Study: US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

US map of future traffic congestion

With Labor Day weekend upon our American readers, many of you have probably loaded up your vehicles for the last road trip of the summer. But with Labor Day weekend comes traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. And while the Labor Day scrum is generally as bad as things get for the year, a study by the US Travel Association reports that a number of freeways across the country are in danger of heavily increased traffic levels becoming the new normal.

As originally reported on The Car Connection, Americans may be driving less, but the number of cars on our roads is outpacing that decline, which in turn places greater stress on the interstate network. Take Interstate 96, the freeway that runs from downtown Detroit to Grand Rapids, as an example. The only major cities on that east-west road, besides its termini, is the state capital, Lansing. But during Labor Day weekend, its traffic volume increases 154 percent. The USTA warns that unless a project is started quickly, the increased traffic flow will become the norm by 2030.

The USTA also analyzed 15 other major interstates, including three different stretches of I-95 on the country’s east coast, I-5 between Los Angeles and San Diego, I-45 between Dallas and Houston and I-15 between southern California and Las Vegas. Each route was at risk of anywhere from 117- to 159-percent increases in traffic flow by 2040. See the map above for more examples.

All of that sounds pretty daunting, but we also have to wonder if advances in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous technology over the same period will go a long way toward increasing average traffic speeds by greatly reducing accidents while safely increasing traffic density through platooning.

Either way, scroll down to take a look at the complete study.

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US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: I’m Stuck app informs your elected officials when you’re in traffic

Filed under: Safety, Technology

LA traffic

Traffic, as we’ve established, is one of the worst things about driving. Too many motorists on too few roads is enough to ruin one’s day, not to mention the impact vehicle congestion has on the environment. Now, though, an app called I’m Stuck can share the misery that comes with being lodged on the 405 for three hours for no apparent reason with the people that have the power to make road improvements: politicians.

Yes, I’m Stuck, as Wired describes it, is “like tweeting a company CEO when a product fails.” I’m Stuck sends a message directly to your local Representative or Senator about where you’re stuck and why. It includes everything from your average traffic jam to a subway delay to an overcrowded train.

Funded by Building America’s Future, an infrastructure advocacy group that counts former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as its co-chairs, I’m Stuck is meant to help shed light on the amount of productivity that is lost by transportation delays. It’s also designed to help Americans realize that politicians can have an effect on the amount of misery that comes with their commute.

Head on over to the I’m Stuck app’s website to have a closer look. The app is available, free of charge, in both the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace.

I’m Stuck app informs your elected officials when you’re in traffic originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 03 Aug 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar Lightweight E-Type introduced to Southern California traffic

Filed under: Etc., Jaguar

jaguar lightweight e-type accident

A staple vehicle at Irvine, California’s Cars and Coffee, this Jaguar Lightweight E-Type was heading north on Interstate 5 when it was involved in an accident. Cited in the article as a “1968 Jaguar,” this car is either a Lightweight E-Type replica or the article has the year wrong. Regardless, it’s a beautiful machine, and you can see it in its pre-smashed state on The Car Lounge.

Witnesses report that the Jag lost a rear wheel, which led to a chain reaction accident involving a Honda Civic, Toyota Yaris and a semi-truck. Drivers and passengers in the Civic and Yaris were taken to UCI Medical Center, while the driver of the Jaguar and the big rig were unhurt. Well… the driver of this Jaguar wasn’t physically hurt.

Jaguar Lightweight E-Type introduced to Southern California traffic originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 May 2011 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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U.S. D.O.T. says 2010 traffic fatalities lowest they’ve ever been

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

Ray LaHoodUnited States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that traffic deaths in 2010 were the lowest they’ve ever been, falling three percent from 2009’s record low. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projections, traffic fatalities fell from 33,808 in 2009 to 32,708 in 2010.

The Department of Transportation and NHTSA see the news as evidence that their public awareness campaigns, and stricter enforcement of traffic laws nationwide are working. According to NHTSA, traffic fatalities have steadily dropped in the last five years, falling 25 percent since 2005.

