Transportation planners in Atlanta, ranked 11th in North America for worst city traffic, are reaching into their bag of tricks for a way to control driving speeds based on real-time conditions.
TheÂ Georgia Department of Transportation will be installing new electronic variable speed limit signs along the northern half of Interstate 285. The speed limits will range between 45 mph and 65 mph, and they will fluctuate depending on traffic volume and weather conditions.
"We have been considering this legislation for about three years," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden. "We want to give drivers a speed limit that they'll be more compliant to."
According The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the idea is to reduce stop-and-go driving and discourage frequent lane changes.
The whole system will be a relative easy project to set up, according to Golden. Work on the installation of the electronic signs is set to begin next month, and the system should be up and running by next summer.
â€œYouâ€™re able to move more traffic through with the variable sign system," Golden said.
Atlanta ranked as 11th worst traffic city (PDF)
Georgia isn't alone in this way of thinking. Washington, Virginia, Wyoming and other states have implemented a variable speed limit system along their highways.
According to a study by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, DOT officials from those states contend the system is working. Pat Persson, a district engineer in Wyoming, said the public reaction in general has been "very positive about these variable speed limits."
Traffic seems to be a concern for a lot of states. This month, the Texas Department of Transportation approved an increase in the speed limit on Texas State Highway 130 to a record 85 mph. The reasoning is the same as for Georgia - to help move traffic more efficiently.
According to Golden, there isn't necessarily a time frame for success for the Georgia project; however, if it manages to help congestion, then expect other highways in the Atlanta area, such as I-85, to receive the system as well.
The Autobahns in Germany employ variable speed limits, depending on conditions. They also have some sections with unlimited speed. But the Germans are very disciplined drivers, and the police are very strict.
So, let's say you are driving along in the 65mph speed limit. After you pass the sign, it changes to 45 (but you don't know about that). Of course, the police could use a moving zone of cars still allowed to go 65.
But let's say you had some problems and pulled over for several minutes. How would you know the new speed limit?
My bad. I meant that to be top level post.
You have a buffer zone between the 2 speed limits.
They've had this for many years on the Autobahns. Its nice that slow drivers actually get out of the fast lane there compared to the U.S. where there's always somebody driving way below the speed limit in the fast lane.
Ibrahim, I got that. The problem is what happens to the driver who stops long enough to let his "buffer" pass by. Say he had to fix a flat tire.
When he starts again, the new speed limit might have been in place for 60 minutes but how would he know?
We have this on part of I5 in Seattle. It makes traffic much worse and increases the number of tickets given out. Those are the two primary goals of the system, so it muct be considered a success.
Most of you guys are wrong with your comments, take Germany for example. There is a lot of freeway miles on german autobahn with NO speed limit or a SUGGESTED speed limit of 130Km per hour. The ONLY and MOST effective solution to traffic jams in America is to make the same system as in germany. Allow people to get fast from point a to point B and you will see how easy it is to resolve traffic jams on our freeways. The only jam on a freeway should be caused by a traffic accident NOT by idiots trying to merge in to a freeway. Allow higher speeds and you will see how quick this problem will go away! Germans know how to solve this, they don't allow NO LIMITS on the freeway for the drivers to let go of their Adrenaline, they do it to have no traffic jams. Only traffic jams in germany (stau) are caused by a crash.
speed limit in Portland is just a joke, all over oregon 60 or 65? Give me a break this is calling for traffic jams.
I so agree. However, we also need better driver training. Here in california drivers don't even know how to operate their blinkers. This matters as speeds increase.
Yes but in Germany, people are not eating cheeseburgers, sipping on lattes and putting on makeup all at the same time, like American drivers. Plus how would the youth and elderly handle the faster speeds?
We can have variable speeds, but you'd have to limit personal freedoms (like removing cell phone towers so they can't be used while driving) but then you'd get the groups complaining about a 'lack of freedom'. *shrug*
German cars are designed to operate on them. And they have a much different culture than we do.
I dont pay attention to their speed limit signs anyway. So who cares what they do.
This is a waste of time and money. Most people don't pay attention to speed limit signs anyway! They just go with the flow of traffic, which is usually 10 or 15 mph above the posted speed limit. If there is more traffic, they slow down.
The real problems with traffic in america are accidents and chokepoints (bridges, tunnels, toll boths, busy intersections).
Atlanta, known for good fiscal judgement!
How in the world will this help? If there is a little traffic or a lot of traffic who looks at speed limit signs? I just go with traffic speed, doesn't seem logical this would have any positive influence on traffic congestion.
