the presence of freeways constitutes a barrier that
inhibits or even prevents crossing in many places; especially in urban
areas, such a barrier as a freeway right-of-way should be very
"porous."

Even with the faults of existing US freeways, these are noteworthy as
well because the system is incomplete. Some completions were not done
when they could or should have been done and they'll never be done
now. It is not simply a case such as lacking parts of the freeway
grid of Los Angeles metro, but examples such as the idiocy with
Interstate 95, which is not continuous (as well as not completely
uninterrupted). As much or more pressing in some cases is the need to
add water crossings where they are needed such as with San Francisco
Bay or Lake Washington in the Seattle metro area (a northern crossing
of Lake Washington). (These are variants of the need to fill missing
links, or "gaps," in existing systems. Note that water crossings or
mountain crossings -- possibly using tunnels -- aren't limited only to
freeways.)


Dave Simpson
Robert Cruickshank
2004-10-15 03:38:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Simpson
As much or more pressing in some cases is the need to
add water crossings where they are needed such as with San Francisco
Bay or Lake Washington in the Seattle metro area (a northern crossing
of Lake Washington).
I'm not convinced that a northern crossing of Lake Washington is all
that necessary.
--
Robert I. Cruickshank
roadgeek, historian, progressive
Dave Simpson
2004-10-18 23:51:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Cruickshank
I'm not convinced that a northern crossing of Lake Washington is all
that necessary.
It depends on how well the long-needed doubling and modernization of
the Evergreen Point crossing solves problems in that area.


Dave Simpson
I-420
2004-10-15 02:34:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Grobe
Whar are the major flaws of the US road system?
Here's my ten cents :-P Though these may not be unique to US roads,
they are certainly problems nonetheless that apparently have no fix in
sight.

1) Poorly planned

Most roads in the US were just upgrades of horse and old motor trails
that were built along railroads that were replaced by interstates
along already saturated transportation corridors. Along with that,
much of the road system remains incomplete and the ever increasing
safety standards and hidden costs are making road building nearly
impossible.

2) Lack of unity, uniformity and coordination

Roads are purely political in nature in most areas, and actual need is
rarely taken into account anymore. States and counties will not
cooperate and the interagency dealings more strongly resemble
feudalism than a master-planned network of roads. Perhaps this is a
legacy of states rights and too strong of an emphasis on local
control.

3) Speed limits

Speed limits are set for revenue, period. Speed enforcement should
not even exist except in EXTREME cases with most speed limits advisory
in nature. Rural county roads often have no enforced or even posted
speed limit, yet wild driving and a sharply increased accident rate
have not been noticed.

Speed limits, of course, could safely be 10-20 miles higher in almost
all categories. Flat areas such as FL and S GA could support 75 MPH
speed limits on two-lane highways and even 85 MPH speed limits on
interstates. Residential speed limits should bottom out at 35-40.
Urban highway speeds could be reasonably set at 55-60 on
non-interstates and 70-75 on interstates. Even Appalachian two-lane
highways could be safely set at 65.

4) Inconsistent construction and maintenance standards

Yes, money is an issue, but it should not result in a sharp decline in
quality from state to local, county to county and county to city/town.
Local governments are treated like almost independent governments in
most states and are not held accountable for shoddy work and/or
inadequate maintenance.

ALL counties and cities should be held to the same standards as state
whether it is road design, signage, guardrails, traffic markings
and/or bridge and drainage structures. Most countries encourage a
certain degree of shared services and state-local cooperation and/or
mandated uniform standards, but the states continue to unload more and
more responsibility on local governments often with no promise that
the localities have any plans to maintain the roads to the same
standards they were under state control. Likewise, towns that take
over either state or county roads have an even sharper decline
seemingly existing largely as a revenue-generating agency more
concerned with control than anything else.

We all like to see those old signs, but the old signs tend to
highlight an underlying issue that the locality is not concerned with
people having adequate route markings, LGS or even adequate traffic
signs to safely use the roads. A very large percentage of local
roads, especially along the east coast, are requiring resurfacing
every 5 years instead of 13 years due to cheap and shoddy work. Road
maintenance always becomes more of a political issue and efficiency
and quality seem to go out the window on election year. Only because
of major state efforts to preserve the pavement on county roads
through direct grants do states like TN and GA have any consistency.
Similar issues can be related in states like MO that siphon all the
money that could go to roads to other programs and to fill holes in
the state budget.

5) Wasteful spending

Roads and more roads are built every year that serve little to no
purpose whatsoever. There is justification for some rural projects
that provide paved roads for remote areas and encourage development,
but more often than not, these projects are just pork barrel that
serve nobody but a few influencial people and some personal interest.
Inefficiencies like this keep funding away from more badly needed
projects statewide.

6) NIMBY'S

It is true that in the past that highway agencies took no concern for
affected areas. Indeed, reform was needed. But the price is gridlock
and shunning expansion of a system that is clearly going to remain car
dependent. Europe and Asia both have comparably bad traffic problems
to the U.S. and this is often an ignored fact. Roads are going to
continue to be needed and have to be built to accomodate the
population. Some road projects are completely unreasonable, but if a
project is totally reasonable and society would be much worse off
without it, a minority should not gain so much influence as to stop
every new road and every freeway needed to the point that mobility
becomes impossible and people cannot get to their jobs and commerce is
overall hindered. This may be a boon to inner cities, but it will
result in outlying areas surrounding it becoming total slums such as
Mexico City. The inner ring suburb slum effect will become the outer
ring and will represent our future in America if we continue to block
needed roads.

I will be adding to that as I think of it. Anyway, cha ching.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-19 06:15:41 UTC
Permalink
What are the major flaws of the US road system?
Major flaws?
1. Poorly constructed surfaces. Tendency to hydroplane and cover it
up by posting a slippery when wet sign (following a drunk). Maybe that
is a flaw of the people building and operating the roads.

2. Poor follow up on dangerous roads. Jurisdictions deny that they
have dangerous roads and spend more effort in denying responsibility
than in correcting design defects. But that isn't the road. Just the
people that operate the roads. So I'll repeat No.2.

2. Red Light Cameras as a deterent to intersection crashes. Wait,
that is a flaw in the people that operate the roads. So I'll repeat
No. 2.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw. So maybe the roads are in good shape but we can't say the same
about the people that operate them.

2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
John Lansford
2004-10-19 10:00:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
What are the major flaws of the US road system?
Major flaws?
1. Poorly constructed surfaces. Tendency to hydroplane and cover it
up by posting a slippery when wet sign (following a drunk). Maybe that
is a flaw of the people building and operating the roads.
2. Poor follow up on dangerous roads. Jurisdictions deny that they
have dangerous roads and spend more effort in denying responsibility
than in correcting design defects. But that isn't the road. Just the
people that operate the roads. So I'll repeat No.2.
2. Red Light Cameras as a deterent to intersection crashes. Wait,
that is a flaw in the people that operate the roads. So I'll repeat
No. 2.
I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw. So maybe the roads are in good shape but we can't say the same
about the people that operate them.
2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
Uhhh, right. As one of those "people who build and operate roads", I
most certainly do "understand capacity". So do the engineers who work
with me in this profession. Roads are designed to handle the expected
traffic 20-40 years into the future; sometimes conditions change
during that timeframe that causes the growth rate to greatly exceed
the projected volumes, however.

What you apparently don't understand about capacity is not every road
can be upgraded simultaneously or instantly, and that growth happens
faster than roads can be improved. As costs rise, fewer and fewer
road-miles can be improved for any given amount of money, so the state
must pick and choose where to put that money where it will do the most
good.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Dick Boyd
2004-10-20 01:26:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
What are the major flaws of the US road system?
Major flaws?
1. Poorly constructed surfaces. Tendency to hydroplane and cover it
up by posting a slippery when wet sign ...
I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw. So maybe the roads are in good shape but we can't say the same
about the people that operate them.
2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
Uhhh, right. As one of those "people who build and operate roads", I
most certainly do "understand capacity". So do the engineers who work
with me in this profession. Roads are designed to handle the expected
traffic 20-40 years into the future; sometimes conditions change
during that timeframe that causes the growth rate to greatly exceed
the projected volumes, however.
What you apparently don't understand about capacity is not every road
can be upgraded simultaneously or instantly, and that growth happens
faster than roads can be improved. As costs rise, fewer and fewer
road-miles can be improved for any given amount of money, so the state
must pick and choose where to put that money where it will do the most
good.
John Lansford, PE
Obviously our understandings of capacity differ. I assume you are
going by the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM), ITE, AASHTO, MUTCD, AADT,
fluid flow and other Civil Engineering books in your understanding of
capacity. Maximum number of cars to pass a given point in a given
time. Level of Service? I'm certain you understand those terms since
you sign your name with a P.E.

But do you understand my concept of capacity?

My understanding of capacity is based on a two second rule. At 65 MPH,
if the spacing between my car and the car I am following is two
seconds and the spacing to the car following me is two seconds, the
road is at capacity. That figures out to less than 1,800 cars per lane
per hour in round numbers.

Why two seconds? My scan pattern and reaction time are comfortable at
two seconds. My personal equation, if you will. Get any closer behind
and I feel tailgated. Nothing the following driver can do to get me to
go faster short of contacting my bumper and pushing. In transition
areas, I'll change my scan and concentrate more on the lead car. First
thing I cut out of my scan is instruments. I no longer monitor the
speedometer. I'm not comfortable in not monitoring the speedometer for
minutes at a time. I no longer monitor oil pressure, or gas level, or
battery condition when spacing is less than one second. I stop
scanning the outside rear view mirrors, instead I concentrate on
staying in my lane and use the inside rear view mirror. If a car
encroaches into my lane at that level of congestion, there is no where
to go. Why should I cause a crash by trying to avoid a person that
encroaches on my lane? Very stressful driving above thirty MPH closer
than two seconds.

Other drivers may have a "capacity" number of one second, or two
hundred milliseconds, or five seconds. A two hundred millisecond
driver following me makes me nervous. I find myself spending more of
my scan time on the tailgaiter and in the process lose my spacing on
the car ahead of me.

Drivers have a spread of capacities. Below thirty MPH, I might accept
a one second rule. The road instantly doubles in capacity, but my trip
time also doubles. Pulling away from a traffic light, I might accept a
zero time. That is I'll start rolling the same time the car ahead of
me moves. Only I won't accelerate as much.

Do you, as an engineer, build the road for me, as a driver? Or do you
build the road for your engineering peers? Who pays your salary and
where do they get the money to pay you? Is the customer always right
at your shop? Or only when he/she uses the Highway Capacity Manual
definitions?

My understanding of HCM definition of capacity is that flow at
capacity is unstable. As more cars try to come into the flow, drivers
interact more with each other and to compensate for the increased scan
workload, will slow down. Add, or try to add, one more car to the flow
at capacity and the whole thing comes to a standstill. Richard
Haberman (Mathematical Models), Haight, Eno, Gazis, Whitham, or
Berkely researchers explain the flow models so even a high school math
teacher can understand them.

By my definition of capacity, flow will begin to slow below the posted
speed on the addition of one more car. Take away that one more car and
you have my definition of capacity. Capacity, to me, implies the
ability to travel at the posted speed for the entire trip. For city
streets with traffic signals that means no stops. The lights are
synched and platoons travel at posted speeds. I beleive the HCM calls
this LOS A.

In my understanding, the capacity of a road can be doubled instantly.
Measure the number of people carried instead of merely the number of
vehicles. Join a car pool. With fewer vehicles, the road does not
congest.

Shirley Highway reversible lanes are a case in point. The
Transportation Board and some engineers insist on operating the
reversible lanes "at (vehicle)capacity". Meaning 45 MPH speeds on a
posted 65 MPH that can be safely driven at higher speeds using my
(people)definition of capacity.

Lomax at Texas Transportation Institute, author of the Congestion
studies is on record that congestion is a good indicator for an area.
Congestion represents a good economy.

Using AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) masks the benefits of
shaving peak loads. Los Angeles is just coming around to scheduling
truck traffic in and out of the port so it does not conflict with
commuters. AADT will soar. Congestion may even drop.

I was a little harsh in the way I stated the problem as I see it. Let
me restate my view.

The major flaw in the US road system is that the engineers, the
politicians, the drivers are all speaking a differnt language. They
use the same words, but assign different meanings to those words. One
man's capacity is another man's congestion. One man's highway trust
fund is another man's pork barrel.

The civil engineers also speak about late arrivals five percent of the
time as being acceptable. Not in my book. Civil Engineers suggest that
motorists compensate by planning trip times based on six sigma lower
speeds. So every trip has extra road time built in. Are civil
engineers speaking the same language as motorists?

Civil Engineers talk about average travel time, when in my book, the
variation from average is more important.

Civil Engineers even accept statistics such as fatalities per hundred
million miles and set goals to get the number below one. The goal
should be zero. Every crash fatality has some road engineering factor,
in my opinion.
John Lansford
2004-10-20 10:01:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Obviously our understandings of capacity differ. I assume you are
going by the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM), ITE, AASHTO, MUTCD, AADT,
fluid flow and other Civil Engineering books in your understanding of
capacity. Maximum number of cars to pass a given point in a given
time. Level of Service? I'm certain you understand those terms since
you sign your name with a P.E.
Yes, I have a passing familiarity with them.
Post by Dick Boyd
But do you understand my concept of capacity?
Yes, but it is irrelevent to how highways are designed.
Post by Dick Boyd
My understanding of capacity is based on a two second rule.
...
Post by Dick Boyd
Do you, as an engineer, build the road for me, as a driver? Or do you
build the road for your engineering peers? Who pays your salary and
where do they get the money to pay you? Is the customer always right
at your shop? Or only when he/she uses the Highway Capacity Manual
definitions?
My understanding of HCM definition of capacity is that flow at
capacity is unstable. As more cars try to come into the flow, drivers
interact more with each other and to compensate for the increased scan
workload, will slow down. Add, or try to add, one more car to the flow
at capacity and the whole thing comes to a standstill. Richard
Haberman (Mathematical Models), Haight, Eno, Gazis, Whitham, or
Berkely researchers explain the flow models so even a high school math
teacher can understand them.
By my definition of capacity, flow will begin to slow below the posted
speed on the addition of one more car. Take away that one more car and
you have my definition of capacity. Capacity, to me, implies the
ability to travel at the posted speed for the entire trip. For city
streets with traffic signals that means no stops. The lights are
synched and platoons travel at posted speeds. I beleive the HCM calls
this LOS A.
No road is designed for LOS A. Most of them are designed for LOS C or
D. FHWA discourages using full capacity (LOS E) as the design
standard.

...
Post by Dick Boyd
Using AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) masks the benefits of
shaving peak loads.
I guess that's why it isn't used to determine capacity, then. The peak
hour volume is what should be used in capacity analysis.
Post by Dick Boyd
Los Angeles is just coming around to scheduling
truck traffic in and out of the port so it does not conflict with
commuters. AADT will soar. Congestion may even drop.
I was a little harsh in the way I stated the problem as I see it. Let
me restate my view.
The major flaw in the US road system is that the engineers, the
politicians, the drivers are all speaking a differnt language. They
use the same words, but assign different meanings to those words. One
man's capacity is another man's congestion. One man's highway trust
fund is another man's pork barrel.
That doesn't mean we're not talking about the same thing, though.
Post by Dick Boyd
The civil engineers also speak about late arrivals five percent of the
time as being acceptable. Not in my book. Civil Engineers suggest that
motorists compensate by planning trip times based on six sigma lower
speeds. So every trip has extra road time built in. Are civil
engineers speaking the same language as motorists?
I've never heard of any CE talk about late arrivals.
Post by Dick Boyd
Civil Engineers talk about average travel time, when in my book, the
variation from average is more important.
Civil Engineers even accept statistics such as fatalities per hundred
million miles and set goals to get the number below one. The goal
should be zero. Every crash fatality has some road engineering factor,
in my opinion.
Engineering is a science. It's not art or politics, because it is
based on facts and scientific research. That's why there are
statistics.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Dick Boyd
2004-10-20 17:59:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
But do you understand my concept of capacity?
Yes, but it is irrelevent to how highways are designed.
Ok, we disagree on that point. I feel the engineers should design
roads the way I want to use them. Not some antiquated concept that was
not stated too clearly in the first place.
Post by John Lansford
No road is designed for LOS A. Most of them are designed for LOS C or
D. FHWA discourages using full capacity (LOS E) as the design
standard.
Yes, good point. What are the observed speeds at LOS C or LOS D
compared to observed speed at LOS A? Or stated another way, what are
my elapsed trip times at LOS C or LOS D compared to LOS A?
Post by John Lansford
...
Post by Dick Boyd
Using AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) masks the benefits of
shaving peak loads.
I guess that's why it isn't used to determine capacity, then. The peak
hour volume is what should be used in capacity analysis.
Correct. But AADT is used to show the "goodness" of a road. When peak
hour volume exists eight or more hours a day, what is going on? Are
the locals using the raod to max extent for longer periods by judicial
scheduling? Or are the citizens being unduly put upon by a system that
does not provide enough transportation solutions. More roads are one
solution. More passengers in the empty seats of the existing drive
alones is another solution. More trains or buses is down about
thirtieth place on my list of solutions.
Post by John Lansford
That doesn't mean we're not talking about the same thing, though.
We are talking about the same thing. But we are using the same words
with different meanings.