Specifically, the DOT and NHTSA cited programs like Over the Limit, Under Arrest, Click-it or Ticket and LaHood’s anti-distracted driving campaign as contributing factors to the drop in fatalities.

The biggest regional drop was in the Pacific Northwest, where fatalities plummeted 12 percent from last year. Arizona, California and Hawaii tied for second, each dropping 11 percent over 2009.

While we applaud most of the campaigns championed by NHTSA and the DOT, we can’t help but think that there are probably some larger factors at work here – namely, that Americans are motoring around in vehicles that are safer than ever before thanks to the proliferation of improved safety systems like stability control. Check out the official press release and associated horn-tooting after the jump.

[Source: NHTSA | Image: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty]

Continue reading U.S. D.O.T. says 2010 traffic fatalities lowest they’ve ever been

U.S. D.O.T. says 2010 traffic fatalities lowest they’ve ever been originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Apr 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Science Behind Traffic Jams

Science of Traffic Jams Infographic

The Science of Traffic Jams – Click above to view infographic

Nothing will ruin a pleasant drive quicker than the sight brake lights coming towards you on the highway. Miles ahead, someone or something has spooked the bejeezus out of traffic and now you’re about to pay for it with your free time. The mighty flow of America’s highways is about to be plugged by you and a couple hundred of your closest strangers.

The next time a traffic jam’s iron grip has you in its clutch, you can at least take heart knowing that scientists have figured out why they happen and who’s to blame. Follow the jump for this latest infographic on the Science of Traffic Jams by our friends at Car Insurance Guide, and tell us in the comments if knowing really is half the battle.

Click to view The Science Behind Traffic Jams infographic…

[Source: Car Insurance Guide]

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The Science Behind Traffic Jams originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 05 Mar 2011 14:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Overwhelmed by traffic, Beijing turns to new car sales lottery

Filed under: China, Government/Legal

In 2009, China became the largest auto market on the planet, surpassing the United States. 2010 proved to be more of the same, as China cemented itself as the king of car sales. But while automakers are living the high life in China, the capitol city of Beijing is trying to slam the brakes on new vehicle sales.

The problem, according to a Christian Science Monitor report, is that traffic has become so bad in the densely populated metropolis that the government has banned car sales until an auto sale lottery takes place. That’s right; if you’re in Beijing and you’d like a new car or truck, you’re going to have to put your name in a hat and hope for the best.

The first monthly lottery will take place on January 26. Each will give 20,000 prospective motorists authorization to actually buy a car. So far, a reported 100,000+ buyers have already entered the lottery. China will draw 240,000 names during the course of the year. Customers who sell their vehicle or lose it in an accident will be exempt from the lottery and they’ll be able to keep their plate for a future vehicle purchase. The lottery is expected to help Beijing car sales in half this year, compared to the 850,000 units moved in 2010. To further free up the stifling rush hour traffic, the government has also banned cars with out-of -city plates from traveling on Beijing roads during peak travel times.

The lottery will doubtless slow the pace of car sales, but that won’t do much to solve Beijing’s traffic woes. Motorists and dealers alike tell The Christian Science Monitor that they hope the move to a lottery system will buy Beijing officials the time needed to improve the city’s infrastructure and improve public transportation.

[Source: The Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo! | Image: Stan Wiechers via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 License]

Overwhelmed by traffic, Beijing turns to new car sales lottery originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 09 Jan 2011 18:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Disposable traffic cones, an idea whose time has come? [w/video]

Filed under: Etc., Safety, Videos, Design/Style

Disposable Cone video screenshot

Guy Griffith’s disposable traffic cones – Click above to watch video after the jump

You don’t really think about traffic cones very often, unless they are forcing you into a detour or stuck in your wheel well because you missed that last apex. Though we may not think of them, they’re all around us, and one man wants to make them disposable.

