Effective Diverging Intersection Traffic Design

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | | 0 comments »

Diverging Intersection Traffic
For those who has ever made a left turn in a busy intersection and understands that it can be a stressful maneuver, there's a relief coming your way. There should now be no waiting time for a break in the stream of cars coming the opposite direction, holding up a line of traffic, and even getting into a possible collision if other drivers aren't following the rules of the road.

According to Dana Varinsky of Tech Insider, there is an intersection design that could save drivers all that trouble.

The "diverging diamond interchange" creates designated ramps that gradually direct cars to veer left or right, without ever requiring them to cross in front of ongoing traffic.

Though it might look complicated, it is actually a simple concept. Say, for example, that a commuter driving from west to east. As they come to the intersection, a red light may stop them as they let cars going the other way pass. (This is the only time streams of traffic cross each other.) If they want to turn right, a lane peels off and merges with the road carrying southbound cars. If they want to turn left, they just follow the ramp that veers to the north.

Since 2009, this diamond design has been implemented in 62 intersections across 22 US states, according to Wired. And it appears to be working.

In a recent study comparing crash data from before and after a series of intersections were converted to the new design, researchers found that overall crashes were reduced by 33 percent, while crashes that result in injury were reduced by 41 percent.

The diverging diamond was popularized in the US by Gilbert Chlewicki, the founder of Advanced Transportation Solutions, a transportation planning and design firm. Chlewicki wrote a term paper about the concept as a graduate student in 2000, and has devoted much of his life's work to promoting the design ever since. He has published several papers about it and has presented at conferences throughout the United States and Canada.

The first diamond interchange in the US was built in Springfield, Missouri in 2009 (France has had a few since the 1970s) and Chlewicki attended the ribbon cutting. In a survey conducted there later, 95 percent of drivers surveyed said there has been less traffic congestion since the new intersection opened, and 97 percent said they felt safer.

According to a map on Chlewicki’s official website for the design, many more such intersections are currently being planned and constructed, mostly in Midwestern states. The rest of the country's commuters will have to continue suffering through regular left turns until the trend catches on elsewhere.


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