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Researchers Apply P2P Principles To Car Traffic

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the traffic-eagle-eye dept.

Networking 111

alphadogg writes to tell us that lessons learned from peer-to-peer networks are being applied to traffic systems in order to prevent jams. "Their Autonet plan would center around ad hoc networks of vehicles and roadside monitoring posts supported by 802.11 technology (the prototype uses 11b). The vehicles would essentially be the 'clients' in such a system and feature graphical user interfaces to pass along information to drivers. They're building the system to be able to handle data on thousands of traffic incidents and road conditions."

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Affects highways, but that's it (5, Insightful)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393511)

Most of the trouble I've seen, and most of the frustration I encounter, is from badly-timed traffic lights. And many delays are the result of civil service rather than accidents. For example, intersections that have very long red-lights lead to more people trying to speed through the light, causing accidents in the first place.

This technology may help people avoid problems once they occur, but it won't do squat to affect the root of many problems -- bad traffic planning. Without a good traffic plan, everything made to "fix" it is just a patch on top of a bad base.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393589)

And what happens when everybody is using the same algorithm and it tells them "go left to avoid jam" and everybody flocks in the same way? it seems a centralized monitoring would be more useful in this sense. But a lot of people don't like to be centrally monitored...

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (2, Insightful)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394147)

If everyone were using the same algorithm, it would likely compensate by sending you left with e.g. 70% chance and right with 30% chance, depending on the relative capacities of those routes. Of course there wouldn't be any guarantee that the drivers would listen to the recommendation but if too many people clogged up one route that information would soon filter back into the system.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394159)

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=4212445

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (4, Informative)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393673)

Most of the trouble I've seen, and most of the frustration I encounter, is from badly-timed traffic lights.

The most I've seen is from the overwhelming number of dumbasses on the road. A traffic light engineer is totally limited by the absolute inability of the moron up front to step on the pedal on the right when the light turns green, then the guy after him, then the guy after him. Get off your damned phone and GO already.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (3, Interesting)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393845)

Morons are a problem, of course, but even they can be alleviated with better light planning. If the lights are short, people aren't going to figure "well, I've got 2 minutes to kill, might as well pull out the phone." They know the lights going to change and they won't be able to pull it out of their pocket in time.

In my city, we've got a couple streets where you can hit all greens, saving yourself about 5 minutes for the entire stretch, if you speed about 7-9 mph. You get half yellows and the rest are green. So anyone who tries it thinks "shit, this really is the best way to drive down this stretch," which just leads to a different kind of moron. Yet, if the lights were set up the *other* direction, traffic could be regulated so that there was no advantage to going over the speed limit -- you'd simply be approaching a red light anyway, and someone going exactly 25 or 35 would hit the light right after it changes. The only people slowed would be speeders.

There's a lot that cities can do to alleviate traffic problems, but it's not "popular" or particularly showy, so almost none of them do. Fiddling with traffic lights doesn't win elections.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

Darkk (1296127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395683)

Alot of this will be moot point when majority of the cars can drive themselves according to best possible route.

The technology is getting there so maybe we'll see this happen in 10 years from now.

Meanwhile, we just have to put up with the morons on the road.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

solaraddict (846558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397525)

Alot of this will be moot point when majority of the cars can drive themselves according to best possible route.

The technology is getting there so maybe we'll see this happen in 10 years from now.

Meanwhile, we just have to put up with the morons on the road.

The 1980s called. They want their comment back.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395757)

That works for one-way traffic. But when you time the lights so that one side can't speed, what happens to the other side?

In short, it's really a messy optimization problem. Good luck.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

warsql (878659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395981)

I know a stretch like that, only it is setup for going the 35 mph speed limit. Problem is, as I drive along at 35, the morons around me get impatient and pull in front, racing to the red light. Now when the light turns green, all these morons need to get going again, and I have to slow down. Rinse and repeat, its not long before I miss the light.

Having it setup for 7-9 mph over the limit (or perhaps only 5) would likely work out better.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395073)

A traffic light engineer is totally limited by the absolute inability of the moron up front to step on the pedal on the right when the light turns green,

And people have learned to not go immediately when the light turns green, because some asshat is still running the red light on the cross street.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395211)

In 99.9% of the cases people have learned to not go because they can't find the "S" key on their texting device. Besides, in Europe, their Red lights flash yellow before turning green to let you know you are about to go, and people still manage to go when it turns green without getting killed by people running red lights, so your argument doesn't make any sense.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396291)

Actually , i see just the opposite : people go when the light is still red , but is already red for the cars.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

thesolo (131008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395415)

If I had mod points right now, I'd mod you up immediately for this.

Nothing pisses me off more than sitting in a turn lane behind some jackass on their phone. The light goes green, they don't move, everyone starts honking, and by the time the aforementioned jackass realizes what's going on, half of the light time has expired and only 3 vehicles make it through the intersection before the light changes.

There also seems to be a direct correlation between the shortness of the turn light/the length of time until that light goes green again & the amount of time the driver wastes going through the intersection. The shorter a light is, the more time people seem to waste not driving through it.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393689)

As a civil engineering student, I took a course that (among other things) taught me how to design traffic signal timing. I learned two surprising things:

  1. how hard it is to time the lights to give all traffic movements an acceptable level of service (especially if you can't add new lanes), and
  2. how poorly designed some of the intersections around here are.

