Friday, March 17, 2006

productive speeds

A recent computer study of the relation between drivers speeds and the number of cars that a road could carry in a given amount of time, found that the highest throughput would be at about 50 mph; this was because at higher speeds, the increased distance between cars needed for safety more than outweighed the higher speed.  Of course, in Atlanta, few drivers allow a safe distance.  The result is a high number of accidents that reduce the average speed (I expect to well below 50 mph) and cause many injuries and deaths.  I myself have been on I-285 when I timed the average speed at 4 (four) mph!  Since the minimum legal speed on I-285 is 40 mph, just think of all the money that could be made in tickets, if it were enforced!  Many people don’t seem to be aware of how many people in the Atlanta metropolitan area die in auto accidents, because most aren’t reported by the news media.  The only thing that seems to matter to the news media  is the effect on commuters.  In Gwinnett County alone, there are almost 2 fatal traffic accidents a week.  I have a 4-cylinder car that gets more than 30 mpg; the trade-off is that it does not have great acceleration, which fits with the way I drive anyway.  So I often have people speed around me when we the light turns green, only to have me catch up with them at the next traffic light.  My advice to people in Atlanta is to learn to meditate!  You can do it while you’re stopped at a traffic light, or even in slow traffic.  It will improve your mood and blood pressure at the same time!

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