Vehicle: Traffic Jam
Merge By Persuasion   (+18, -4)  [vote for, against]
Portable speed bumps in order to persuade people to merge into a lane

I noticed that even if a construction zone 2 miles ahead tells you that you must merge, there will still be a handful of idiots who drive as far in the disappearing lane as they can only to jam the even flow of traffic in the merged lane. This jamming prevents the traffic from flowing smoothly and steadily. If the DOT could place portable rubber speed bumps with increasing frequency prior to the final merge point, then traffic would be dissuaded from trying to cut ahead of everyone else.
-- BMCCUE, Sep 26 2005

Zipper-Style http://www.fahrtipp...chlussverfahren.jpg
[loonquawl, Mar 24 2009]

Interesting approach.
-- half, Sep 26 2005

-- daseva, Sep 26 2005

Works for me.
-- DesertFox, Sep 26 2005

Increasing height, not frequency. Or both.
-- bungston, Sep 26 2005

If the lane that you're in will disappear in two miles, there's no point leaving it now; wait until 100 yards (or even less) before it disappears, otherwise you're wasting two miles of perfectly good road. If everyone does this, and everyone merges in turn when the lane finally does disappear, there'll be even less congestion.
-- angel, Sep 27 2005

Tubes full of sand is one alternative to the suggested method. Overall +
-- reensure, Sep 27 2005

The bumps could also be tilted so as to "nudge" your car gently into the other lane.
-- phundug, Sep 28 2005

Angel's only right if those in the other lane leave enough space to allow you to merge without slowing down, which they don't. (And this causes everyone to slow down when you have to jam in there at 3mph)
-- Laimak, Sep 28 2005

//If the lane that you're in will disappear in two miles, there's no point leaving it now//

The more traffic there is, the more time people would need to merge into a flow with one less lane. If there is very little traffic, and reducing the road by one lane will only marginally conjest the flow, then angel is right. But, in the more troublesome case of heavy traffic, waiting until the very end will create a plug to the overall traffic flow. Since this case is really what we are all worrying about, I say [angel] is wrong. If I wait until the very end, instead of making the person behind me only slightly speed down to let me over, now that person has to drastically reduce his/her speed, throwing everyone in his wake into a similar disequilibrium. A fine merge is like fine laminar flow. This would surely encourage it.
-- daseva, Sep 28 2005

"conjest", so that's what sometimes causes me to start coughing when I'm laughing hard.
-- half, Sep 29 2005

The idea is sound, but I have the feeling that the 'last second' guys will just do their thing at the beginning of the temp-porta-speed-bumps(tm).
-- Dog, Sep 29 2005

Insert obligatory reference to custard here.

Nice one. Welcome to the bakery. (WTAGIPBAN - Wasn't That A Great Idea Posted By A Newbie)
-- krelnik, Sep 29 2005

This idea will do one of two things, assuming we're talking about full speed traffic:

1. Cause everyone to merge before the speed bumps. Then [BMCCUE] will complain about the people that wait until right before the speed bumps to merge.

2. Some will actuallly drive on these speed bumps. I'd like to see you merge while going over speed bumps. This will dramatically increase accidents and therefore traffic. [-]

Besides, the type of person that waits until the last minute in full speed traffic are the ones that are afraid of merging, not those trying to cut in line. Adding speedbumps will just increase their stress and chances of acting rashly.

If we're talking about slowed traffic, then [angel] is correct. You're limited by the bottleneck, not what's before the bottleneck. Using both lanes increases road capacity, which keeps the line of traffic shorter. This blocks less traffic upstream (like people getting off offramps), and in the end everyone gets home faster.
-- Worldgineer, Sep 29 2005

You are limited by the speed of the traffic through the bottleneck. Gradual merging increases this speed.

Typical question: 2 lane traffic is flowing steadily at 80 mph at maximum density. What must the speed be through a one lane passage if this speed is not to be impeded whatsoever?

160 mph. Drastically high. The point is, however, that the bottleneck dosen't force people to slow down, people's driving behavior does. People aren't going to speed up through a bottleneck, even though they should to maintian traffic flow. Instead, they keep their pace, or naturally slow down as the road is narrowed to one lane.

The most efficient approach to a bottleneck is gradual merging, allowing for maximal speed through the neck. Driving right up to the neck dosen't support this idea since your speed through the neck will be greatly impeded by this method.

The speedbumbs do not have to be so invasive as to dissuade people from driving over them altogether. This is a silly assumption.
-- daseva, Sep 29 2005

//The most efficient approach to a bottleneck is gradual merging, allowing for maximal speed through the neck.// Gradual merging is irrelevant at slow speeds or high traffic conditions. Take another look at your equation. If people are willing to go 50 mph past construction, the speed behind the bottleneck must be 25 mph at most (actually quite a bit slower than that, as it takes time for cars to accelerate to 50 from 25, plus distances between cars increase with speed). No matter what kind of magical merging scheme you have, you can't speed this up. Below 25 mph you see little or no speed effects between slow, gradual merging and quick merging.

//The speedbumbs do not have to be so invasive as to dissuade people from driving over them altogether. // Certainly they do. The whole point of a speed bump is to slow people down - they are uncomfortable to drive over at high speeds. Having any kind of texture will serve to slow people down and distract them during the relatively dangerous act of merging.
-- Worldgineer, Sep 29 2005

You make driving sound like a tightrope walk.

Of course, we are only talking about those conditions where the benefit of merging applies. At heavy traffic, the only way to speed them up is to tell them to go faster. At light conditions there is no pressure to merge. Indeed, the idea of portable merging bumps is to facilitate the occurance of spontaneous events that may require merging.
-- daseva, Sep 29 2005

I'm all for that. It'll get everyone out of my lane.

//facilitate the occurance of spontaneous events that may require merging// Ah, creating accidents to require more portable speed bumps. I like your business model.
-- Worldgineer, Sep 29 2005

-- daseva, Sep 29 2005

If you have already been warned the lane ends and you need to be warned again,GET OFF THE ROAD!
-- python, Sep 30 2005

In Germany it is even mandatory to wait till the last meters (and until there is no other car left in front of you) before changing lanes in such an event. It's called Reissverschlussverfahren (zipper-style) and works really well, as most people in both lanes adhere to it, The drivers in the lane that continues let one car in front of them, then drive on, next car goes in behind them, etc... There is even a road sign reminding drivers to adhere to this system
-- loonquawl, Mar 24 2009

random, halfbakery