Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Driving Metering is the Solution to Congestion

I was watching the news last night and heard a story about a person in Calgary who was proposing a system of ramp metering to help keep the traffic flowing on the major freeways in that city. One example of a ramp meter is on the Mary Hill Bypass at Highway 1. While ramp metering might help with traffic flow on the freeway, it also creates longer queues on the local roads that connect to the freeway. For example if a ramp meter was installed at the 152nd Street on-ramp, you would have 152nd Street backed-up to Fleetwood! 108th Avenue and 104th Avenue would have issues as well. Likely many "solutions" that look at reducing congestion, the whole system in not evaluated. The Highway 1/Port Mann Gateway expansion program will shrink queuing at on-ramps and provide smooth sailing on the highway for at least the first few years of service. We all know that the highway will fill up again, but one thing that isn’t being changed in the local roads that connect to the highway. 1st Avenue is already congested with a 4 lane Highway 1, imagine what it will be like with a 8 lane Highway 1; I predict off-ramp queuing onto the Highway. Another example is the new Pitt River Bridge. In the afternoon instead of queuing at the bridge, you now queue just past the bridge. It’s all about moving the bottleneck.

Of course if you really want to solve congestion, the government should install driveway metering. You punch you travel itinerary into your auto and the system tell you when you can leave your driveway to ensure all roads are at optimal efficiency. Now that’s a solution!

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