City (i.e., "secondary" roads)
© Charles Chandler
Traffic jams in inner cities require a different solution, because the problem is slightly different. On the "secondary" roads in a city, the flow of traffic is already choked by stop lights, making a trip across town take a long time. