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More bitching about commuting [Jun. 12th, 2007|07:06 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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[Current Mood |amusedamused]

So I need to drive up to SF to do a car switcheroo. I'm done with work and I'm sitting in front of my computer hitting refresh on the traffic report page again and again waiting for Northbound 101 to clear up. I'm not completely sure how this is better than sitting in traffic, but it sure feels better :-) Commuting, thinking about commuting and planning my commute (oh, and blogging about commuting) seem to be taking up more and more of my day.

If the roads were up to me, this is what things would be like. Brace yourself.
  • All areas of cities except for the hip parts downtown would be urban sprawl. Freeways would criss-cross the whole country, so that city driving would be minimal.
  • All roads would have at least two lanes. One idiot won't be able to hold up the traffic any more.
  • Intersections would be minimal. Roundabouts would be the preferred junction type.
  • Where intersections existed, there would always be a left turn lane and a right turn lane when you approach the intersection. That way, you could always make a right on a red if there was no cross traffic, and left turners could never hold up the traffic headed straight. (This fact alone currently wastes a significant chunk of the time in city driving.)
  • Minimum speed limits would be strictly enforced everywhere (except for the rightmost lane). Since all roads have at least two lanes, this wouldn't be much of a problem.
  • On freeways, access to lanes wouldn't be based on carpooling or anything stupid like that, but instead on how much vehicle registration fees you paid (there'd be several levels and you can choose which bracket you want to be in). If you paid enough, you can always be sure of being able to use the leftmost lane and being sure of getting to your destination at the planned time.
Ok. Tell me how much you hate it in the comments.

[User Picture]From: theswede
2007-06-13 08:05 am (UTC)
Roundabouts are the norm here these days - they're replacing intersections with roundabouts at a massive rate. It's a bitch, since people suck at driving in roundabouts - we have many more accidents now. On the upside, we have fewer fatal accidents, so the tradeoff still makes sense, but it's a bitch nonetheless. Did I mention I hate driving in roundabouts?

But then, the mass transit system is very good for most purposes - just not for my job, but such is the price I pay for working in the industrial sector on a consulting basis.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2007-06-15 05:39 pm (UTC)
That's surprising. I don't have much experience with roundabouts myself, but according to wikipedia:
Roundabouts are safer than both traffic circles and traditional intersections—having 40% fewer vehicle collisions, 80% fewer injuries and 90% fewer serious injuries and fatalities (according to a study of a sampling of roundabouts in the United States, compared with the intersections they replaced). Roundabouts also reduce points of conflict between pedestrians and motor vehicles and are therefore considered to be safer for them. However, roundabouts, especially large fast moving ones, are unpopular with some cyclists. This problem is sometimes handled on larger roundabouts by taking foot and bicycle traffic through a series of underpasses.

In addition to improved vehicle and pedestrian safety, and in spite of lower speeds, roundabouts dramatically outperform traffic circles in terms of vehicle throughput and, because a roundabout's circular traffic is always moving, they outperform ordinary junctions with traffic signals as well.
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[User Picture]From: theswede
2007-07-19 12:13 am (UTC)
I suspect it has to do with the already very low accident rate in Sweden, and much more skilled drivers, on average.

(Yes, I just got the email on this one, weird!)
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