I lived there for a while I can tell you that wont do anything. Its 85 or get ran over.
We need higher speed limits in the south in case MITT DONT WIN SO WE CAN LEAVE THE SOUTH FAST TO GET TO OUR CHECK POINTS, HAHAHA JUST JOKING, FREEDOM FIGHTERS UNITE, JUST JOKING, HAHA LOL, I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY
Seriously anybody who reads conservative blogs knows what whites are planning if Mitt doesnt win, they are planning a revolution, but they wont say it outright, they are afraid of the government, I THINK WE SHOULD DECIDE THE FUTURE OF AMERICA AT THE BALLOT BOX LIKE WE ALWAYS HAVE, THE REVOLUTION TALK OR LACK OF IT BUT HIGHLY IMPLIED WILL DESTROY AMERICA WHITE PEOPLE, JUST VOTE AND PRAY, WE ARE ALL AMERICANS AND WE CAN SETTLE OUR PROBLEMS THROUGH TALKING AND LOVING,
Well ill find another place on cnn tomorrow to dicuss the revolution whites are planning if Mitt doesnt win, THIS NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED, BECAUSE REVOLUTION WILL DESTROY AMERICA FAR WORST THAN ANYTHING OUR NATION HAS EVER SEEN, AND WE LOVE AMERICA AND REVOLUTION IS NOT THE ANSWER MY FELLOW WHITE REPUBLICANS, GOD BLESS U ALL, AND IF OBAMA GETS REELECTED BIG DEAL, HES NOT THAT BAD
Vary the speed of the lanes, so people know which lanes to be in. A 3 lane could go 80/70/60 or something to that extent.
Interesting experiment in 2006 by Georgia State University students in Atlanta I285. Search for "A Meditation on the Speed Limit". Students drove at 55 (the speed-limit) on I-285, causing a mile long traffic jam. Should Speed Limits really matter ?
No power, no speed limit. Woo hoo!
Saint Louis, MO tried this on their busiest Interstate (I-270) and it was a miserable failure. Within a year they changed all the variable speed limit signs from "Speed Limit" to "Suggested Speed." The number of people contesting speeding tickets rose exponentially, to the point where court cases were eating more funds than the tickets were bringing in.
A variable speed limit is only effective if the speed difference is permanent, as opposed to change at the whim of a DOT operator.
One good thing did come from this though. All the speed limit signs are now lit up so a person cannot say they couldn't see them at night. And they are now posted every mile. No "I didn't know the speed limit officer" excuses anymore.
Parts of the Autobon have the speed limit controlled according to traffic volumne. If you've driven in accordion traffic, you might agree that you would rather drive a constant 40 mph instead of getting up to 65 only to slow to a crawl or stop and then get going again. It gets old fast. In heavy traffic, If people would drive a reasonable constant speed, keep a few car lengths in front of them and don't change lanes then ALL of the traffic would move. Lane changers cause people to tap their brakes sometimes, which can cause a chain reaction of people behind them tapping their brakes and If traffic is heavy enough, that can cause a stoppage farther back.
I live in Minnesota, home of the worst drivers in the known universe. Can't merge, won't use turn signals, swing wide on turns, tailgate, forget what snow is if there is none for a week, yackity-yack on cellphone, text on smart phone, ignore speed limits entirely and lane jump like a bunch of gazelles running from a lion. This bunch of m o r o n s couldn't handle variable speed limits on a bet.
Well lets hope they all calm down ( WHITE AMERICANS ) and go to the ballot box and vote AND MAY THE BEST MAN WIN, JUST SAY NO TO REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!! IF AMERICA BREAKS OUT IN CHAOS IT WILL OPEN UP OUR NATION TO ATTACK FROM COMMUNIST CHINA, AND STILL COMMUNIST RUSSIA AND OTHER ENEMIES, THAT COULD DESTROY AMERICA, SOOOO JUST SAY NO TO REVOLUTION, CIVIL WAR, ECT. CNN U NEED TO REPORT WHAT AVERAGE WHITE AMERICANS ARE UP TOO IF MITT DONT WIN. READ THEIR CONSERVATIVE BLOGS, THEY ARE WANTING WAR, HELL NO, THAT WILL HURT AMERICA BEYOND REPAIR, SAVE AMERICA JUST SAY NO TO CHAOS AND CIVIL WAR, SAY NO TO REVOLUTION, AND WHOEVER WINS TAKE IT LIKE A MAN AND LET AMERICA GO TO HER FUTURE IN PEACE, PLEASE AMERICANS