Like some people,
February 9, 2000 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Like some people, I'm obsessed with traffic. I was very happy to hear that Toyota is developing chips to drive smart cars, since groups of people in cars can't seem to drive very well on their own. I've studied traffic for years (living in LA means lots of "time in the lab") and have actually tried no-stopping experiments and observed merging behavior. People seem to use their brakes too much, or over-react to people ahead tapping their brakes. I can't wait until the day traffic flow can be controlled by computer, LA might be livable again. Just to prove to others that this is in fact a thinly-veiled simpsons newsgroup, Homer and Bart benefited from similar driving-assistance technology in episode #AABF13.
posted by mathowie (2 comments total)
I *love* this link.

Being on a bike gives me a somehwhat different perspective on traffic flow, as well as the observation of some additional dynamics you don't see in a car - like the relative lateral position of vehicles in a lane, how that changes from day to day and from freeway to freeway. The "motorcycle lane" on the 101 is generally very generous at any time of day or night, while on the 710 freeway it is almost always tight. Why? Are the lanes narrower on the 710? Not from what I can tell when I'm in a car. I mean, it's not like we're talking Ethiopia and Norway, there shouldn't be a genetic component at play here... Why is it that every once in a while, the traffic squeezes the Motorcycle Lane on the 101? I still go through it, so I know it's not just a couple of cars, it's everyone on my 6 mile stretch of road. Is it fluid dynamics? Herd mentality? I would have argued the latter, but after this link, I'm thinking about the possibilities of the former...

Oh, and per our new mandate: "mmmmm.... merge jam"

posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:31 PM on February 9, 2000

As another denizen of LA (I live in the Valley and work in Hollywood, so I 101 it every day) what I cannot figure out is why 1.) rain and, 2.) curves in the road present such a traffic problem. Being a New England native it puzzles me that a small shower or intemittant drizzle can turn a 25-minute commute into an hour? Why is it that all of traffic finds it too hard to negotiate a 10 degree curve in the road? Living out here has made me pine for the day that my
posted by Awol at 4:51 PM on February 9, 2000

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