I think the root problem is that good transportation engineers are few and far in between (probably because a lot of people who went into transportation did so because structural engineering was too hard).

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (2, Interesting)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393791)

Agreed. I was in San Francisco over the summer, and noticed that the majority of the lights were very short. I was there as a pedestrian, not a driver, but it seemed that all of the drivers were cool with the short lights. After being there a few days, it made sense -- if you miss a light, it's not a big deal because it'll be green again in about 15 seconds.

As a side effect, all of the pedestrians went to the corners to cross, because it was easier to wait a short time to get a light compared to waiting to jaywalk (since jaywalking only works if there's a gap in traffic).

Then, when I came home, the fact that we have many, many traffic lights that last well over a minute just irritated me to no end. Now I see tons of intersections where traffic is waiting for a green, yet there's no cross traffic because the lights are too long and the entire system cascades.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

virtue3 (888450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394405)

Actually the best part is they usually give you a few "waves" down the major cross town streets, like fulton + geary. Just floor it a lil bit over the speed limit and you can ride the lights for a while... provided there's no traffic!

SF is definitely a pedestrian city however. And they tend to want to slow down the motorists more than anything else.

And competing with bicycle space has become some what of an issue.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (3, Interesting)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394607)

Just floor it a lil bit

Funny you say that. There was an earlier comment earlier that also said a similar thing. I live in Calgary, AB, and downtown along 4th ave the lights are all synched for about 10 blocks or so, but only if you speed. The limit is 50, but you have to go about 60 or you start hitting yellows.

Why is this? Can there really be that many Traffic Controllers that screwed up on the calculation? Is it so that police can sit on a corner at night and catch speeders? I don't get it...

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

j-cloth (862412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395227)

Toronto: if you start at the bottom of Bayview Ave and maintain exactly 79kph, you can make it to the 401 without stopping (unless you get caught in the speed trap at Lawrence)

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398737)

When the speed limit is 50, they do indeed design the road for 60. However, I would think that 60 would be the speed you'd go to just barely not hit the preceding red light, not to avoid the following yellow.

Perhaps the lights are actually timed for the opposite direction, and it's just a coincidence that the frequency sort-of works out for your direction?

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26401825)

Rockhampton, Australia: The engineers have deliberately set up the lights so you stop at least at every other light. You have to do 30+ kph to get greens and you will still hit the fourth or fifth light --- all the way across town (population 80k so around 15- 25 minutes driving). In the end you don't get anywhere any faster.

I'm a taxi driver, so I've tried everything. The only solution is to wait. Yes, I realise that you are talking about populations of around the millions, but we just don't have

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

Pellanor (1014383) | more than 5 years ago | (#26404265)

Naw, it's just that they know everybody in Calgary does 10 over anyway, and plan their speed limits / light timing accordingly.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

Darkk (1296127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395751)

I do live near SF and ever so often I would take the BART there so wouldn't have to deal with the parking issues.

The previous poster is correct about the short light timing and I hadn't thought of it until now. The traffic flow in the city is actually pretty smooth with little traffic jams. Kinda like a short stop and go but it's continuous and people are actually very courteous and I do respect the pedestrians's right of way (despite the fact it is California law).

Pretty cool to actually start walking crossing a busy street and the cars actually stop for me to walk across. That is, of course, on a designated pedestrian crosswalk.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393995)

If you want to see a horrible intersection/interchange, and you're ever in L.A., check out the Mulholland/Valley Circle on/off ramps to the 101 in Woodland Hills.

Granted, they had almost no real estate to work with, since of the four "corners", one was the Motion Picture Hospital (in LA, you don't mess with Spielberg), one was Hidden Hills (*cough* rich people *cough*), and one was a shopping center. So they had to improvise.... badly

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398753)

Hey, I'm in Atlanta. I guarantee we have plenty of horrible intersections to look at locally!

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395533)

Timing traffic lights is indeed difficult. Often attempts to fix problems just end up causing an even worse problem elsewhere. When the Chiswick roundabout in West London had its lights changed from carefully designed fixed cycle lights to "intelligent" lights that adapted to traffic flows, they ended up causing tailbacks on both the A4 Eastbound and North Circular Southbound, because when traffic got heavy, the sensors detected no flow and gave both major roads short green cycles. There were also situations where both the A4 Eastbound and North Circular southbound were given green to go onto the roundabout at the same time, causing the A4 traffic to move forward 5 car lengths until they hit the red on the roundabout, quickly entering the no traffic flow situation described above. Eventually it got sorted out, whether by reverting to fixed cycles when traffic got heavy, or tweaking the algorithms.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395859)

None of this will happen because large cities now live off of red light camera ticket revenues. No one is interested in safety, or else they wouldn't purposely make yellow lights so short.

Re:Affects highways, but that's it (1)

joelpt (21056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398455)

I have wondered for some time why nobody is implementing an "intelligent" traffic-light-timing system. Think Google for traffic light timing.

