By Ami Cholia
Posting in Cities
A new management system - Midtown In Motion - in New York City, will allow city traffic engineers to readjust traffic lights based on where congestion is the highest as an attempt to ease gridlock in the area.
Driving through midtown Manhattan is usually annoying and difficult. More often than not you're often stuck in a gridlock of cabs, trucks and pedestrians. You can often walk faster than making it through through traffic. Now the city of New York is attempting to change all that through a new management system - Midtown In Motion - that will allow city traffic engineers to readjust traffic lights based on where congestion is the highest. The system will work remotely to ease up traffic in the area in real-time.
The technology works through microwave sensors, traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers that are placed at 23 intersections around the city, which send information wirelessly to the city’s Traffic Management Center in Long Island City. The data is then transmitted to mobile devices for public viewing.
Mayor Bloomberg, who unveiled the system at a press conference said, "They can sit there and touch buttons to turn a light green quicker, leave it on green quicker, leave it off green quicker, whatever the case may be.”
The system, which cost $1.6 million to build has been developed since last year. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement, “Midtown in Motion brings dynamic controls for a dynamic city to help keep its transportation network and economy moving.”
Of course, no one should expect the system to magically make everything better in a few weeks, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Jul 21, 2011
I've seen the system in White Plains, right in the control center. Manhattan's is workable... because it's exactly as described in the article. Keep some lights on red/green longer to alleviate traffic; that's the entire idea, and it works brilliantly. No different from putting a traffic cop on every corner to judge the traffic and keep it flowing as efficiently as possible, considering the form and structure of the streets. You won't come up with a better practical idea.
Manhattan will be such a nice place that everybody will want to go there. So the problem comes back, but with more people involved ... On the other hand, if you make the traffic system punish people for using their vehicle - as has been tried elsewhere - fewer people go there. It is still awful, but this time by design! It seems that congestion always increases to the limit of human tolerance. If you find somewhere nice that isn't crowded please tell us about it. --- Or on second thoughts, don't.
Traffic roundabouts are a much better solution. They are much lower maintenance. They keep the traffic moving . Traffic that is stationary waiting for the lights to change and still burning fuel is a major waste, poluting the atmosphere . Roundabouts reduce the accident rate at junctions by 50%-100%.
Took me more than an hour to drive 10 blocks when traffic to enter Lincoln Tunnel was re-routed to a different entrance last night. Traffic light cadence seemed undisturbed!
Eliminating traffic lights have been tried with success in the UK, France. Excerpts from http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23740921-boris-johnson-plans-to-remove-traffic-lights-to-make-roads-safer.do: The "naked streets" concept has been put into practice in Kensington High Street, where there was a 44 per cent drop in accidents in the past two years after road markings and railings were removed. Now the Mayor wants to spread the policy across London, starting with Mayfair. "It's about improving journeys and the beauty of our public spaces," said Mr Johnson. "More and more traffic lights are not always the answer. We want to ask, what are these lights doing here? What risk are they addressing?" The concept of removing safety features on roads was pioneered in Holland and has since been tested in London, Brighton and Ashford in Kent.
Take away the need to travel. Why put everybody downtown? Build self contained 'whole life' environments so that pleasant work units are within walking or cycling distance of home. For intangible productivity use the internet to work from home. Shift materials to people for them to work on, not people to materials. We do too much wasteful and unnecessary work in our society - cut the individual working week to 4/7 instead of 5/7 and reduce the 'weekday' commute load by over 40% by then going to 7/7 communal work week. Do as much again by staggering individual work hours and extending the communal work day. There are lots of ways of managing things better than putting each commuter into a space 40 times bigger than the commuter and trying to move that package 10-20 miles twice a day all at roughly the same time. Just don't try things that have little or no chance of working. Yesterday's solution to yesterday's problem isn't working any more.
Um, not intending to sound rude but have you ever been to New York City? The layout is a grid (parallel and perpendicular) with buildings on most corners. To make roundabouts would require tunneling through four buildings at every intersection. That is not an easily solved engineering problem; that is a logistical nightmare.
Don't forget the driving ability (or lack of) here in the U.S. compared to over there. I've driven in Rome and Naples and would in no way try to drive in Manhattan! I honestly believe that if we had to take a complete driving test here over 80% would fail.