An analogy if you will. To a scientist, a glass is full when the
miniscus bulges the water over the rim of the glass. One more drop
would cause an overflow. To a waitress, a glass is full when she can
carry it to the table without spilling a drop. Maybe two or three
percent difference. But a very important two percent.
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
The civil engineers also speak about late arrivals five percent of the
time as being acceptable. Not in my book. Civil Engineers suggest that
motorists compensate by planning trip times based on six sigma lower
speeds. So every trip has extra road time built in. Are civil
engineers speaking the same language as motorists?
I've never heard of any CE talk about late arrivals.
Check out TTI Congestion studies. One late day per month is predicated
as acceptable. Twenty working days per month. Five percent late days.
Lomax was one of the authors. Again, an engineer would read the report
one way, a motorist would have a differnt spin.
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
Civil Engineers talk about average travel time, when in my book, the
variation from average is more important.
Engineering is a science. It's not art or politics, because it is
based on facts and scientific research. That's why there are
statistics.
John Lansford, PE
To me, engineering is the application of science. Engineering MUST
include the art and politics if it is to succeed in applying the
science. I'm not that impressed with the application of statistics. I
am impressed with highway research. I am not impressed with the
application of what is learned in that research.
John Lansford
2004-10-20 22:45:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
But do you understand my concept of capacity?
Yes, but it is irrelevent to how highways are designed.
Ok, we disagree on that point. I feel the engineers should design
roads the way I want to use them. Not some antiquated concept that was
not stated too clearly in the first place.
Hey, I want a lot of things done just for me too. Then I grew up and
realized I don't get a lot of things I want.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
No road is designed for LOS A. Most of them are designed for LOS C or
D. FHWA discourages using full capacity (LOS E) as the design
standard.
Yes, good point. What are the observed speeds at LOS C or LOS D
compared to observed speed at LOS A? Or stated another way, what are
my elapsed trip times at LOS C or LOS D compared to LOS A?
LOS A is free flow traffic. Basically, only low volume rural
interstates have LOS A. Designing for that condition is irrational; so
would be assuming you've got LOS A throughout your trip when
calculating travel times.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
...
Post by Dick Boyd
Using AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) masks the benefits of
shaving peak loads.
I guess that's why it isn't used to determine capacity, then. The peak
hour volume is what should be used in capacity analysis.
Correct.
I didn't realize this was a test.
Post by Dick Boyd
But AADT is used to show the "goodness" of a road.
Not to engineers it isn't.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Engineering is a science. It's not art or politics, because it is
based on facts and scientific research. That's why there are
statistics.
To me, engineering is the application of science. Engineering MUST
include the art and politics if it is to succeed in applying the
science.
Oh I agree. But you were commenting about how many statistics and
formulas the discipline has, as if you were complaining about it.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 09:05:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Engineering is a science. It's not art or politics, because it is
based on facts and scientific research. That's why there are
statistics.
To me, engineering is the application of science. Engineering MUST
include the art and politics if it is to succeed in applying the
science.
Oh I agree. But you were commenting about how many statistics and
formulas the discipline has, as if you were complaining about it.
John Lansford, PE
I have no complaint with the formulas or statstics of the civil
engineering profession. My complaint is the way they are misapplied.
Or applied with a bias. Friction based on assumptions rather than
existing conditions. Averages instead of variations. Sight distances
not field checked. Application of red light cameras in an attempt to
change driver behavior. Police pursuit policy. Signal synchronization
for platoon formation, etc., etc.
Jeff
2004-10-20 23:18:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
But do you understand my concept of capacity?
Yes, but it is irrelevent to how highways are designed.
Ok, we disagree on that point. I feel the engineers should design
roads the way I want to use them. Not some antiquated concept that was
not stated too clearly in the first place.
Excuse me for cutting in, but Mr. Boyd - you are an idiot. I want to
drive 90 mph in the pouring rain while shaving, watching a DVD movie,
and taking a nap. Please engineer a highway for MY needs. And I want
a 20 second gap in front and behind me, and a 3 lane gap to either
side of me. And build this properly, according to my needs.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
No road is designed for LOS A. Most of them are designed for LOS C or
D. FHWA discourages using full capacity (LOS E) as the design
standard.
Yes, good point. What are the observed speeds at LOS C or LOS D
compared to observed speed at LOS A? Or stated another way, what are
my elapsed trip times at LOS C or LOS D compared to LOS A?
In simple terms, your speed at LOS A is whatever you feel like
driving. At LOS A, the road has no one on it, except for you and a
few others, and you should be able to pass them with no problem. At
LOS C, you may experience some minor rush hour congestion, but should
have no problem meeting or exceeding the speed limit at all other
times. At LOS A, you may have a wide range of speeds, from the speed
demon to the grandma that doesn't go past 30. At LOSs C and D, the
range of speeds are much less, as the fastest drivers can't go as fast
as they want, and the slower drivers either stay off the road because
they're frightened, or because they driver faster to avoid being
tailgated by the 18 wheelers.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
...
Post by Dick Boyd
Using AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic) masks the benefits of
shaving peak loads.
I guess that's why it isn't used to determine capacity, then. The peak
hour volume is what should be used in capacity analysis.
Correct. But AADT is used to show the "goodness" of a road. When peak
hour volume exists eight or more hours a day, what is going on? Are
the locals using the raod to max extent for longer periods by judicial
scheduling? Or are the citizens being unduly put upon by a system that
does not provide enough transportation solutions. More roads are one
solution. More passengers in the empty seats of the existing drive
alones is another solution. More trains or buses is down about
thirtieth place on my list of solutions.
And until you are in charge of a township, a county, a state, or a
transportation office, your opinion of where buses and trains belong
on your list means squat. Each area of the country is different. And
until people get off the notion of telling others what to do, rather
than doing it themselves and leading by example, we won't get very
far.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 08:57:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff
Excuse me for cutting in, but Mr. Boyd - you are an idiot. I want to
drive 90 mph in the pouring rain while shaving, watching a DVD movie,
and taking a nap. Please engineer a highway for MY needs. And I want
a 20 second gap in front and behind me, and a 3 lane gap to either
side of me. And build this properly, according to my needs.
Reductio ad absurdum. Where exactly do I rank on the idiocy scale if I
want two second spacing when there are others who want twenty seconds?
Where do I rank on that idiocy scale if I advocate 45 MPH in heavy
rain with properly inflated tires when there are those that want 90
MPH in an SUV with 15 psi in the rear tires?

Or where do I rank on that idiocy scale if I settle for sub one
second, 90 MPH in rain, shaving, watching a DVD, taking a nap?

Or where do I rank on the idiocy scale if I insist on LOS C or LOS D?

Or am I considered an idiot merely for asking?
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 09:20:40 UTC
Permalink
More roads are one
Post by Jeff
Post by Dick Boyd
solution. More passengers in the empty seats of the existing drive
alones is another solution. More trains or buses is down about
thirtieth place on my list of solutions.
And until you are in charge of a township, a county, a state, or a
transportation office, your opinion of where buses and trains belong
on your list means squat. Each area of the country is different. And
until people get off the notion of telling others what to do, rather
than doing it themselves and leading by example, we won't get very
far.
As an operator of van pools for 16 years, I would like to give a long
response. Instead I'll just comment that I resented paying additional
business taxes only to have those taxes used to subsidize a bus that
stole my passengers. I developed the routes, and the municipality
decided they could do a better job using public funds. BTW, the mayor
worked for a bus company adn was rewarded with a plush job at APTA.

I resented the politicians throwing me a worthless bone of reduced
interest loans only to take more away in taxes, lost passengers and
claims that I was being subsidized.

Yes, I did resent the Wall Street Journal editorializing that my
Virginia van pool operation would not work in New Jersey, therefore I
should not be allowed to operate in Virginia.

Yes, I did serve on several Transportation Safety Commissions,
Transportation Advisory Boards and election committees.

My observation was that politics overcame all in the decision making
process. Sometimes I was blindsided by political opportunity. When
Kenny Klinge was appointed to head the Transportation Commission,
logic went out the window. Political patronage came in.
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-21 02:38:25 UTC
Permalink
... I feel the engineers should design
roads the way I want to use them. ...
Umm, that's not up to the engineers. That's up to the people
and their elected representatives. They have to come up with
the money and land to provide it.

Someone responded in this thread that to achieve some of your
desires that roofs would be required above all roads. Obviously
that's not gonna happen. Developing _and_ maintaining pavement to
meet your desires is not gonna happen either. Right now we're
waiting for pavement without potholes in it, not some super high
adhesion ability at all times for all vehicles for all tires.

All of this cost money and lots of it. Considering that it's almost
suicide for any politician to talk about raising the gasoline tax,
getting enough money for high grade roads in every place is not
possible.

There's enough challenge maintaining the road system we have, let
alone increasing capacity and upgrades.

Another issue is providing land. In developed areas--where the
demand for new roads usually is--land is already occupied and its
occupants are not too thrilled about being kicked off for a road.
Neighbors are also not thrilled about having a road next door to
them.

Road advocates may dislike "NIMBYs", but private property rights
are a basic principle in this country and require to be respected.
There is also an economic cost to the community when occupied
land is taken up.


The road network today is a big compromise between need and
available money. Anything is possible if you're willing to
pay for it. Society has chosen to pay for what we have today,
not more.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 08:49:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
... I feel the engineers should design
roads the way I want to use them. ...
Umm, that's not up to the engineers. That's up to the people
and their elected representatives. They have to come up with
the money and land to provide it.
...>
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
The road network today is a big compromise between need and
available money. Anything is possible if you're willing to
pay for it. Society has chosen to pay for what we have today,
not more.
I should have added and the operators should operate them...

If the only answer is more roads, then yes the people have to get
their elected representatives to come up with money and land. But as a
society, we don't look at alternatives. Why did it take the Port of
Los Angeles so long to schedule traffic off peak? Why isn't California
developing additional ports at Stockton, Sacramento and Marysville?

