Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Priorities and Signal Timing

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece to help dispel the myth of signal timing as an effective tool in the fight against congestion. Reader Ken sent me this from NPR, a look at signal timing at singular intersections.

I won't spend too much time on it, but I want to point out some very relevant observations from it.

  • Why are the lights timed only for cars?
  • How do freeways effect the timing?
  • Differently designed crossings can prioritize pedestrians over cars.
  • Cities have different strategies and priorities for their intersections.
  • What are the land uses near the intersection?
While these were focused on one intersection, they apply to the corridor timing as well.

It's a common problem in transportation planning as I see it in Texas. There are two questions in regards to transportation planning that are similar, but have two totally different answers.

How can we move as many people as possible? or How can we move as many cars as possible?

In Texas as a whole and Dallas in particular, the second question is almost always the one asked.

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