Where I live, all of the major traffic lights have cameras attached (to automate sending of traffic tickets to red-light runners). It seems to me that these cameras could be used to analyze the routes that are being taken by vehicles and intelligently optimize the light timing based on this.

For example, let's assume that tracking vehicles by license plate number in this manner is too much an invasion of privacy, but we will allow the system to track a vehicle's route by color and size. Let's also assume that it's 3am and there are very few cars on the road.

Say a given small red vehicle leaves a given intersection at 3:05am. This system would be able to estimate how soon that vehicle should arrive at the next adjoining intersection, and adjust the timing of that light so that it's green when the vehicle arrives (other traffic notwithstanding).

Of course there's some chance that the vehicle will not actually reach that second light (e.g. it pulls into a driveway). So for each intersection, the system would actually calculate the probability of a vehicle arriving from each direction in real time.

Now let's say this vehicle's driver gets off work every weekday at 3:00-3:10am and almost always takes the same route home. Over several days, the system should be able to recognize this trend and optimize the lights such that, as soon as the vehicle is recognized on the road, this driver gets all green lights all the way home, most of the time. Thus the system could recognize not only the likelihood of a vehicle arriving at a given intersection at a specific moment, but also the likelihood of a "small red vehicle" taking a left at a given intersection, both in realtime and historically.

So that's the "one vehicle, no congestion" conceptualization. Now just extend this to include all vehicles on the road. Such a system should then be able to optimize 'global' traffic flows, based on this simple underlying probability model.

Of course, special optimizations for heavy congestion, accidents, weather, etc. could be layered on top.

I think the fundamental question, "why can't all the lights change to green for me, as I arrive at them, when there is no other traffic to consider?" is adequately answered by this proposed system. It should also be able to optimize traffic flows better than any human traffic engineer during the most congested times of day, relying especially on historical trends of all the vehicle routes it has recognized.

Since such a system could utilize existing traffic cams and pressure plates, I think it would also be (relatively) inexpensive to implement such a system.

p2p = phenylpropanolamine (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26393535)

Although this is the iodine method. P2P is hard to come by these days......

* 1 Case Regular Pint size Mason Jars ( Used for canning)
* 2 Boxes Contact 12 hour time released tablets.
* 3 Bottles of Heet.
* 4 feet of surgical tubing.
* 1 Bottle of Rubbing Alchohol.
* 1 Gallon Muriatic Acid ( Used for cleaning concrete)
* 1 Gallon of Coleman's Fuel
* 1 Gallon of Aceton
* 1 Pack of Coffee Filters
* 1 Electric Skillet ( If you don't know what iam talking about i will have pics later)
* 4 Bottles Iodine Tincture 2% (don't get the declorized it won't work)
* 2 Bottles of Hydrogen peroxide
* 3 20 0z Coke Bottles (Plastic type)(with Lids/caps)
* 1 Can Red Devils Lye
* 1 Pair of sharp scissors
* 4 Boxes Book Matches (try to get the ones with brown/red striker pads)
* 1 pyrodex baking dish
* 1 Box execto razor blades single sided
* 1 digital scale that reads grams
* 2 gallons distilled water \
* 1 Roll Aluminum foil tape

That's what you would have to go buy if you wanted to make meth.

First things first -- the Iodine Crystals. Take one 20 oz, plastic Coke Bottle and pour 4 Bottles 2% tincture into it.

Add Hydrogen Peroxide to this. Use only 1/2 a bottle of Hydrogen peroxide. After this you know, the gallon jug that the Muriatic acid comes in take the cap off and fill this cap level with the acid. Add the acid to the coke bottle (Place in a freezer for at least 30 mins).

While the Iodine crystals are being made we are going to extract the Phsuedo from the Contacts. You are going to need a towel for this so go get one. Take the pills out of one box, add it to one of the mason jars fill with rubbing alchohol just enough to cover the pills let set for 3 minutes. Remove pills and take the towel and wipe the top coating off the pills this will remove the wax. Do the same with the other box of Contacts as well, after this add those wiped off pills only 10 to a clean mason jar. On top of this add 1 bottle of Heat do the same for the other box of Contact. Let theese two mason jars with pills, heat stand for 30 minutes. Then shake the jars till pills are completly broke down then let the jars sit again for 4 hours or until the Heats is completly clear . Once clear cyphon the heat off (Not the powder stuff at the Bottom you don't want this it will fuck your dope up).

Well anyway syphon the heat off with a piece of the sergical tubing syphon this into a pyrodex baking dish place in microwave on high till the heat is almost evaporated. Take out of microwave. Now plug up your electric plate set the pyrodex dish on this on about 180 deg continue evaporating till you get a white powder on the pyrodex (Carefull not the burn the phsudo if it turns yellow it's burned) after you get it dried take a razor blade and scrape this powder up. (put this asside for later use)