Two things that Guy Griffith knows: he is a horrible website designer, and he loves inventing. His current product is a clever disposable traffic cone, and it’s apparently gotten the attention of the White House. It’s almost a shame Griffith didn’t get to talk to the previous administration, because should he have gotten hold of then-President George W. Bush himself, the call may have resembled a Saturday Night Live sketch come to life (watch the video and you’ll catch our drift).

Critically, Griffith’s cones are not simply cheap ($2.95/piece) and designed to fall apart after one use, they appear to be strong and durable despite being made from paper and industrial-strength staples (you weigh down the cuff with sand to keep them from blowing away). For anyone that’s ever outfitted a racetrack or construction company with cones, you know that the orange rubber pylons are surprisingly expensive, and they’re heavy to lug around, so Griffith might just be on to something.

If you question the strength of Griffith’s pointy items, then click past the jump to watch the video all the way through to the end (and then be sure to watch a second video on his website).

[Sources: SafetyCones.net, YouTube]

Continue reading Disposable traffic cones, an idea whose time has come? [w/video]

Disposable traffic cones, an idea whose time has come? [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Jan 2011 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Crashvertising coming soon to a traffic jam near you?

Filed under: Etc., Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Humor

Crashvertising

Crashvertising – Click above to watch video after the jump

One thing’s certain: where there’s a car accident, there’s a crowd. The severity is irrelevant; people gawk. To capitalize on this untapped audience a team of marketers has introduced the concept of Crashvertising.

If the Crashvertise team is notified of an accident, head to the scene quickly with posters and roadside emergency triangles highlighting whatever campaign is being promoted. To further draw in onlookers, the Crashvertisers will hand out related swag to further drive home whatever message the advertiser du jour is looking to spread.

A video, available after the jump, highlights how the Crashvertise concept works. Now, before you go berserk in the comments… be aware that this is satire. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone decides to run with this…

Gallery: Crashvertising

CrashvertisingCrashvertisingCrashvertising country breakdownCrashvertising

[Source: Crashvertise]

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Video: Crashvertising coming soon to a traffic jam near you? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 18 Dec 2010 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hourglass traffic light concept is street racing’s best friend

Filed under: Etc., Safety, Technology, Design/Style

Hourglass traffic light concept
Designer Thanva Tivawong has come up with a solution for all you impatient drivers out there. What if you knew exactly when a stoplight was going to change from green to yellow, or more importantly, from red to green? In theory, traffic would be expedited and drivers would be less likely to try to beat yellow lights in the rush to make good time. That’s exactly the logic behind the hourglass stoplight concept you see above. As time soldiers on, the pixels in the light drain from top to bottom. When time’s up, the light changes color and the process starts all over again.

There are a couple of problems with this notion. First, colorblind drivers are left completely in the cold. More importantly, we’re also concerned about the idea of basically turning every intersection into a drag strip, complete with fully-functional Christmas trees. It’d be great for the street racing scene, sure, but we don’t want to give the granny in the lane next to us an excuse to lay down her best ETA when the light goes green.

[Source: Engadget]

Hourglass traffic light concept is street racing’s best friend originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Nov 2010 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Google quietly logs over 140k on autonomous cars in U.S. city traffic

Filed under: Technology

Sebastian Thrun, the man behind Google Streetview and work on Stanley, the autonomous vehicle from Stanford that’s won DARPA competitions, has teamed up with Google to create a fleet of self-piloting vehicles that have racked up over 140,000 unmanned miles. A handful of the vehicles have traveled 1,000 miles without any human intervention at all, and there’s been only one crash – when one of the autonomous vehicles was rear-ended by another car.

Of course, it will still be a long time before you’re popping down to the corner Ford dealer to pick up a Fiesta AI Edition. Still, to have seven cars plying California streets and highways making their own decisions puts us that much closer to concluding the first generation of data acquisition. One day the threat of car crashes could be virtually eliminated, if only we could get computers that didn’t crash.

[Source: Google, New York Times]

Report: Google quietly logs over 140k on autonomous cars in U.S. city traffic originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 10 Oct 2010 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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