Stopping Occasions

After a brief hiatus, my latest Slate column, in which I consider the humble stop sign (and its discontents), is up.

Also, please watch this space, as well as Slate itself, for the imminent launch of a project (working title: “The Nimble City”), which will solicit hive mind solutions to improving urban mobility in the 21st century — and which yours truly will write about and oversee.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 at 11:06 am and is filed under Etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Stopping Occasions”

  1. alex mizrahi Says:

    Jumping the gun on Nimble City: I just moved to New York City, and one easily correctable thing bothers me: the subway system has signs on the platforms that say how soon the next train is coming. These signs would do me a lot more good if they were placed outside, so I know if I need to run to catch the train or if I can take my time. Not knowing creates unnecessary angst among subway riders. Why can’t they just put that countdown clock on the stairway entrance? That way you don’t get people running to a train just to wait 10 minutes, and ideally it would cause fewer people to get to a track just as a train is pulling away.

    Though I suppose those against this might argue that it’s a bad idea because it would cause more people running, but from what I’ve seen, they’re running anyway, and sometimes for no purpose.

  2. Bristol Traffic Says:

    It’s not clear that roundabouts are the solution people think: they do flow but they don’t do fairness in scheduling: on a busy junction you can only get on if vehicles are getting off at your exit. In a roundabout where the only vehicles exiting are bicycles, and they can’t as the lane is blocked, you aren’t going to get any clear time at all

    as a result of this unfairness, you end up seizing any opportunity to pull out, even if the roundabout is so congested you can’t exit it. At which point deadlock:

    There’s also the problem of pedestrian crossings, vehicles exiting roundabouts rarely give way to pedestrians, making them hazardous places to cross near.

    Presumably these failure modes are all a function of load, but once that state is reached, what can be done? All you have left is signals, but roundabouts are really hard to retrofit signalling from, as there is no buffering; a couple of vehicles waiting at one light can block up others trying to get on or off.

    At least signalled roundabouts are easiest to negotiate on a bicycle towing a child; most roundabouts in straight on or right turn operations need you to be aggressive and pull out fast; doesn’t work with luggage

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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