Now we are going to get the red phosphorus from the book matches take a pair of scissors and cut along the edge of the phosphorus do the whole four boxes of match book matches then take 1 small coffee cup will work to this coffee cup add about 1/4 the way with Acetone dip the match book strike pads into the acetone for 10 seconds this will loosen the phosphorus so it will be easier to scrape with the razor blades. ( put the phosphorus in an empty match book box to let dry. Now it's time to get the iodine crystals get a clean mason jar on top of this place 1 coffee filter and pour the contents of the iodine +muriatic+Hydrogen Peroxide into the filter ( do it slowly don't over pour) well once you get though with the filtering on top of the coffee filter will be a black substance ( This is iodine crystals) dry them by wraping in more coffee filters till you get a pretty good thick pile around the original filter place on ground and step on it to get the rest of the liquids off save this for the cook.

next take your digital scales wiegh your pills first say you had 2 grams of pill powder then weigh out an equal amount of iodine crystals then for the phosphorus devide the total weight of pills by 3 3 will go into 2 1 time so if you had 2 grams pill powder you should have 2 grams iodine crystal 1 gram phosphorus Now its time to make the cook jars you will need 2 clean mason jars with lids 1 foot surgical tubing poke a hole in both jar lids place one end of the tubing into each jar lid and seal with foil tape (buy this at walmart for about $ 1.60 well anyway seal off the tubes as well as you can so you should have 2 mason jars with lids that have surgical tubing foiled taped and sealed. ok this is the cook in one mason jar add distilled water in it fill it half way close the lid on it. now get you hotplate hot first at 180 degreese F when the plate get hot then its time to add the Iodine+pill powder to the other mason jar not the one with water in it once you get both Iodine and pill powder to the jar add 6-10 drops of distilled water to this place it on the hotplate now add the phosphorus once you put this in the jar there is going to be a imediatereaction place the other lid with hose onto the jar screw on tightly then turn your hotplate up to 400 degrees f let this cook for 1 hour to an hour and a half the best way to tell when it is done is when the contents of the cook jar doesn't boil anymore once this has happened turn the hotplate off and let the jar cool so you can touch it now its time to see if we have dope once it has cooled open the lid and you should smell rotten egg like smell if it has this smell congrads you have dope now we have to remove the dope from the black goey substance to this jar add about 1/4 cup of distilled water and seal the jar with a lid that has no holes in it and shake the jar till all the substance on the botom of the jar has come off into the water

next take another clean mason jar and place a coffee filter and filter the cook jars contents though the filter now on the filter is your phosphorus save this for another cook later on just putt it in a dry coffee filter and put it somewhere dry and safe now you have a jar filled with a yellow honey looking substance if its this color you have done good at cooking the dope now to this add colemans fuel fill the jar about full just leave anough room for shaking now add 1-2 table spoons red devil lye let the jar sit for about 5 mins then place lid on the jar and shake the hell out of it then sit the jar somewhere to rest for about 30 mins Now we are going to pull the dope out of the coleman fuel and the product is going to be 90% methamphetamine to do this fallow what i say exactly syphon the coleman fuel into an empty 20 oz coke bottle syphon off much as you can trying not to get the substance off the bottom of the jar once you have the coleman fuel in the coke bottle add about 4-6 coke bottle caps of water to this now add one drop of muriatic acid to the coke bottle place lid on bottle and shake the hell out of it place upside down so it want fall and get your hotplate hot 400 degrees f on top of the hotplate place a clean pyrodex bowl on it now take the coke bottle still upside down and loosen up on the cap let the water drain into the pan don't get any coleman fuel into the pyrodex bowl now the water will evaporate while it is doing this take a coffee cup add acetone to it fill it 1/4 the way up now once the water has dried on the plate take plate off with gloves and add a small amount of acetone to the pyrodex bowl it will sizzle swirl it arouund and if all works out good ther will be cirle crystals all over the pyrodex bowl scrape up with a razor and enjoy Methamphetamine :-) This with 2 boxes of Contacts will make anywhere from 2-3 grams meth....

Re:p2p = phenylpropanolamine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26393555)

cool.

Re:p2p = phenylpropanolamine (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393741)

Maybe it's just me, but my trust in meth instructions is inversely related to the number of spelling errors.

Re:p2p = phenylpropanolamine (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393949)

Maybe it's just me, but my trust in meth instructions is inversely related to the number of spelling errors.

So I take it that trust doesn't extend to tech news stories? Remember what site you're on, man.

Re:p2p = phenylpropanolamine (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394015)

I'm the opposite when it comes to trusting authenticity. Remember how often meth labs blow up...

Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (3, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393539)

Words "network collision" are going to take a whole new meaning :)

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26393703)

Many problems could be avoided with a simple driver upgrade.

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (1)

hggs (904576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393947)

In Soviet Russia ...
... network collisions you!
... upgrade drivers you!
... traffic cars you!

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (2, Funny)

ZygnuX (1365897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395803)

That's one of the worst karma whoring i've ever seen! xD

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394149)

or use a linux car, your driver comes with the car.

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26395105)

It came with a black dude, but it kept being pulled over.

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394737)

...unless there's a race condition.

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (1)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396065)

I think it would be easier to explain this concept with a car analogy.

Re:Network collision - a whole new meaning :) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394099)

Think how nervous drivers will get when their "Time To Live" counter keeps dropping with each exit they pass.

How many times does this need to be said??!! (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393557)

Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!!

