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Smart Ramp

An Intelligent Highway On Ramp
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In Drivers Ed. my instructor made it very clear, "Never slow down on the On Ramp". More precisely, the objective is to match the speed of the traffic so you can safely merge into it.

Going to fast means that you have to slam on your brakes to keep from rear-ending a car in front of you or that you miss a "merge point". Going to slow means that you will never sucessfully get a "merge point" without the help of someone slowing down or chaning lanes to let you in.

Either way, the traffic on the highway is negatively affected and accidents happen. Also, the person that didn't merge has to stop and now everyone behind them cant' get to their safe merging speed, because they had to stop too.

The "Smart Ramp", uses as simple radar gun and a small integrated computer to track the average speed of approaching traffic in the right lane. This is displayed near the top of the ramp to tell the drivers what speed they need to drive to match the traffic and thus, have a better chance of merging correctly.

bspollard, Nov 25 2002

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       I'll vote for this. They can rip out those damn SLOW DOWN signs that are proliferating everywhere and put them to a good use. Maybe there could be a sign on the on ramp that flashes SPEED UP, YOU STUPID GIT !to the velocitationally challenged.
8th of 7, Nov 25 2002
  

       Longer ramps are another solution, though probably more expensive.
phoenix, Nov 25 2002
  

       In the end, it would cause more collisions, not fewer. It would encourage drivers to watch the sign when they should be watching the merging traffic and estimating the right speed for a safe merger with existing highway traffic. And what do you tell people on the ramp when the speed limit is 55 and the average speed of drivers going by is 75? Speed up and break the law? Or when speeding up will put a merging car into a clot of speeding traffic while approaching the highway a little more slowly will let all that traffic pass, should the system encourage the car to blast out into the middle of a pack of speeding cars?
horripilation, Nov 26 2002
  

       A valid solution to a genuine problem, but judgement and experience are, perhaps, more valid, as well as being more adaptable to varying conditions.
angel, Nov 26 2002
  

       Excuse me? I thought this idea was something to do with motoring. What in the name of apoplexy is the Sweet Voice Of Reason doing here?
egbert, Nov 26 2002
  

       horripilation - yes, if the speed of the on-coming traffic is 75, then you have to go 75 to safely merge into traffic. You should NEVER stop on an exit ramp, it's dangerous.   

       Also, the sign is at the TOP of the ramp, back where you would start to increase your speed therefore it would not affect your concentration at the merging area. That's the whole point of the idea, it's difficult to know the speed of traffic at the top of the ramp and by the time you know the speed you are in the midst of merging...it's just another tool to use to make merging easier. My fault for assuming that everyone would use some common sense at the bottom of the ramp.   

       Bottom line - people that are too afraid to drive safely should stay home or get their kids to drive them around.
bspollard, Nov 27 2002
  

       [bspollard] "yes, if the speed of the on-coming traffic is 75, then you have to go 75 to safely merge into traffic."   

       Or you have to slow the oncoming traffic to the speed limit. Otherwise, the highway excludes law-abiding drivers and encourages lawbreakers to continue breaking the law.   

       This cannot work as is because it would put the government in the impossible position of recommending that drivers break the speed limit the government has set and is charged with enforcing. And if the government raised the speed limit to, say, 75, people would then drive by at 90, so the problem would remain.   

       The only thing that could work would be to put a limit (the posted speed limit) on it so that it would encourage very slow drivers to speed up but never to exceed the limit. And to work properly, it would also have to tell oncoming traffic to slow down to match the correct (posted) speed. Then everyone would be told to merge at a safe, equal speed.
horripilation, Nov 27 2002
  

       Momentary changes in speed are useful. If that was not the case, then why can my car go faster than 70MPH? One reason is safety (there are others). Irregardless of your opposition to driving above the posted speed limit, if you plan on driving on the highway and merging on to it, you have to match the speed of the on-coming traffic.
bspollard, Dec 11 2002
  

       Here in Florida they have on ramps where the status quo is to wait for a big gap and then speed up and merge on the highway. It's madness!   

       Instead of signs with speed and position, a series of lights on the pavement that indicated where traffic gaps are (by being on for no cars and off for cars, or green for safe and red for not safe) could be useful.   

       I've thought of a similar scheme for traffic signals. A series of lights on the road indicate if you are going to get the green or have to stop for a red light, so that you can match your speed to the green and not have to wait.
talldave, Jul 06 2003
  

       I still want to see this...
bspollard, May 24 2004
  
      
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