Why did Congressman Stan Paris unilaterally change the HOV rules on
Shirley Highway? Why wasn't he reelected? Why did northern Virginia
judges shut off the ramp metering signals?

HOT lanes? Fuggedaboutit.

Pay me now or pay me later. Four hours travel time per day instead of
one or two? Who pays for those extra three hours? The motorists
children? Missed flight because I figured a one hour trip to the
airport and it took two. Who pays for the lost business? Sorry, bud,
those are the breaks. You ain't gonna get LOS A, so don't even ask. We
won't even give you a price, so don't ask.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 08:38:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
Obviously our understandings of capacity differ. I assume you are
going by the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM), ITE, AASHTO, MUTCD, AADT,
Yes, but it is irrelevent to how highways are designed.
If I go into a restaurant and ask for a well done steak and the waiter
brings rare, should I be satisfied with the answer that it is
irrelevant? Seinfeld's soup nazis at their best. If I ask for a LOS A
highway and the resonse is you ain't gonna get it so don't even ask,
what do you think my response should be?

Maybe a better answer would be if you want LOS A, move to New York
City and ride the subway, or move to West Overshoe, Wisconsin and
commute to a dairy barn, or drive only between the hours of three and
five AM. Or hound the politicians to spend trust fund money collected
at the gas pumps to improve the transportation system.
Post by John Lansford
No road is designed for LOS A. Most of them are designed for LOS C or
D. FHWA discourages using full capacity (LOS E) as the design
standard.
...
Parkways? National Defense Highway System? The Eisenhower Interstate
System? Reversible car pool lanes? Bus lanes? HOT lanes? Limited
access either by spacing of entrance/exit or by ramp metering? Are
those designed for LOS C or D?

John Mason, as Mayor of the City of Fairfax introduced LOS F, which
was followed by G and H. An indication of how many hours per day were
at standstill.
John Lansford
2004-10-21 09:54:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
Obviously our understandings of capacity differ. I assume you are
going by the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM), ITE, AASHTO, MUTCD, AADT,
Yes, but it is irrelevent to how highways are designed.
If I go into a restaurant and ask for a well done steak and the waiter
brings rare, should I be satisfied with the answer that it is
irrelevant? Seinfeld's soup nazis at their best. If I ask for a LOS A
highway and the resonse is you ain't gonna get it so don't even ask,
what do you think my response should be?
That's right. You're not going to get a LOS A road, so don't even
bother asking for it.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
No road is designed for LOS A. Most of them are designed for LOS C or
D. FHWA discourages using full capacity (LOS E) as the design
standard.
...
Parkways?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
National Defense Highway System?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
The Eisenhower Interstate System?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
Reversible car pool lanes?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
Bus lanes?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
HOT lanes?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
Limited access either by spacing of entrance/exit or by ramp metering?
Not for A
Post by Dick Boyd
Are those designed for LOS C or D?
One of the two. Engineers try for C but will accept D.
Post by Dick Boyd
John Mason, as Mayor of the City of Fairfax introduced LOS F, which
was followed by G and H. An indication of how many hours per day were
at standstill.
Mayors have no business designing roads.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-21 02:48:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
1. Poorly constructed surfaces. Tendency to hydroplane and cover it
up by posting a slippery when wet sign (following a drunk). Maybe that
is a flaw of the people building and operating the roads.
How much would it cost to have every road surface in the USA
perfectly done--not patches, not cracks, no potholes, no ridges--
along with perfect adhesion?
Post by Dick Boyd
2. Poor follow up on dangerous roads. Jurisdictions deny that they
have dangerous roads and spend more effort in denying responsibility
than in correcting design defects.
What is a "dangerous road"? If a kid is run over and killed on
a neighborhood side street does that make it a dangerous road?
If a drunk driver is killed does that make it a dangerous road?

Every single paved surface out there has the potential to be
dangerous. It is up to the motorist to operate his vehicle
safely per existing conditions; at least that's what we were
taught in driver ed.
Post by Dick Boyd
2. Red Light Cameras as a deterent to intersection crashes. Wait,
that is a flaw in the people that operate the roads. So I'll repeat
No. 2.
Red light cameras are the result of arrogant drivers who refuse
to obey traffic laws.
Post by Dick Boyd
I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw. So maybe the roads are in good shape but we can't say the same
about the people that operate them.
Perhaps the issue is the people who _drive_ over them.
Post by Dick Boyd
2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
I have never heard a highway official make such a claim.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 07:36:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
2. Poor follow up on dangerous roads. Jurisdictions deny that they
have dangerous roads and spend more effort in denying responsibility
than in correcting design defects.
What is a "dangerous road"? If a kid is run over and killed on
a neighborhood side street does that make it a dangerous road?
If a drunk driver is killed does that make it a dangerous road?
Every single paved surface out there has the potential to be
dangerous. It is up to the motorist to operate his vehicle
safely per existing conditions; at least that's what we were
taught in driver ed.
A dangerous road is one where the design, maintenance or operation
contribute to crashes and fatalities. Check out Dean Johnson's web
site:
http://www.sandyjohnsonfoundation.org/

Congress has passed legislation and the Supreme court has rendered
decisions that disclosure of locations with high crash incidence can
not be used in suits against the state. Yet states still deny that
they have dangerous locations.

State Farm identified dangerous locations and defects were corrected.
http://www.statefarm.com/di/danger.htm

What you were taught in driver ed was correct and I agree. I
especially like your comment about existing conditions. If drivers
were taught to recognize existing conditions, there would be fewer
crashes. In my opinion, there would also be more torches, pitchforks
and storming of castles by the motoring public.

Read some of the success stories at the State Farm Dangerous
intersection web site, please.

Check out the Sandy Johnson web site for locations in your state with
high crash rates. If any of those sites are near you, take a look and
play detective to come up with your opinion of why that location has
the crashes and not a place two hundred feet to the north or east. Did
the car change in that 200 feet? Did the driver change? Why is there a
cluster at that location?

If a drunk driver is killed? Or if a drunk driver kills an innocent
motorist, it may be an indication of a dangerous state. Check out
statistics on the MADD web site.
http://support.madd.org/site/TellAFriend/653968272

If the list were to be sorted by alcohol related crash deaths or by
deaths per million people, or by deaths per 100 million miles, Texas,
Louisiana, Montana and other states with lax policy of driving while
intoxicated really stand out. Sorting alphabetically masks the
tremendous difference between states.

Utah, Massachusets, Vermont and several other states have crash
fatalities lower than Secretary Mineta's goal of 1.0 per 100 million
miles. What are those states doing differently than states with
fatalities above the US average of 1.5 per 100 million miles? Why is
the US in 12th place world wide in the statistic of crash fatalities
per 100 million miles?
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-21 23:47:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
A dangerous road is one where the design, maintenance or operation
contribute to crashes and fatalities. Check out Dean Johnson's web
http://www.sandyjohnsonfoundation.org/
Again, that could be any road. Our town Main Street does not
have a center median strip, so there the risk of head-on collisions.

Expressways have rigid guardrails along the edges. A car hitting
that a speed is not a pretty sight. Seems to me every expressway
should have very wide shoulders with perhaps water filled buckets
along the entire way so that errant vehicles come to a gentle stop.
They should have electric heaters embedded in the pavement to dry
water, snow, and ice. I suppose there's some way to dissipate
fog (giant fans? ionizing electricity?) and they should have that
too.

Checkbooks open, please!
Post by Dick Boyd
Congress has passed legislation and the Supreme court has rendered
decisions that disclosure of locations with high crash incidence can
not be used in suits against the state. Yet states still deny that
they have dangerous locations.
I know of an surface intersection listed as one of the ten worst in
the whole US. Nobody denies its bad. Why isn't it "fixed"?

Well, considering the volume of traffic that passes and exchanges
through it, a full cloverleaf would be required. But all four
corners are heavilly developed. So let's see, on two corners
we'd have to remove a gas station, about 50 rowhouses (@$100k)
on each corner. On the other two corners are shopping centers,
including several large restaurants, a hotel, another gas station,
and lots of stores. So, starting off, the city would lose a nice
chunk of its tax base--the houses alone would take out $150,000 a year
in property taxes, possibly more, and I have no idea of the loss of
property and business taxes on all the commercial properties.

Anyway, just getting the land to improve this intersection would be
extremely costly*. Then there's the cost of building the interchange
itself while keeping two busy streets with their traffic light still
in service.

There are a great many intersections protected by a traffic light
that need to be clover-leafed for safety and/or congestion relief.

The state does not have enough money to take care of the roads it
has now. There is a long list of pending desired improvements
and regular maintenance. Country intersections now busy that need
left turn lanes and traffic lights.


At Pa Tpk exit #24-Valley Forge there is tremendous congestion.
They have made various band-aid improvements to the area. But
without ripping out half of a huge shopping/commercial/industrial
complex that generates much of the traffic, there's not a whole
lot they could do since the existing roads (built in the 1950s)
are tightly hemmed in. If you widen the roads by destroying
shopping centers and motels, you eliminate the need for the road
widening.