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26393621)

As many times as it takes to figure out slashdot is the wrong place to say it. You need to bug the people in charge of the money.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (2, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397147)

As many times as it takes to figure out slashdot is the wrong place to say it. You need to bug the people in charge of the money.

The people in charge of the money are elected officials, who are elected by (among others) the people on Slashdot. One person bugging the people in charge of the money won't do much good, you need lots of people to do the bugging for anything to happen. The way you get lots of people is by raising awareness of the issue with the public by doing things like posting on Slashdot and talking to your friends (who talk to their friends...). Discussing issues is public is how you get public support, which is how you get the people in charge of the money to do what you want.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393779)

Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!!

But the auto companies -- you know, the ones who just asked for a big bailout and got some of it -- spent millions and millions of dollars convincing you, the unwitting public, that public transportation is a bad -- a waste of government resources!

And now you know why there's no good public transportation in most big U.S. cities, save a few.

Full disclosure: I have -- in the past -- worked for two of the Detroit Three automakers.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394249)

spent millions and millions of dollars convincing you, the unwitting public, that public transportation is a bad -- a waste of government resources!

I spent years riding public transportation. And you know what?

GM didn't need to spend a dime to convince me that they suck.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394523)

They suck precisely because they spent money lobbying against public transportation.

But, try going to Toronto, which has a very good public transportation system. Or even Washington, D.C., which has an excellent subway system.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26395709)

I grew up outside the US, have travelled in Europe, and now live in the US. I have used public transport in all of the above.

Public transport sucks everywhere. It takes longer, is not reliably cheaper than cheap independent transport (subsidised buses and luxury sedans are a loaded comparison), and is full of people under conditions not inclined to foster good relations.

I still take it sometimes. A bus beats walking when it's near freezing and pelting with rain. But yes, it sucks.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397207)

Public transport sucks everywhere. It takes longer, is not reliably cheaper than cheap independent transport (subsidised buses and luxury sedans are a loaded comparison), and is full of people under conditions not inclined to foster good relations.

That's generally been my experience everywhere except London. In London everybody bitches about the public transport, but I thought it was fantastic when I lived there, mainly because there's just so damn much of it. Frequent buses, the comprehensive tube network and the world's best taxis for when the bus or tube just won't do. I never once felt the desire to own a car while living there.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398661)

I lived in Munich for a few years and bought a nice new Audi TT. It sat in the garage for nearly seven months (before I moved to Holland) 'cos the public transport system is so good.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396229)

Toronto? Good Transportation System? Sorry but I must disagree. I'll assume that you haven't sardined yourself onto a TTC rush hour bus lately. These days, I call it "The Bitter Way".
What good transportation system runs out of monthly passes in the first week of the month? [www.cbc.ca]

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

floorpirate (696768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397733)

At least you HAVE mass transit. Ottawa still doesn't after a month of striking, and since the union rejected the latest offer from the city, there's no end in sight. It's estimated that there are 30% more cars on the road in the city since the strike started. I had to buy a car just so I could keep getting to work, and I will NOT be going back to mass transit.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394553)

> GM didn't need to spend a dime to convince me that they suck.

GM spents tons of money a century ago, buying politicians and getting rid of public transportation so that they could sell buses...think about it.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394653)

They also spend it now. Yyou can honestly say there is no specific advert that "did it" for you - but that doesn't mean the Billions they have spent ("Cars" are the 2nd biggest advertising catagory after "Government") convincing you and your peers have had no effect. In fact if you had the cultural imagination to think objectively about transport you would notice that Cars Suck even more. (setting aside ecology, social malfeasance, and health issues: cars cost consumers an arm and a leg and are often slower and more fragile than public transport - always slower and more fragile than pedestrian cycling transport for the shortest most common trips that people take - ie going to the corner store)

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394849)

> cars ...[are] always slower and more fragile than pedestrian cycling transport for the shortest most common trips that people take

Your mileage may vary. Cycling to the corner store depends on you being able to ride a bike. And there are a lot of reasons you might not be able to ride a bike, but could drive a car. Physical fitness (including age) for one. Distance to the 'corner store' for another. Amount of groceries you pick up for a third.

I bike to work. The store is 'only' a mile away. But I could indeed get there faster in a car. ... Most times.

Cars suck. But they don't. (1)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395813)

I like to think that I am pretty objective, and you have presented one side of the argument. I agree with you and I'd like less noise, danger (when walking just around the block) and pollution, but cars are *extremely convenient.*

Anywhere outside of the dense city, it is the quickest, cheapest (on a marginal cost in most cases, anyway) way to get anyplace. All major cities that I've lived in have smelly, gross transportation systems (Boston, NYC) as opposed to a nice, comfortable, climate-controlled vehicle.

Americans love their cars because of the convenience -- it facilitates laziness and comfort. The only way to change this is to make it more un-economical to use, or improve the alternative (public transport.) In a way, I'd like to see both, but I do like having a car after taking the bus in all of my student years.

Re:Cars suck. But they don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26396137)

cars are *extremely convenient.*

Anywhere outside of the dense city, it is the quickest, cheapest (on a marginal cost in most cases, anyway) way to get anyplace. All major cities that I've lived in have smelly, gross transportation systems (Boston, NYC) as opposed to a nice, comfortable, climate-controlled vehicle.

