This image shows city traffic stuck together.
This costs you.

Traffic costs motorists billions of dollars per year in waste.  I hate waste.  Someone, somewhere, has to pay for it.  What if we eliminated traffic costs by being less wasteful?  The Trump Wall and PBS (will) cost the taxpayers a shade over $22 billion combined. If we can implement our plans, we will have money to spare. That is enough to even fund both projects, as well as another $54 billion and have tax breaks. That is if we choose it.

What are traffic costs?

Traffic costs motorists up to $300 billion per year.  As well as lost time in jams, motorists allow gas to go up in fumes by being stuck in stated gridlock.  It’s a shame those resources used couldn’t be more useful.  The entire logistics train was used for naught if you sit idly by on a clogged highway.

How can the average motorist help?

The image shows a biking light on a traffic control device.
You can also lose weight for that 2017 beach bod.

Well, check and see if the vehicle is even needed.  Using public transportation, or biking, and having a stellar network at the job site that enables carpools could allow for user-level savings.  This approach is lacking as it will not make a significant dent into the $300 billion.  Traffic alone isn’t the issue.  It is the bottleneck.  With the reach of the highway networks, people are able to live further from one another while still returning to a central work area.  The closer people get to said work area, the likelihood of traffic delays increase.  Exponentially compounded are urban areas, with suburban sprawl locations having their own traffic issues (see: real-time traffic synchronization across multiple DoT agencies).

So what can be done?

this image shows an RFID tag compared to a metric ruler. The tag appears to be under 40 millimeters wide.
We could see an industry boom, creating more US jobs.

With the free-market system enjoyed by so many Americans, an opportunity presents itself to a particular set of businesses.  Analytics companies and RFID manufacturers could benefit from the business of fixing our broken road systems.  So, too, could concrete manufacturers, steel manufacturers, glass makers, every link in the logistical chain to provide every material mentioned. Likewise, the entirety of the American infrastructure system.

A municipality could contract enough RFID tags to track local residents along major artery roads. These are the roads that lead into and out of inter/intrastate highways.  With RFID tracking, real-time results could be relayed to local or state DoT agents who would work in concert with the RFID information to give traffic from the highway as much green light time as needed.  This would allow the flow of the artery to not be blocked by the cholesterol of a light system that is inefficient.

Some cities have begun the march towards more efficient traffic.

This image shows the front facade and stairway for the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland.
The Baltimore Skywalk had potential and linked the Convention Center we key POI downtown.

Calgary, Chicago, Edmonton, Minneapolis, and other North American cities have skywalk systems longer than five miles.  I grew up on a small skywalk network in Baltimore.  Watching parts of it fall into neglect coupled with the whole system being underutilized is such a shame.  Some argue that bottom level (under the skywalk) businesses would suffer.  My solution is to put those businesses who deal in foot-traffic on the second floor.  Hotels, hospitals, and government buildings wouldn’t suffer and could retain their ground level entry points.  Consequently, service and retail businesses can create multiple town plazas within the newly covered intersection space on level two.

Inefficiency is something we all suffer from that we can correct.

The hypothetical need to be for traffic lights to be green for two minutes for 25 blocks exiting a major highway trumps cross-traffic needs.  Two minutes in cross-street traffic for a few is better than the collective time-suck of a four or more lane highway crawl or backup that lasts for hours.  Yes, this is utilitarian.

What an Idea!

This image shows Montreal, Canada under snow. People are paying on a cleared pond.
This is why they built underground walkways.

This idea came to me as I merged off of a highway and was immediately impeded from clearing the merge zone by a red light and the subsequent traffic behind it.  Why am I waiting right next to this major transportation system when there is no cross-traffic available to trigger the light change in the first place?  I should be a mile and a half closer to home by now.

Combine the two ideas

Couple the RFID tracking with skywalks or underground walkways and the entire traffic scene changes.  Skywalks and walkways allow people to circumnavigate traffic by going above or below it.  Pedestrians walking around the traffic alleviates much of the need for traffic lights. This would allow the traffic to remain in motion until arriving at its destination.  Additionally, the skywalks would also allow people to safely travel faster to their destination by not having to stop every block and having to wait for the stick figure to tell them to move.

In this image a woman is devouring an cake represented to look like Earth.
Tasty!

If we get our shit together we save an exorbitant amount of time and money.  We can all have our cake and eat it, too; if we get smarter on the efficiency of time and energy.

Watch this video, and keep in mind the figures are up to double what they were:

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Colin Sawyer

 

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