David Bailey

Over-metering Congested Freeways Will Increase Capacity


Every day at 5:00 PM everyone in LA knows what traffic on the 10 is going to be like. Awful. Every city has these freeways. They're the roads everyone takes to get home from work. As a side note, traffic at 5 is worse than traffic in the morning because people arrive at work at different times, but most leave around 5. Also, many more people do things after work (get dinner, shop, meet friends) than before work. With everyone leaving Santa Monica at 5, how can we improve things? Over-metered freeways.

Most freeways in LA have meters (those stop lights that control cars entering the freeway). Traffic is caused by freeways being over capacity. Reduce the number of cars on the road (over-meter) and traffic should improve.

Think of a lane. If traffic is crawling, only a few cars can pass a given point in a minute. If cars are going 30 MPH then a couple cars can pass that same point in say 10 seconds. If traffic is moving at 60 MPH, the same number of cars passes through that same point in an even shorter time. This means that with faster traffic, the capacity of the lane (and consequently the freeway) is increased. By reducing the number of vehicles on the road, the speed of cars increases and capacity increases. This means everyone gets home quicker. Everyone wins.

The only problem is people who run the lights. However, these people are few. Maybe if wait times get longer, more people will run the lights. However, if people understand the big picture, hopefully they'll get it and chill out.


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