Americans love their cars because of the convenience -- it facilitates laziness and comfort. The only way to change this is to make it more

I took the bus during my student years as well. The bus was the same speed, or slightly slower than, walking. If you were an hours' walk away from where you were going, it would take about an hour to get there by bus. The biggest problems were unreliable bus times and long service cycles. If you are at the bus stop 20 minutes early and the busses come every 30 minutes, it shouldn't turn into an hour wait for the next bus. That happened more often than I care to remember. I ended up bicycling when possible because it was faster.

If you can afford auto insurance, and if your time has any perceptible value, cars are still the best deal going. Even with gas at $4.50 a gallon, cars are by far the most efficient way to get around. It's not about laziness. It's about a reliable 20-minute drive to work instead of an unreliable 75-minute commute that includes waiting for 40 minutes in the cold/rain/heat.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395895)

always slower and more fragile than pedestrian cycling transport for the shortest most common trips that people take - ie going to the corner store)

Works great, as long as you are only going to the store for milk and a "squishy"-- because that's all that will fit in a bicycle basket.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396327)

Get a small cargo trailer.

Can't tow one? Get stronger. :D

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (2, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393783)

Uh, this will likely lead to as comprehensive public transportation as you can get. There have been a number of writeups about this, not the least of which was mentioned on /. in this article [slashdot.org] .

This routing information being handed to drivers who manually take action is the first step into complete and total automation. With automation, transportation costs will plummet and it's not entirely impossible to envision adequate transportation being listed as a "human right" along side adequate shelter and food (meaning not everyone will have it, but society will go to great lengths to provide it). This is a fantastic development, and I'm very hopeful about the future of automated driving - this takes us one step closer. And anyone who is skeptical should read the writeup Brad Templeton has done on his website, this is not just a sci-fi thing. This will bring real societal progress and is entirely obtainable.

Patience padawan.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394695)

Thanks for giving me a use for the LeetKey firefox plugin for the very first time on your signature! I've had this installed for about 3 months and I've finally now had a chance to use it!

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (0, Offtopic)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395271)

thank you for inspiring me to finally translate that sig. I've looked at it for years thinking I really should translate it, but haven't bothered.

Now that you've taken the cheap way out and used a damn plugin to do the grunt work, I've gone and done it the right way.

and 01111001 01100101 01110011 00101100 00100000 01111001 01100101 01110011 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00101110

(cross fingers it's right, 'cause I'll hear no end of crap if it's not...)

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393925)

+1. Public transport is orders of magnitude cleaner and less wasteful than cars.

But as for P2P applications, what we could use is a cool carpooling network. Switch on your nav system, tell it where you want to go and it will tell you to where and when someone else is going there - or vice versa.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (0, Troll)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394023)

[quote]Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!![/quote]

First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want. Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all? Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394735)

First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want.

Not entirely. It's a product of an economy that you've had a marginal affect on.

Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all?

Not profitable.

Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

Because your vehicle out on the roads is part of the reason people choose to take the bus.

transport individualism (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394753)

Cars give us a tremendous blindness to the necessity of collective action. We are all just atoms driving cars and the problem is the Others who are Traffic and get in My way.

You are correct in pointing out that the biggest subsidy from those who don't drive to those that do is the Grid - the road network (I always think it is funny how people move out to the Country to get Back to the Land and buy and SUV to do it) but manufacturing systems are heavily subsidised as well (ecologically)

But how could we get around if we didn't have public roads? We can't without some public access. Right now that public access is dominated by private cars and you can't even walk in front of your own house with out threat of getting killed and run over.

Hitler loved the idea of private cars that is why he funded the first comprehensive car network - the Autobahn. He imagined a race of Atomic Supermen! Super individuals. We have become that.

We can't even see how impossible it would be to drive without all this car subsidy/network and how that network excludes all others.

I agree with you on one individual right: We should all be able to walk around safely in public. That means we need to ban cars.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26395369)

[quote]Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!![/quote]

First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want. Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all? Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

Thats like saying, I don't go to school any more, so why should I pay for it?, just because you don't, doesn't mean that nobdy else does

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394269)

Well, it's more an urban planning issue really. Where I live we have a "suburban sprawl" problem. I live in an area that has lots of light industrial (read: farms), residential and then the commercial that supports it. For all intents and purposes our entire county is an extended suburban area of a large(ish) city (Portland, OR). We have some self-supporting industry but we still don't produce enough to cover ourselves.

Currently the Clark County (WA) public transit bus system loses a metric shit ton of money every year. Not only do they exceed their budget but roughly a third of their income comes from federal, state and county grants. In addition they receive another 55% of their income from state sales taxes and the rest from actual bus fare revenue. The main issue comes down the fact that no one rides the buses. Medium sized buses generally only have 2-7 people riding them.

I blame much of this on little or no urban planning, which lets residential developments go in willy-nilly. Cars are quicker and easier so most folks choose that, leaving the buses to ultra-low income families and individuals.

To make it worse making the connection between Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA on public transit can be difficult and/or time consuming.

Public transit is only one part of the solution.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394889)

I remember commuting from Battle Ground to Tigard. I know what you're talking about.