*This doesn't even count the disruption to the lives of nearby
residents and the owners, customers, and employees of nearby
businesses.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 07:53:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
I have never heard a highway official make such a claim.
I should have said builders and operators don't understand my
defintion of capacity. The example I gave was of a glass filled to
capacity. A physicist would define a glass as full when one more drop
will break the miniscus and the excess will spill. A waitress would
define full as one drop less than what she can carry without spilling.
A difference of maybe two percent.

If you like the HCM definition of capacity, would you care to have the
physicist serve you water at the restaurant?

Check out the Texas Transportation Institute Congestion Study
http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/
or the Federal Highway Administration response.
http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/congestion_report/index.htm

Granted a lot of what is in the report will be in the mind of the
reader before he/she ever reads either report.

Check out Kenny Klinge of Virginia's Transportation Commission. Or the
reports on the rework of the Springfield Interchange in Northern
Virginia. Or the Woodrow Wilson bridge policies.
John Lansford
2004-10-21 09:56:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
I have never heard a highway official make such a claim.
I should have said builders and operators don't understand my
defintion of capacity.
That's because it is YOUR definition, that's why.
Post by Dick Boyd
If you like the HCM definition of capacity, would you care to have the
physicist serve you water at the restaurant?
Nice strawman.
Post by Dick Boyd
Check out the Texas Transportation Institute Congestion Study
http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/
or the Federal Highway Administration response.
http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/congestion_report/index.htm
Granted a lot of what is in the report will be in the mind of the
reader before he/she ever reads either report.
Check out Kenny Klinge of Virginia's Transportation Commission. Or the
reports on the rework of the Springfield Interchange in Northern
Virginia. Or the Woodrow Wilson bridge policies.
Just because a particular project cannot reach an optimum LOS doesn't
mean that is the policy. In some cases the cost of providing more
capacity is just too high.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 17:22:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Just because a particular project cannot reach an optimum LOS doesn't
mean that is the policy. In some cases the cost of providing more
capacity is just too high.
John Lansford, PE
If the road project is too expensive (not enough money because this is
the year to be a donor state, or the area voted the wrong way), then
maybe the solution lies elsewhere. HOT lanes? Rescheduled or staggered
work hours? Carpools? Vanpools? Relocation of transportation
generating sites?

In any case, how is this "too costly rationale" explained to the
motorists? Especially if they recognize the fuel tax dollars are going
from South Carolina to Massacheusets, for instance. Or if they live in
an area with no federal roads, few state roads and many farm roads.
they still have to pay the fuel tax. What have they got to show for
for those tax payments? More congestion which makes it even more
expensive?
John Lansford
2004-10-21 18:00:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Just because a particular project cannot reach an optimum LOS doesn't
mean that is the policy. In some cases the cost of providing more
capacity is just too high.
If the road project is too expensive (not enough money because this is
the year to be a donor state, or the area voted the wrong way), then
maybe the solution lies elsewhere. HOT lanes? Rescheduled or staggered
work hours? Carpools? Vanpools? Relocation of transportation
generating sites?
Yes to all the above.
Post by Dick Boyd
In any case, how is this "too costly rationale" explained to the
motorists?
By telling them the cost was too high to add more lanes.
Post by Dick Boyd
Especially if they recognize the fuel tax dollars are going
from South Carolina to Massacheusets, for instance. Or if they live in
an area with no federal roads, few state roads and many farm roads.
they still have to pay the fuel tax. What have they got to show for
for those tax payments? More congestion which makes it even more
expensive?
That's about it according to your worldview.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Larry Harvilla
2004-10-21 18:12:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
2. People that build and operate roads don't understand capacity.
They think congestion is a good thing and more places should be
congested.
I have never heard a highway official make such a claim.
I should have said builders and operators don't understand my
defintion of capacity.
That's because it is YOUR definition, that's why.
Post by Dick Boyd
If you like the HCM definition of capacity, would you care to have the
physicist serve you water at the restaurant?
Nice strawman.
Post by Dick Boyd
Check out the Texas Transportation Institute Congestion Study
http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/
or the Federal Highway Administration response.
http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/congestion_report/index.htm
Granted a lot of what is in the report will be in the mind of the
reader before he/she ever reads either report.
Check out Kenny Klinge of Virginia's Transportation Commission. Or the
reports on the rework of the Springfield Interchange in Northern
Virginia. Or the Woodrow Wilson bridge policies.
Just because a particular project cannot reach an optimum LOS doesn't
mean that is the policy. In some cases the cost of providing more
capacity is just too high.
John, while I understand that it is sometimes not possible to procure
sufficient ROW to build a highway that is always guaranteed to have a LOS
of A, why is it that C or D is considered acceptable? While even I agree it
would be a bit much to ask for every road to be LOS A, I would think that
roads should be designed to fall into a range of B (off-peak) to D (rush
hour), not a range of C or D off-peak to F rush hour as many seem to be
today.

Sorry, but I also have to call you out on your Kozel-ish "nice strawman"
response to Mr. Boyd. For somebody who rips on Scott, it seems a bit
hypocritical to resort to his tactic of seeming to have every "logical
fallacy" at the fingertips, ready to be typed into a message, without
stating what the correct logic is. I get annoyed with people who claim
somebody else's logic is wrong, but then don't bother to present their own
side of the argument.
--
Larry Harvilla
E-mail: roads AT phatpage DOT org

also visit: http://www.phatpage.org/
Highways section in progress.
John Lansford
2004-10-21 20:28:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Harvilla
John, while I understand that it is sometimes not possible to procure
sufficient ROW to build a highway that is always guaranteed to have a LOS
of A, why is it that C or D is considered acceptable? While even I agree it
would be a bit much to ask for every road to be LOS A, I would think that
roads should be designed to fall into a range of B (off-peak) to D (rush
hour), not a range of C or D off-peak to F rush hour as many seem to be
today.
Building a road uses resources that are in short supply. LOS C is
preferred as a compromise between an unrestricted free flow condition
and the limited amount of resources (money, time, R/W) that are
available for any one project.

A single lane of freeway, under optimum conditions, will carry about
2200 vehicles per hour. That is at LOS E, full capacity. LOS C is
roughly 50% of that total. LOS A is about 20-25% of the theoretical
total. So, if a road carried 4000 vph during rush hour, you would need
3 or 4 lanes in each direction to get LOS C, but to get LOS A you
would need 7!

Obviously if some state desired to create a LOS A condition on even
one major road, they would quickly find it soaked up so much of their
available construction money that there would be little left over for
any other project.
Post by Larry Harvilla
Sorry, but I also have to call you out on your Kozel-ish "nice strawman"
response to Mr. Boyd. For somebody who rips on Scott,
Actually, I've neither commented nor have even thought about Kozel for
quite some time now. Killfiling troublemakers tends to do that; out of
sight, out of mind.
Post by Larry Harvilla
it seems a bit
hypocritical to resort to his tactic of seeming to have every "logical
fallacy" at the fingertips, ready to be typed into a message, without
stating what the correct logic is. I get annoyed with people who claim
somebody else's logic is wrong, but then don't bother to present their own
side of the argument.
It's very simple. Boyd is arguing that "engineers" (as if we are a
single bloc of decision makers) do not understand capacity, and then
came up with a few websites that he felt supported his position.
However, TTI does not make policy for the US, and even the FHWA gives
lots of leeway to the states to decide how best to create their own
road system.

Me saying "nice strawman" was my shorthand for the above.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Dick Boyd
2004-10-22 04:33:53 UTC
Permalink
In my opinion, transportation is the handmaiden of land use. If land
use demands more transportation than roads, sidewalks, rivers, runways
provide, something is out of balance.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization concept never seemed to really
get off the ground. Granted there are Councils of Government, Regional
Alliances of Counties and the like that provide a venue for land use
planning. But they have no taxing power. At best they may have veto
power over federal funds.

Organizations to make people feel good and give the appearance of
activity. No action, but lots of activity.

An unfunded mandate is merely a suggestion.

Politicians have learned to game the system. Sadly, in the process of
gaming the system, politicians have set one group against another.

In my opinion, asking an engineer about level of service decisions is
counterproductive. The engineers do the best they have with what funds
are provided. Yes, engineers can answer questions about expected flow,
lane width, number of lanes and so on. But engineers should not be
left with the decision about what level of service can be provided.

The LOS question should be addressed to politicians, in my opinion.
The answer to LOS should come from the people using the system. If
people are happy with spending hours in traffic jams when they could
be home playing horsehoes, then more power to em. I just don't want to
live there and I don't have to and I won't.

Asking politicians to answer LOS questions is counterproductive.
People don't care enough about how transportation money is spent to
participate in the process. If a run of the mill citizen does
participate, the professionals chew him up and spit him out.
Politicians have a knack of spinning the question so the answer is
bike paths (which guarantee good press and votes) or buses, trains and
ferry boats (which generates votes from the visionaries and
futurists). Seldom is the answer roads (which prompts unfavorable
action from NIMBYs and "greens").

John L. provides some good examples, but does not state what is
obvious to me. Politicians should be pointing out to the motoring
public that there is not enough money to build enough roads to satisfy
Dick Boyd's definition of capacity. Engineers should not have to
shoulder that public relations burden.

Engineers will concentrate on moving vehicles, not people. For John's
example, car pooling on peak would solve the lane limit constraint.

