Skip to comments.Hogan announces $50 million signal upgrade on Maryland highways to improve traffic flow
Posted on 11/28/2017 4:13:40 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Drivers in 14 state highway corridors in Maryland will see their travel times cut over the next year as a result of a $50 million upgrade to traffic signals, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday.
The new system, billed as the second phase of Hogans program to relieve highway traffic congestion, will use artificial intelligence to better synchronize signals and improve traffic flow, officials said. The governor said the adaptive signal control system replaces technology that is more than 20 years old.
Nearly 700,000 Marylanders will benefit every day from these transformational improvements, Hogan said during a news conference at the State Highway Administrations operations center in Hanover.
The Smart Signals program follows Hogans announcement last month of a $9 billion initiative to add lanes to the Capital Beltway, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Interstate 270. That announcement was fiercely criticized by environmental advocates, but his new initiative is receiving a warmer reception.
This is a welcome approach that makes the existing infrastructure perform better, said Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of the conservation group 1,000 Friends of Maryland.
The signals program is designed to adjust to changing traffic conditions in real time 24 hours a day, without the need for human intervention. Current traffic signals are pre-programmed according to highway engineers expectations, but cant react to crashes, construction or unusual events.
While much smaller in scale than the road-widening plan, the second phase is expected to deliver more immediate congestion relief.
All of the 14 corridors are in metropolitan Baltimore or Washington. None are in Baltimore, because the city operates its own road system and receives annual payments to maintain state highways within its borders.
(Excerpt) Read more at baltimoresun.com ...
Maryland “Freak State” PING!
What is really needed is artificial intelligence to replace Maryland drivers, who are among the worst in the country. DC area traffic is terrible, but when someone cuts you off in heavy traffic, refuses to let you change lanes, cheats up the shoulder in heavy traffic situations, etc., etc., etc., nine times out of ten it is a Maryland driver.
But yeah, better signaling would help. It's a much better investment than building new lanes to widen the rush hour parking lots. We are probably moving towards a smart-roads grid with fully interactive signalling based on continuous monitoring of traffic flow. That will speed things along, thus empowering the developers to extend the sprawl out another 20 miles to restore the natural equilibrium of gridlock. Since Democrats now believe that emigrating to the U.S. is a universal entitlement, I guess we should start planning on a population of two billion by the end of the next century.
And suburbanites will still be demanding that government provide an expressway from their distant cul de sacs to downtown.
Are they going to pay for this with tolls?
Import Third World, get Third World drivers.
‘Solutions’ such as these usually aren’t, of course, since traffic volume remains constant or increases and road capacity still has practical and theoretical limits.
Obviously as a self-respecting FReeper I don’t think much of government oversight but most big-city zoning and planning boards are either corrupt or cowardly or both. Developers come in and propose XYZ retail or ‘multi-family’ (don’t get me started on this ruse) and have the brass neck to offer their own (flawed, slanted) traffic impact studies which zoning boards accept without questioning it.
The developers also ask for curb cuts/access points which invariably become points of congestion and which invariably get their own set of lights. The developers pay nothing and it takes you 20 min longer to get from A to B on an arterial road or even longer on a once-quiet semi-rural road that has been turned into a quasi-Interstate.
Roundabouts are hardly a panacea especially given the aforementioned bad drivers but the four-way intersection is, for the most part, an anachronism that has survived only because it takes up the least amount of land.
Governments are happy to annex townships, cities, and unincorporated land and happy to work with developers in clear-cutting every last tree and bit of green to put up yet another Target or The Suncrest At Villa Hills Luxury Apartment Homes (or some other tacky name) but governments are slow to (re)claim land that would solve traffic issues. Most rights-of-way and easements are woefully undersized and underutilized.
As always, when government announces their grand plan the question is: what the hell took so long?
This is what kills me about the suburbanites. They make the tradeoff to live far away and have long commutes in exchange for having a larger yard and fewer neighbors. Fine. But then having moved far away and facing longer commutes they act like the urban areas should basically be turned into highways for their benefit. Screw that. Sit in your car for 90 minutes each way, listen to your podcast, spew pollution and enjoy every minute of it. That’s what you chose.
You’re so right. The “traffic study” has to be the most ridiculous game of all. Someone paid by the developers who want the study to show no change to traffic patterns from an 18 story condo/office/shopping tower plunked in the middle of a congested suburban shopping miraculously produces a study showing that the additional 500 cars a day will produce no change in traffic patterns. Every time.
Is it 3rd World drivers? Or is it idiots texting and Facebooking?
Next time youre out and about, look into the cars next to you and see how many drivers are holding a phone up in one hand.