But that was 10+ years ago. C-tran offers even less routes out to Battle Ground, and the area has more population. On the plus side, the buses I took were most often full, being specifically commuter runs.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

HappyEngineer (888000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397167)

I don't understand why that has to result in a loss of money. Is it the cost of the bus driver or the cost of the gas and maintenance?

If it's the latter then buses should be replaced by electric vans during periods of time during which usage is low.

Actually, you could get rid of the driver too if you could automate the buses/vans. Surely the task of automating a vehicle is much easier when the route is fixed like it is with buses.

If someone does all this, please make sure to spend a little of the resulting money on a few good janitors who keep the buses really clean. And make sure to repair the interior often.

A sparkling well repaired interior should help keep fairs coming in.

Don't stop at bus stops if no one is there. Text people to wake them up when they reach their stops. Make sure to make wifi available on everything. Provide good web sites which allow the user to easily plan routes (just enter start and end and it'll give you an optimized trip plan). All these things will encourage people to ride more and they are mostly fixed costs which don't go up with the number of passengers (except the wifi).

I'm sure I could think of more. But there really isn't any point. Smart energized people who want to solve problems are highly unlikely to be the sort of people who work for government transportation organizations.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394563)

Public? /cower. Cleaner vehicles for all.

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394741)

No.

Public transportation will never be as fast as private. As it is now, public transportation is not even as clean (people tend not to take care of things that don't belong to them) or fuel-efficient (how much fuel does it take to run that huge bus carrying 0 to 5 people along its route?) as private. Sure, huge sums of money could fix these problems, but no amount of money will make it as fast as going directly from point A to point B.

(Posting anonymously to avoid karma death at the hands of the "green" crowd)

Re:How many times does this need to be said??!! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415359)

(Posting anonymously to avoid karma death at the hands of the "green" crowd)

Well, as recompense you'd be popular with the "everything is a car analogy" crowd.

This just might prove... (1)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393617)

... that senior citizens cause bottlenecks on the internet just like in cars! :-)

Lord knows my grandma on the internet is a disaster.

Re:This just might prove... (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394885)

... that senior citizens cause bottlenecks on the internet just like in cars! :-)

Lord knows my grandma on the internet is a disaster.

We know they do. Wheelchairs don't do well in tubes. There are always rescue crews trying to winch them out.

zero-infrastructure ftw (3, Insightful)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393629)

research on this sort of thing has been going on for almost two decades now. the increasing ubiquity of in-car nav systems, cellphones with gps, and other positioning and communications technologies helps to overcome the biggest hurdle: critical mass. this sort of system isn't useful if only a handful of cars have it.

the other, and more difficult, part of this work is using this data in a way that can provide predictive travel information to drivers before that data becomes outdated. it's one thing to know about congestion on a road 10 minutes from your current location. it's better to know whether it's still going to be congested when you get there. models to do this sort of thing exist, but aren't (yet) fast or reliable enough to be used in real time.

in urban areas, there's been an increasing push for taxis to be outfitted with gps transponders both as a political move, but also as a research tool and eventual mechanism for supporting real-time traffic data collection. taxis in major cities cover all the big and little streets, all over the place, all the time. they're perfect for fitting into a regional live traffic data collection system.

Yet another security risk (1)

genoese (415161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393745)

The increasing tendency to use this type of communication to support critical infrastructure is an open invitation to chaos and disaster induced by malicious hacking.

Consider for a moment all the past reports of external hacking on U.S. infrastructure and the chaos they created. Now imagine what would happen were this to be hacked after widespread adoption.

You all very well know that from the moment of its inception there will be concerted efforts to do just that.

No thanks.

Leave out the networking with private vehicles and it gets a bit better, but there's still a vulnerability.

Again, no thanks. It can't be made hacker-proof.

Re:Yet another security risk (1)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393981)

<sincerequestion>What critical infrastructure could you fashion from a few dozen/hundred moving wifi nodes?</sincerequestion>

It doesn't seem like this is something that would leave a lot of potential for abuse, save for tricking someone into being late for work by routing them into a heavily trafficked area.

Re:Yet another security risk (1)

genoese (415161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399379)

The scenario I saw play out is admittedly far-fetched but as a Slashdot reader, I've come upon shocking articles regarding our infrastructure here in the US being targeted by hackers from inside Russia and China. Here's one such example:

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article2409865.ece

Now let's do a bit of extrapolation:
1. widespread adoption by NYC & LA -c class municipalities
2. traffic signal control governed by this 'network'
3. Understanding of the architecture gets into the hands of even more virulent enemies.

These three steps are not unlikely should this technology prove to be effective and become popular.

Now consider this scenario.

It's a day with fairly good weather near the Holiday shopping season. Commercial activity is at it's peak, along with tourism. A physical attack is then initiated along the lines of a medium sized chemical or biological weapon, or perhaps bombing of a central municipal structure such as Grand Central Station in NYC. Coordinated with this attack is a simultaneous assault on the traffic control network. This attack makes it impossible to
a. escape the scene
b. get first-responders to the scene

Result: complete chaos and panic.

Re:Yet another security risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26402483)

What is it and people immediately going for Russia and China with these kinds of comments?? I mean, ffs, Communism is not the in thing anymore. The cool thing to blame these days is Terrorism, and by that indirectly blaming the muslim extremists.