TEA-21, the Federal Transportation funding bill is still a continuing
resolution. Instead of passing a law on how to spend Federal Highway
Trust Funds, politicians resolve to do it like they have been doing.
Donor states and acceptor states. Collect fuel taxes in North Carolina
and spent most, but not all of the North Carolina taxes in North
Carolina. The rest goes to Massachusets, Montana, Texas, Pennsylvania
or whichever state is represented by senior members of the
transportation committees.

Few places post fuel taxes at the pump. The few that do under report,
or give the impression that the taxes are transportation dedicated.

Rules for spending fuels excise taxes have become too cumbersome for
mere mortals. For instance, there is a $0.004 per gallon underground
storage tank collection. But to get the money, the person that owns
the land where the tank is located must do the clean up and then
submit a bill to get reimbursed. Try to get a loan from a bank to
clean up a storage tank found on your property and not disclosed in
the title search.

The operative word in the original question, to me, is SYSTEM.

My original response that people in the SYSTEM are the problem. a
large problem comes from the people that establish policy. But the
largest problem comes from people shoveling and pouring money into the
political process without expecting services. We are paying for the
roads. Why can't we have the level of service we think we are paying
for?

Maybe it is because the politicians have soup nazis manning the front
lines.
John Lansford
2004-10-22 10:00:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
John L. provides some good examples, but does not state what is
obvious to me. Politicians should be pointing out to the motoring
public that there is not enough money to build enough roads to satisfy
Dick Boyd's definition of capacity. Engineers should not have to
shoulder that public relations burden.
Uhhh, why should politicians care what YOUR definition of capacity is?
Why not use mine? Why not use my neighbor's definition?

You are coming across as incredibly arrogant with this constant
insistance that YOUR definition is what should be used as the measure
that defines congestion.

...
Post by Dick Boyd
The operative word in the original question, to me, is SYSTEM.
My original response that people in the SYSTEM are the problem. a
large problem comes from the people that establish policy. But the
largest problem comes from people shoveling and pouring money into the
political process without expecting services. We are paying for the
roads. Why can't we have the level of service we think we are paying
for?
OK, fine. We'll use your definition of capacity.

Gas prices just went up to $10/gallon to pay for all the road widening
that is needed to build all-weather, LOS A highways everywhere YOU
want to go. Roads will now have a minimum of six lanes, and will have
induction heaters built into the pavement to keep them warm during
cold weather.

Ooops, maintenance costs just went up too. Now your property taxes
just went up by 200% to pay for the maintenance.
Post by Dick Boyd
Maybe it is because the politicians have soup nazis manning the front
lines.
I believe people understand implicitly that they cannot have constant
free flow conditions on every road during rush hour, under all
conditions. It's called common sense, and a lot more people have it
than you are giving them credit for. They realice the cost is not
worth it.

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Dick Boyd
2004-10-23 04:08:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
John L. provides some good examples, but does not state what is
obvious to me. Politicians should be pointing out to the motoring
public that there is not enough money to build enough roads to satisfy
Dick Boyd's definition of capacity. Engineers should not have to
shoulder that public relations burden.
Uhhh, why should politicians care what YOUR definition of capacity is?
Why not use mine? Why not use my neighbor's definition?
You are coming across as incredibly arrogant with this constant
insistance that YOUR definition is what should be used as the measure
that defines congestion.
OK, I'm the only arrogant idjet complaining. Then yes, the politician
should ignore me. Free choice is what it is all about. So I shop
around and find the place that best suits my needs. Please don't ask
me to move to your state, visit your state or start a business there
if you aren't willing to listen to my demands. To more bluntly answer
John's question of why politicians should listen to MY definition, the
answer is I VOTE and even more so I AGITATE. Not getting your money's
worth from city hall? Pick up the pitchfork light the torch, storm
city hall. Kill the monster. (Frankenstein, that is. For politicians
killing is forbidden, all that is needed is to get them out of office.
A fate worse than death. They become consultants.)
Post by John Lansford
...
Post by Dick Boyd
The operative word in the original question, to me, is SYSTEM.
My original response that people in the SYSTEM are the problem. a
large problem comes from the people that establish policy. But the
largest problem comes from people shoveling and pouring money into the
political process without expecting services. We are paying for the
roads. Why can't we have the level of service we think we are paying
for?
OK, fine. We'll use your definition of capacity.
Gas prices just went up to $10/gallon to pay for all the road widening
that is needed to build all-weather, LOS A highways everywhere YOU
want to go. Roads will now have a minimum of six lanes, and will have
induction heaters built into the pavement to keep them warm during
cold weather.
Ooops, maintenance costs just went up too. Now your property taxes
just went up by 200% to pay for the maintenance.
Thank you for the price estimate. Your state has been outbid by Iowa,
Nebraska, Maine, Virginia and even California. Those states must want
me because they provided cost estimates without me beating them about
the head and shoulders. Would you have provided those dollar figures
if I had not made a pest out of myself?
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
Maybe it is because the politicians have soup nazis manning the front
lines.
I believe people understand implicitly that they cannot have constant
free flow conditions on every road during rush hour, under all
conditions. It's called common sense, and a lot more people have it
than you are giving them credit for. They realice the cost is not
worth it.
John Lansford, PE
So they end up paying for the lack of service by spending two hours to
make a twenty minute trip. So they pay for the lack of service by
missing a flight at the airport due to traffic delays. Let them enjoy
their "low cost" (some might even say cheap) transportation.

But please don't take that attitude to Minnesota and demand the repeal
of ramp metering. Ramp metering ensures free flow on the expressways
at the expense of spending a few more minutes on the surface streets,
or even forming a car pool. But then in Minnesota, you need someone to
help you shovel the snow. Can't have everthing. Please don't take that
attitude to Virginia and insist on HOV lanes with LOS C or D. Please
don't take that attitude to California and insist on HOT lanes with
LOS C or D.

The common sense I believe in is being able to make an informed
decision. If a state won't even make a reasonable bid on what it will
cost to get what I want, why should I live there? By the way, I may
not be the only one that thinks that way. Maybe just the only one
willing to express an opinion. Or willing to waste his time expressing
an opinion.
John Lansford
2004-10-23 12:33:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
Post by Dick Boyd
John L. provides some good examples, but does not state what is
obvious to me. Politicians should be pointing out to the motoring
public that there is not enough money to build enough roads to satisfy
Dick Boyd's definition of capacity. Engineers should not have to
shoulder that public relations burden.
Uhhh, why should politicians care what YOUR definition of capacity is?
Why not use mine? Why not use my neighbor's definition?
You are coming across as incredibly arrogant with this constant
insistance that YOUR definition is what should be used as the measure
that defines congestion.
OK, I'm the only arrogant idjet complaining. Then yes, the politician
should ignore me. Free choice is what it is all about. So I shop
around and find the place that best suits my needs. Please don't ask
me to move to your state, visit your state or start a business there
if you aren't willing to listen to my demands. To more bluntly answer
John's question of why politicians should listen to MY definition, the
answer is I VOTE and even more so I AGITATE. Not getting your money's
worth from city hall? Pick up the pitchfork light the torch, storm
city hall. Kill the monster. (Frankenstein, that is. For politicians
killing is forbidden, all that is needed is to get them out of office.
A fate worse than death. They become consultants.)
Politicians don't define what is an engineering term. Your opinion is
meaningless.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
OK, fine. We'll use your definition of capacity.
Gas prices just went up to $10/gallon to pay for all the road widening
that is needed to build all-weather, LOS A highways everywhere YOU
want to go. Roads will now have a minimum of six lanes, and will have
induction heaters built into the pavement to keep them warm during
cold weather.
Ooops, maintenance costs just went up too. Now your property taxes
just went up by 200% to pay for the maintenance.
Thank you for the price estimate. Your state has been outbid by Iowa,
Nebraska, Maine, Virginia and even California. Those states must want
me because they provided cost estimates without me beating them about
the head and shoulders. Would you have provided those dollar figures
if I had not made a pest out of myself?
Those are off the cuff. out of the blue numbers. I have no idea if
they are what would be needed, but I do know building every road to
LOS A is unreasonable and would never, EVER be done.
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by John Lansford
I believe people understand implicitly that they cannot have constant
free flow conditions on every road during rush hour, under all
conditions. It's called common sense, and a lot more people have it
than you are giving them credit for. They realice the cost is not
worth it.
So they end up paying for the lack of service by spending two hours to
make a twenty minute trip. So they pay for the lack of service by
missing a flight at the airport due to traffic delays. Let them enjoy
their "low cost" (some might even say cheap) transportation.
That's right. They do that, or they choose a different time that
doesn't have a 2 hour delay. People adapt.
Post by Dick Boyd
But please don't take that attitude to Minnesota and demand the repeal
of ramp metering. Ramp metering ensures free flow on the expressways
at the expense of spending a few more minutes on the surface streets,
or even forming a car pool.
Ramp metering doesn't get you LOS A on the freeway either.
Post by Dick Boyd
But then in Minnesota, you need someone to
help you shovel the snow. Can't have everthing. Please don't take that
attitude to Virginia and insist on HOV lanes with LOS C or D. Please
don't take that attitude to California and insist on HOT lanes with
LOS C or D.
Those are special service lanes where capacity isn't an issue during
design.
Post by Dick Boyd
The common sense I believe in is being able to make an informed
decision. If a state won't even make a reasonable bid on what it will
cost to get what I want, why should I live there? By the way, I may
not be the only one that thinks that way. Maybe just the only one
willing to express an opinion. Or willing to waste his time expressing
an opinion.
If you want to live in a congested area where HOT/HOV lanes are the
only practical remedy to more traffic, go right ahead and move there.
How many HOV/HOT lanes are in Montana or Alaska, though, where there
is little to no congestion?

