Traffic

Less is more?

We’ve all experienced this before – you’re going down the highway at 65 MPH when all the sudden the brake lights in front of you light up.  You jam on the brakes and slow to 25.  You chug along at 25… 15… 10… then 25… 45… 55… and then back to 65.  You don’t pass anything on the side of the road.  It was just a random slow down.

I believe this happens when the road reaches a certain saturation point and drivers become uncomfortable with the speed they are driving in close proximity to so many other cars.  A few drivers have subconscious mini-panic attacks and tap the brakes.  That causes a chain reaction, slowing down all the cars behind them.  This also brings a larger group of cars together, making the problem worse.

I think the answer is in active management of the speed limit with electronic signs.  When the traffic density on a given stretch of road reaches a certain point lower the speed limit.  Gradually lower the speed limit just enough to keep everyone in a pack of cars in their comfort zone.

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