Get with the times, buddy.

But on a more serious note. I suggest you get rid of these stereotypical ideas about other countries. Russia has more nukes. China has a shitload of more people than you. You feeling threatened? Inadequate?

Go back to driving your overgrown Ford. We all know why you drive it.

Re:Yet another security risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26407071)

I got a chuckle out of the first part, but i'm puzzled regarding the second. Are you asserting that it's not a fact that cyberattacks have been launched against us from inside both Russia and China? If you are, that's simply wrong.

And anyway, the whole point of my original post if that individuals who advocate use of such an inherently insecure protocol ought to 'get with the times' themselves!

And you yourself may want to change course on the manner in which you attempt to refute someone else's ideas. Sticking to debate about the matter at hand would be more helpful (although admittedly less funny).

Cheers.

Just what I want to risk... (4, Funny)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393781)

Getting sued by the Motor Vehicle Association of America for using P2P traffic control software and downloading copyrighted road blocks!

All I've got to say is... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393805)

...old people lag bad! Someone needs to upgrade them or scan them for spyware or something hehehe.

Re:All I've got to say is... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394655)

Old people are usually only a small problem - they're fairly easy to route around because they are generally following the rules and doing so slowly, without tailgating giving room for others to maneuver - i.e. they remain predictable. Young people who are ignoring rules such as pass-in-the-proper-lane-and-then-get-out-of-the-way, don't signal, race up behind others to squeeze into a lane, or like I saw tonight, signal to pas on the incorrect-side (50% good) and then yank it the other direction nearly causing a 5-car collision.

And this will deployed in what cities? (1)

Gnea (2566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26393851)

Automation is one thing, driver education is another.

Defensive driver courses are a much better target for the money, as they benefit the people driving directly. Even teenagers can take them. Plus, you get 10% off of your car insurance. AAA handles them all over the place.

Bring the roundabouts to the US (2, Interesting)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394051)

A lot of the unnecessary traffic delays at poorly regulated traffic lights could be completely circumvented by getting rid of lights and settings up roundabouts. Even through traffic slows down, it does not stop, and it automatically regulates itself.

Roundabout takes very little time to get used to, and it presents a consistent interface to drivers. First time I saw them in Italy many years ago during a business trip, I instantly fell in love with them. Since then I've seen them all over Europe. I think most drivers in my area (Silicon Valley) would love them, too, as everyone seems to be rather impatient (which is quite understandable with the unending traffic jams and poor timing of traffic lights contributing to the jams).

Re:Bring the roundabouts to the US (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394677)

Roundabouts would save lives, money, and my remaining hair.

Re:Bring the roundabouts to the US (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394843)

Some roundabouts take some time to become second nature.

Magic Roundabout [google.com]

Re:Bring the roundabouts to the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397827)

Unfortunately, local councils in the UK have been putting traffic lights on roundabouts for many years now.

This completely negates the purpose, as you then have an average of two sets of traffic lights within a few yards (one set to enter the roundabout, one to leave). It would of course be better to replace the roundabout with a box junction, which means one set of lights.

The dang drivers (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394065)

Not having RTFA, I think that the biggest problem is, unless all you're doing is adding entrance ramp traffic lights, is the drivers. If they have to obey some sort of changing speed limit sign or something just as "voluntary," they're going to ignore it. Where I commute, as soon as people get on the highway, they stomp on it even though they know that in a mile and a half they're going to be going 5 mph.

But at least they'll be ahead of that Prius back there. Dang liberals!

DT

Is this new? (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394253)

For several years now I've wondered if traffic planners ever talk to physicists, specifically with regard to fluid dynamics. As a non-physicist, natch -- though I did date a nice lady once who was a traffic planner in a large city -- it seems to me that this could produce some good ideas, perhaps a traffic version of PARC. Internet researchers are equally, if not more, qualified to pipe up here and I'm interested to see what they come up with.

Re:Is this new? (2, Interesting)

glueball (232492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394587)

They have spoken to physicists, but perhaps not listened. I can tell you car traffic, network traffic, and Nash equilibrium are all related here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braess_paradox [wikipedia.org]

We take you and your car apart (1)

ODiV (51631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394495)

and then transfer the pieces to your destination.

Kill your Car before it kills you. (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394595)

Cars cannot use P2P technology because the principle of driving a private automobile is exlusion and luxury. If you start sharing (P2P) then you get the bus or a train - you start getting intelligence - the economy would collapse if we started not requiring a 2 tonne cage to move a 150lb load.

Autonet? (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26394633)

Isn't that the communications network for the Autobots? This whole traffic management plan is a Decepticon plot I tell you! It must be destroyed!

Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26394839)

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this yet (and that this story isn't tagged 'privacy'):

Isn't anyone concerned with the fact that this kind of system would easily allow anyone to know where you are (assuming you are driving or have driven recently) at any time?

Talk about a social engineer's paradise.

and all the corresponding risks... (1)

mugurel (1424497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397163)

it will be only a matter of time before uncareful drivers will step into their cars and hear a message: "Driving is wrong!".
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