Innovative Intersection Solution

July 14, 2008 at 3:55 am 2 comments

Here is an idea that I wish would make its way to Myrtle Beach so that I wouldn’t have to get stuck in traffic until the end of time after leaving the mall heading south on highway 17. All those cars turning left toward the Commons and whatever else is over there bring traffic to a standstill more often than not. Not that I don’t love watching my engine temperature light creep up as I wait and wait and wait to clear that intersection and proceed on my merry little way.

How this idea works is, rather than wait forever for a left turn signal, left-turning traffic actually turns right and makes a sort of u-turn to head in the intended direction. Eliminating the left-turn signal means you don’t have to wait as long for a light, so traffic doesn’t get backed up. Plus, I just like the idea of making u-turns legally. The inventor is brilliant, and I’m not just saying that because he is a friend. Every time I get stuck behind backed up turn-lane traffic I think how great it would be to not have to wait for those lights.

The embedded video doesn’t do the idea justice, so click the image and go to YouTube to view the traffic simulation in a higher resolution. The left side of the video shows the two-phase intersection with the u-turns. The right side of the video shows the same traffic navigating the usual mess we all know so well, which works fine when there is no traffic, but I don’t do much driving at 4 am when that presumably happens. Notice how the street that has a lot of left-turn traffic (green cars) gets backed up in the usual intersection? There is even a way to do away with lights altogether, but wow… I don’t know if I could handle not hitting every light. That would be too radical.
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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. unclevinny  |  August 13, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Hm… I wonder how many cars could handle the U-turn? It would make things tough for a lot of trucks, for sure. But I’m glad to see someone thinking about these things…!

  • 2. azareal  |  August 15, 2008 at 2:05 am

    To Uncle Vinny: I passed your comment on to the designer of the intersection. He replied, “With regard to the comment, larger turning radius vehicles would have to yield to complete the U-turn (using the entire roadway) while smaller vehicles can pass freely. I couldn’t find a way to simulate this feature but the assumption is that during rush hour the % of large turning radius vehicles is low.”


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