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pace cars for motorways

increase traffic flow
  (+7, -3)
(+7, -3)
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against]

This is inspired by waugsqeke's quantized speeds for cars, and a couple of other car:speed ideas, but i think it has the legs to stand alone as an independent idea.

For long distance highways / motorways there is a higher overall traffic throughput when speeds are standardised along the whole route. If there is, say, an accident heavy traffic that reduces the average speed of drivers at point x, those drivers who are coming from point y will race up behind the slower traffic and create a tailback.

What I would propose is a system of pace cars, that hold the traffic at a series of calculated speeds to keep overall traffic throughput at an optimum.

There would be a number of ways of implementing this. I envisage something the like of tax breaks for commercial drivers / salesmen etc. to have speed regulating equipment hardwired into their cars.

Coupled up with some sort of RDS feedback to a central computer this will provide a map of overall traffic flow along the entire route, facillitating the calculations necessary to optimise traffic throughput.

goatfaceKilla, Jun 17 2002

speed governor http://www.halfbake..._20Speed_20Governor
[goatfaceKilla, Jun 17 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

waugs' idea http://www.halfbake...0Speed_20for_20Cars
[goatfaceKilla, Jun 17 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

other pace car like idea http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Speeding
[goatfaceKilla, Jun 17 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

traffic throughput http://www.emeraldi...ive/abstractaug.htm
abstracts of various papers concerning throughput / safety advantages of homogenised traffic flow [goatfaceKilla, Jun 17 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       Oh, so painful. While I like the intent of the idea (and probably wouldn't complain too loudly if it were implemented), any idea that forces behavior modification on the general public I have to vote against.
phoenix, Jun 17 2002
  

       As long as it's driven by, say, Bobby Rahal.
bristolz, Oct 06 2002
  

       Sounds expensive, though I would love the increased average speed.
jamesxi, Oct 11 2002
  

       I agree. Traffic waves are very irritating, and horrible for gas mileage. These cars would act as traffic wave filters, making the stop and go into a constant steady speed. It wouldn't make the average speed any slower, so, you'd get to your destination in the same amount of time. People on the freeway always seem to think they can go faster than the drivers in front of them. YOUR AVERAGE SPEED IS LIMITED TO THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU...there's no reason to tailgate, besides amplifying traffic waves.
nomel, Jun 10 2004
  

       Baked! Pace cars are apparently in use by police in Belgium. See the July 5th 2004 comment about 'blokrijden' on comments section of http://amasci.com/traf/ (It's not expensive if we have the state police be the pace cars.)
wbeaty, Mar 10 2005
  
      
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