Monday, March 14, 2016

Needed Oklahoma Traffic Innovations

  Other states and nations have developed some great innovations in traffic engineering. It appalls me that Oklahoma fails to do any earnest  effort to research and institute these great designs. We'll look into just a couple of them and get the readers' reactions.

Zipper Merging: Minnesota does this quite well. Instead of backing up one lane of traffic and tempting selfish drivers to cut in line, MNDOT and the Minnesota municipalities post a sign at the beginning of lane closures which reads; "Alternate Merge. Some lighted sign trailers say; "Allow Merging".  They refer to it a "zipper merging". It is especially helpful in municipal retail zones because traffic doesn't back up more than half of the "form one lane" alternative.

Roundabouts: England loves them We see them in rare occasions throughout the USA, but they are proven to move traffic at less cost and higher volume than traditional traffic lights.
The popular science tv show, Mythbuster, spent an entire episode to do the control group study of both types of traffic engineering (4-way stop & roundabout), and concluded that roundabouts are far superior in moving traffic. It prevents the need for traffic lights and the disasters which come with power failures at traffic lights.
Accidents are far less dangerous because there is almost no chance of a 'T-bone' or of a head-on collision. Side scuffs are about the only real scenario not prevented. Driver education is more necessary, though. 
A Traffic Circle is not the same thing as a Roundabout. The design and the traffic laws are different. MNDOT created a great primer video to educate the public about the desing and proper use of the roundabout. Watch it, here.

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