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Adam leads us through some key concepts related to traffic engineering in this episode of The Engineering Commons podcast.
- Brian has some practical reason for looking forward to self-driving cars.
- During 2013 the United States experienced 32,719 motor-vehicle related fatalities.
- Self-driving cars may have a disruptive effect on the auto insurance industry.
- Our guest for this episode is Adam, a traffic engineer who works for a Midwestern state’s Department of Transportation. In addition to being a licensed professional engineer, our guest also co-hosts a popular engineering podcast.
- Adam views traffic engineering as having two parts: (a) handling issues related to the design, installation, and maintenance of road signage, signals, and lighting; and (b) being a advocate for drivers as roads are planned and developed.
- Pneumatic tubes, laid across the roadway, are but one means for estimating traffic volume.
- A common measure of traffic volume is annual average daily traffic (AADT).
- Economic impact studies can help justify roadway expenditures, as governmental agencies typically receive no additional revenue as a result of improved traffic flows or increased safety.
- Jeff describes an nearby interstate bridge that has been closed for a month, and wonders about the economic cost to his home state.
- The annual average daily traffic seen on US interstates is widely varied.
- A graphical representation of relationships between traffic speed, flux, and density is provided by a fundamental diagram of traffic flow.
- Traffic can be held up by curious (and slow-moving) observers known as rubberneckers or lookie loos.
- Shockwave theory helps explain the accordion effect of some traffic jams.
- Intelligent transportation systems use advanced information collection and processing capabilities to evaluate and coordinate traffic flows.
- Freeway volume may be regulated using ramp meters.
- Another means for regulating traffic flow is the use of high-occupancy toll lanes
- Oregon is investigating mileage taxes in the hopes of raising additional funds for road and bridge maintenance.
- Roundabouts seem to be gaining in popularity as a means for regulating traffic at road intersections.
- Automated traffic lights have been used in the United States since the late 1890s for controlling traffic flows.
- Various means are available for programming traffic signals.
Thanks to Prayitno Hadinata for the photo titled “LA traffic jam = daily occurence!” Podcast theme music by Paul Stevenson.