John Lansford, PE
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-23 18:01:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
OK, I'm the only arrogant idjet complaining. Then yes, the politician
should ignore me. Free choice is what it is all about. So I shop
around and find the place that best suits my needs.
Every place to live is a compromise of many factors. Jobs, houses,
cost-of-living, entertainment, transportation, schools, shopping,
family, friends, etc. Also, each person has their own needs.

I know many people who wouldn't mind moving to a less congested
area. But they don't want to give up their job (they do like to
eat) or the benefits that come from living in their area.

Sometimes moving away only moves the problem. People move to
a newly developed area that is uncongested. But after the
developers are finished, the area is populated and just as
congested as the place they left behind, maybe even more so.

So, good luck in your search for the ideal balance.


Frankly, the tone of your posts remind me of some disgruntled
neighbors upset at the high cost of housing and traffic congestion
in our area. In their old town, a nice full house costs only $25,000.
Given that, I asked why they don't move back. The answer is there
are no jobs back home; and here they have very good high paying jobs.
Post by Dick Boyd
To more bluntly answer
John's question of why politicians should listen to MY definition, the
answer is I VOTE and even more so I AGITATE.
You aren't the only person who agitates and votes. As explained
to you in detail in other posts, there are many other people who
see things quite differently than you do and they agitate and
vote, too.
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-23 03:09:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
In my opinion, transportation is the handmaiden of land use. If land
use demands more transportation than roads, sidewalks, rivers, runways
provide, something is out of balance.
Yes it is. But that is a very simplistic answer. Different
interests have different views on what is appropriate land use.
For example, some people urge higher density separated by open
space and more public transit. Others vehemently oppose public
transit and prefer low density for cars only. There are still
other views. Who is right?

Land use and transportation is not something easily added or
subtracted overnight. There are a great many variables
that impact places many miles distant.
Post by Dick Boyd
Politicians have learned to game the system. Sadly, in the process of
gaming the system, politicians have set one group against another.
No. Groups have competing interests for tax dollars. That is
one reason many people are opposed to big govt and would rather
have the marketplace through the private sector define needs.

In many of the arguments you've advanced, it sounds like you'd
be best served by building your road and charging tolls on it
to pay for it. If the demand is a high for such a premium road
as you claim, you should have no problem making lots of money.

Yet for some odd reason, there are very few privately owned road
facilities in this country.
Post by Dick Boyd
In my opinion, asking an engineer about level of service decisions is
counterproductive. The engineers do the best they have with what funds
are provided. Yes, engineers can answer questions about expected flow,
lane width, number of lanes and so on. But engineers should not be
left with the decision about what level of service can be provided.
I don't think it works that way, nor are engineers making such
decisions. Like it or not, roads are a government function, and
like all govt functions, decided by politics. Roads compete
with schools, firehouses, theatre groups, parks and playgrounds,
welfare, defense, and every other govt function.

Considering where this country is with automobiles and roadways
and what has been built in the last 50 years, it seems to me
roads have done quite well.
Post by Dick Boyd
The LOS question should be addressed to politicians, in my opinion.
The answer to LOS should come from the people using the system. If
people are happy with spending hours in traffic jams when they could
be home playing horsehoes, then more power to em. I just don't want to
live there and I don't have to and I won't.
Are you willing to pay the gasoline taxes (and other taxes) to
pay for your road demands?
Post by Dick Boyd
Asking politicians to answer LOS questions is counterproductive.
People don't care enough about how transportation money is spent to
participate in the process. If a run of the mill citizen does
participate, the professionals chew him up and spit him out.
Some do, but most politicians I have questioned have been quite
candid, often telling us the answer we don't want to hear.
Post by Dick Boyd
Politicians have a knack of spinning the question so the answer is
bike paths (which guarantee good press and votes) or buses, trains and
ferry boats (which generates votes from the visionaries and
futurists).
Actually, in many jurisdictions bikes, sidewalks, buses, and
trains is a guarantee to lose an election. Which is why this
country is based on a road system, not a transit system.
Post by Dick Boyd
Seldom is the answer roads (which prompts unfavorable
action from NIMBYs and "greens").
Quite a few politicians and communities are very much pro-road.
Politicians always love to be photographed with the big oversized
check with money to expand a road, and to cut the ribbon when the
road opens. They are not quite as enthusiastic with sewer plants.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 08:04:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
2. Red Light Cameras as a deterent to intersection crashes. Wait,
that is a flaw in the people that operate the roads. So I'll repeat
No. 2.
Red light cameras are the result of arrogant drivers who refuse
to obey traffic laws.
Maybe. More likely, red light cameras are the result of a cash hungry
political group, or a tremdous sales effort by RedFlex or Nestor.

Crashes at signalized intersections are not reduced as a result of an
attempt to modify driver reaction to a changing signal. Crashes are
not reduced by the cameras. In those applications where the camera was
the only addition, crashes increase. In those instances where
modifications were made in yellow duration or resurfacing the approach
or making the signal larger, the drop in crashes was from engineering
changes, not the red light camera.

Look at the fatal and injury crashes at signalized intersections.
Actions by the at fault driver include drunk, drugged, running from
the police, an emergency vehicle or the driver fell asleep. Red light
cameras won't change the behavior of those drivers.
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-21 23:11:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Crashes at signalized intersections are not reduced as a result of an
attempt to modify driver reaction to a changing signal.
I don't know how you can say that. When drivers run a red light,
the risk increases that a vehicle with a green light may hit them.
You're not supposed to run the red light.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-21 08:23:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw. So maybe the roads are in good shape but we can't say the same
about the people that operate them.
Perhaps the issue is the people who _drive_ over them.
Yes, the issue is with the people that drive over the roads. Do the
drivers understand the limits of the road in terms of stopping
distance? Probably not. Do they understand the limits of other drivers
in terms of adjusting to driver peculiarities? Probably not. Do they
understand the limits on the stopping distance or manuverability of
trucks? Probably not. Yet they still have a license and they still
skid when they brake too hard. They still cut in front of trucks or
drive in their blind spots. They still drive the posted limit in heavy
rain. They still don't know what the Slippery When Wet sign means.
They still insist on entering the intersection on green without
looking for conflicting traffic.

They are still confused by the disco effect of shadows at sunrise and
sunset on north south roads.

A bigger issues is with the engineer's understanding of the limits of
the drivers. It has only been a few years since Street Signs were made
with larger letters so they could be read from a distance. Or a
precursor sign for what street was coming up. That was a big battle to
get the standards changed. As I remember, it was J. Hamilton Lambert
of Fairfax County that bit the bullet and sprung for the money to make
street signs readable. Then other places adopted better signage.

Engneers, in my opinion, still don't have enough understanding of the
stress on a driver when spacing is less than two seconds at speeds
over 60 MPH. Or what triggers road rage. Maybe engineers don't have to
understand that.

But then what do engineers have to understand about the people that
will use the roads they design and build? What eyesight? What
peripheral vision? What reaction times? What degradation under stress?

How should the vehicle treat a drunk or drugged driver? Not allow
him/her to start the engine?
Jeff nor Lisa
2004-10-21 23:22:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
A bigger issues is with the engineer's understanding of the limits of
the drivers.
Over the years, I've seen innumerable engineering improvements
on roads to accomodate driver error. If your statement was
true, we'd still be building roads with 1940s standards.
Post by Dick Boyd
It has only been a few years since Street Signs were made
with larger letters so they could be read from a distance. Or a
precursor sign for what street was coming up.
Those things cost money which towns may not have or choose to
spend. Further, some of the big signs and precursor signs are
ugly and not wanted.

Technically, by your statement, every single street should have
a full expressway size illuminated with reflective buttons overhead
sign to be absolutely sure no one misses the turnoff.
Post by Dick Boyd
Engneers, in my opinion, still don't have enough understanding of the
stress on a driver when spacing is less than two seconds at speeds
over 60 MPH. Or what triggers road rage. Maybe engineers don't have to
understand that.
Engineers have to drive to work and elsewhere just like the rest
of us and I find it very hard to believe they're not quite in tune
with motorist behavior or reactions. The mindset of drivers is
extensively researched and taught to drivers as well as engineers.

But when the ROW for a road is based on a 300 year old Indian trail,
it may not be so easy to adapt without spending unavailable $$$$.