We have an insurance guy in Rotary who says accident rates are significantly climbing over the last several years because of this. It cant help traffic flow, either. I know Im faster on the horn when the light changes and the car in front of me doesnt move, as I figure hes texting. I dont want to miss another traffic light cycle.
I live in one of these corridors in Aberdeen. We’ll see.
The state is also widening the road. I think they are going on the third year of what seems to be a relatively straightforward project.
The opposite scenario is true also, of course.
When governments want to raise gas or property taxes to build roads they suddenly discover and announce that roads we already knew were oversubscribed need to be expanded and announce scary volume statistics.
One hates to be a cynic but it’s the only way to keep one’s sanity.
Oh believe me I see both - the groups are not mutually exclusive.
Apart from the people who think they’re still driving in Cairo or Islamabad I see Mexicans in dilapidated trucks and vans hauling flatbed trailers with mowers, trimmers, diggers, etc. are a proper menace around here. The trailers invariably lack brake lights or turn signals, the drivers change lanes randomly and generally go too slowly - especially when they take these ramshackle rigs onto the interstate.
Oh yeah, I’m sure there are both, and that it’s an overlapping Venn diagram. But the idiots texting and Facebooking circle is just so big these days.
Traffic signals have no effect when you continue to issue drivers licenses to those whose only previous experience was driving ox carts in some third world sh!t hole.
Right again. But if they had not permitted all the development in all those random places, the traffic would not have gotten so bad.
And once the traffic is bad, it stays bad, forever. Adding a lane helps for maybe a day and then more cars flood in from elsewhere to fill that temporary void. Cars are wonderful to use, but terrible when other people use them. Mass transit for all the other people, and I stay in my car on empty roads is the best solution.
If you really want most people to take mass transit, you will have to start doing so yourself to set the example.
I will pay them to get out of my way.
That's the nub of my own parochial issue. There is a point of diminishing returns on the automobile commute. That's not a fixed number; it depends on local topography, natural barriers like rivers, mountains or a coastline, and whether or not an older city has a compact downtown or is an automobile age place built for sprawl from the beginning. Whatever that point is, however, once a city grows beyond it, commutes will only get worse. Roadbuilders can't possibly keep up. We need to be talking about mitigation and adaptation, not "solutions."
The key adaptation will be for people to live closer to their jobs. This gets quite complicated in practice, as it means stepping away from the maximal spatial segregation enabled by the automobile in favor of more mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with high densities oriented around transit lines. Newly arising cities, and newly emerging edge cities in existing metro areas, have a chance to build smart from the ground up. There will be a lot of rezoning and rebuilding to bring this about in already-urbanized places. But either way, living closer to one's work will start weighing ever-heavier in the calculus.
Voucher the schools to allow middle income folks to escape failing urban school systems without having to move, and residential realignment would be supercharged. (And the realighment, in turn, would eventually improve the urban schools, which are a lagging, not a leading, indicator of neighborhood quality.)
My first rule, therefore, is DO NO HARM to existing, close-in neighborhoods. These are inhabited by people who have already made the sensible decision to live close to their work. They shouldn't be compromised for the benefit of people who live 30 miles out and want a speedway to downtown. No more turning neighborhood streets into high speed, limited access expressways. No more new lanes that destroy neighborhood shopping districts by eliminating all the on-street parking. No sacrificing of public parks so that suburban cowboys can cut three minutes off their two hour commute. No more expressways through residential areas that can't be easily crossed every couple of blocks; people should be able to get around their own neighborhoods by foot or bike, and kids should be able to walk to school.
Want a better solution for something like the I-66 and I-270 corridors into DC? Take away a traffic lane and run a commuter rail line along the route. DC used to be ringed by trolley line suburbs where the drill was to walk to your neighborhood stop and catch the train. Metrorail provides this service in its various locations, but it is extremely expensive to build underground lines. We would be better served to start withdrawing traffic lanes and repurposing the reclaimed rights of way for rail.
Just in my corner of the city, we have extraordinary turnaround neighborhoods along H Street N.E., around and just north of Union Station, along M Street S.E., and along the SW Waterfront. Basically, the whole perimeter around historic Capitol Hill is getting posh. The whole riverfront on the east side -- both the Anacostia and the Potomac -- is going to be golden. For a lot of the people in these new neighborhoods, a car is simply more trouble than it is worth.
This isn't going to work for everyone. But if we want to address congestion on the highways, the first priority should be to get as many people off the highways to begin with. NOT more traffic lanes and commuterization of what used to be attractive, liveable neighborhood streets. Again: DO NO HARM.