Monday, December 17, 2012

Continuous flow intersections : Mental.

Let me introduce you to Continuous Flow Intersections. Watch this, then read on: Does that seem in any way simple or clean to you? The fact that UDOT needed to make a video to try to teach drivers what the this abomination is should tell you that this is not a simple intersection. They started putting them in around here about 2 years ago and since then, the number of people driving on the wrong side of the road because of these things has skyrocketed. Accident rates have soared, congestion has reached record levels at these intersections and confusion reigns supreme. They spent millions introducing them, and shut down the roads for close to a year to get them built. And why? There's a much simpler intersection that solves their "conflict points" problem. Ladies and gentlemen: the roundabout. I guess the problem is that roundabouts are simply too logical, too simple, too efficient. Better to waste millions and create an accident nightmare eh? Plus, watching Americans trying to negotiate a roundabout is an entertaining and embarrassing representation of the human ignorance about an intersection that does not require you to stop but does require you to yield. It seems to cause some sort of severe psychological disorder since it is neither green nor red, but requires them to steer and calculate approaching distances of their own vehicles and the others on the road at the same time.
Anyway, I won't go near these continuous flow things any more - they're too dangerous. I've seen trucks end up on the wrong side of the road, I've seen people shooting red lights and causing huge accidents (because the location of the lights means the relative speeds involved in head-on collisions is much greater than it is at a normal intersection). There have been numerous reports of pedestrians struck by cars because they forget they have to look the wrong way to cross the first lane of the intersection.
Continuous flow intersections are a nightmare clearly designed by a committee of non-road-users.