The people you should be blaming for roads not meeting your
wants and desires are your own neighbors who won't allow raising
gasoline taxes to pay for all this, or the razing of buildings and
land to permit wide enough footprints.
Rick Powell
2004-10-22 00:25:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by Jeff nor Lisa
Post by Dick Boyd
I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw. So maybe the roads are in good shape but we can't say the same
about the people that operate them.
Perhaps the issue is the people who _drive_ over them.
Yes, the issue is with the people that drive over the roads. Do the
drivers understand the limits of the road in terms of stopping
distance? Probably not. Do they understand the limits of other drivers
in terms of adjusting to driver peculiarities? Probably not. Do they
understand the limits on the stopping distance or manuverability of
trucks? Probably not. Yet they still have a license and they still
skid when they brake too hard. They still cut in front of trucks or
drive in their blind spots. They still drive the posted limit in heavy
rain. They still don't know what the Slippery When Wet sign means.
They still insist on entering the intersection on green without
looking for conflicting traffic.
They are still confused by the disco effect of shadows at sunrise and
sunset on north south roads.
A bigger issues is with the engineer's understanding of the limits of
the drivers. It has only been a few years since Street Signs were made
with larger letters so they could be read from a distance.
I guarantee this will be a bigger issue in the next 20 years, when the
number of age 65+ drivers will increase to about 30 million.
Post by Dick Boyd
Or a
precursor sign for what street was coming up. That was a big battle to
get the standards changed. As I remember, it was J. Hamilton Lambert
of Fairfax County that bit the bullet and sprung for the money to make
street signs readable. Then other places adopted better signage.
Better signage is always an issue that is being studied as well as
implemented. Notice how well the 3M reflectorized sign panels of
today read and last much better than the fast-fading button copy BGS's
of the 1960's. There's always room for improvement. I suspect the
future will bring non-distracting on-board electronic messages of some
sort to supplement the physical signage in the driving environment.
Post by Dick Boyd
Engneers, in my opinion, still don't have enough understanding of the
stress on a driver when spacing is less than two seconds at speeds
over 60 MPH. Or what triggers road rage. Maybe engineers don't have to
understand that.
There is so much research out there on these issues, if you want to
look for it. Again, these problems are endemic of the nature of
free-willed operators of motor vehicles with inherent physical
limitations travelling on systems that have inherent physical
constraints which are compounded by the physics of all those
free-willed operators in their environment. The future may take some
of the chaotic free-will component out of the equation by mandating
GPS or other electronic vehicle guidance/operating apparatus on
heavily-travelled routes. You could easily get 3600 vplph at 1 second
spacing in a non-stressful environment if all vehicles were traveling
at an exact speed and spacing protocol not depending on the human
reaction variability factor. That is, until the guidance system goes
on the fritz:-)
Post by Dick Boyd
But then what do engineers have to understand about the people that
will use the roads they design and build? What eyesight? What
peripheral vision? What reaction times? What degradation under stress?
The typical highway planner or designer does not have a PhD in human
physiology as it relates to the operation of a motor vehicle. They
almost always rely on the pool of research that has gone into
establishing design factors and safety factors that design to some
"economic" population of the driving pool. Designing to 99.9% of this
pool would cost more than designing to the typical 85% or so. Again,
the research is out there if you want to look for it. When I was a
grad student, there was tons of research $ in transportation, so much
that a number of structural and environmental engineers were doing
research assistantships in transportation rather than their majors.
Post by Dick Boyd
How should the vehicle treat a drunk or drugged driver? Not allow
him/her to start the engine?
It's done now in many states. Trouble is, it usually takes the first
or 2nd or 3rd DUI until one's car is ordered with the device by the
court.

Rick Powell
IDOT District 3
Dick Boyd
2004-10-23 03:04:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rick Powell
Post by Dick Boyd
A bigger issues is with the engineer's understanding of the limits of
the drivers. It has only been a few years since Street Signs were made
with larger letters so they could be read from a distance.
I guarantee this will be a bigger issue in the next 20 years, when the
number of age 65+ drivers will increase to about 30 million.
Not every intersection needs the larger signs. John L. made a valid
point on the return on investment. At least that is the way I read
John's comment. But the voice from Iowa makes a valid point also.
Should roads be built for 85% of the drivers or for 99.9999%. OK, I
paraphrased. So sue me. But don't expect to get any money from an
idiot. I hope that saves your time from sending an e-mail identifying
Dick Boyd as an idiot. I'll fess up to that title. But I'm a stubborn
idiot. Spelled idjet and pronounced idjet.

Intersections that have a higher crash rate may have that higher crash
rate because drivers do not have enough decision time because the
signs are not big enough to read, or are not conspicuous for whatever
reason.

There are too many states that do not admit dangerous locations. They
just flat deny they have a problem. No problems? No solutions.
Identify those states and cross them off the list of places to live or
visit. If the states don't have any dangerous intersections, then by
extension they don't have any intersections that have poor signage.
Don't bother pointing that out, it is like singing to a pig. I will
only annoy the poor critter and the bacon will taste bad.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-23 03:42:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rick Powell
Post by Dick Boyd
Post by Dick Boyd
I'm having a hard time coming up with a road flaw that isn't a people
flaw.
Or a
Engneers, in my opinion, still don't have enough understanding of the
stress on a driver when spacing is less than two seconds at speeds
over 60 MPH. Or what triggers road rage. Maybe engineers don't have to
understand that.
There is so much research out there on these issues, if you want to
look for it. ... You could easily get 3600 vplph at 1 second
spacing in a non-stressful environment if all vehicles were traveling
at an exact speed and spacing protocol not depending on the human
reaction variability factor. That is, until the guidance system goes
on the fritz:-)
Yep, tons of research, but little application. Was all that research
"Science Fair" project work, or was any of it useful? States that
adopt the research seem to think so. Their vehicle fatality rates are
falling. Now that a few states have taken the lead, isn't it about
time the others adopt what works. Roundabouts, anyone?
Post by Rick Powell
Post by Dick Boyd
But then what do engineers have to understand about the people that
will use the roads they design and build? What eyesight? What
peripheral vision? What reaction times? What degradation under stress?
The typical highway planner or designer does not have a PhD in human
physiology as it relates to the operation of a motor vehicle. They
almost always rely on the pool of research that has gone into
establishing design factors and safety factors that design to some
"economic" population of the driving pool.
All too true. Many engineers and the consultants they hire go by the
book. Seldom do they challenge the logic of what it says in the book.
Crown grade 2.0%? Where did that come from? Does cross grade depend on
any other factors? Road surface? Twenty-four hour rainfall? Snow melt?
If you do what you did, you will get what you got.

Today I toured a dam. The tour was hosted by the dam operators. There
is a road across the top of the dam. Maximum observed 24 hour rainfall
- 6 inches. About every 40 feet on either side of the road is a four
inch diameter scupper. There does not appear to be any crown or
superelevation, even though the dam curves. The approach roads, which
are built to federal standards never have standing water. Further down
the hill, where rainfall is less, but the road is built and maintained
by the county, standing water is common and crashes due to driving off
the road are common. The road handles heavy logging trucks. The road
atop the dam has never been resurfaced in the forty years it has been
there. The roads built to federal standards last about twenty with
resurfacing at ten. The county roads that feed this road last about
three, are resurfaced at five and are never rebuilt.

Designing to 99.9% of this
Post by Rick Powell
pool would cost more than designing to the typical 85% or so. Again,
the research is out there if you want to look for it. When I was a
grad student, there was tons of research $ in transportation, so much
that a number of structural and environmental engineers were doing
research assistantships in transportation rather than their majors.
Yes, the intitial investment required to satisfy 99.9999% (I'll go to
six sigma) will be greater, but what is the return on investment? Was
there a substantial savings on the soil test in Pisa? How much extra
does it cost to accomodate 99.9999% of the motorists rather than 85%?
How many crashes would be avoided? Would insurance costs go down
enough to make it worth the motorist's while?
Post by Rick Powell
Post by Dick Boyd
How should the vehicle treat a drunk or drugged driver? Not allow
him/her to start the engine?
It's (vehicle control for DUI) done now in many states. Trouble is, it usually takes the first
or 2nd or 3rd DUI until one's car is ordered with the device by the
court.
Rick Powell
IDOT District 3
If you live in Louisiana, upon conviction of the third DUI, you get a
medal and a franchise for a drive through daquari stand. If one of the
fatalities was a yankee or a Texan, you get two daquari drive through
franchises. Sarcastic remark, please ignore if you are insulted by
sarcasm or own a drive through daquari stand in Louisiana.
John Mara
2004-10-23 22:00:50 UTC
Permalink
Was there a substantial savings on the soil test in Pisa?
Somebody once said that with better engineering Pisa would just be another
Italian town with a pretty church.

John Mara
william lynch
2004-10-24 08:34:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Mara
Was there a substantial savings on the soil test in Pisa?
Somebody once said that with better engineering Pisa would just be another
Italian town with a pretty church.
Problem is, the tower isn't part of a church per se, but just a
belltower to show the people of Firenze how rich Pisa was. Even
if they'd had the brains to build it on nearby bedrock, it would
still be impressive. But not world famous.
Dick Boyd
2004-10-24 22:58:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Mara
Was there a substantial savings on the soil test in Pisa?
Somebody once said that with better engineering Pisa would just be another
Italian town with a pretty church.
John Mara
Dick boyd says if South Carolina Highways got the money they deserve,
South Carolina would be a better place to drive.

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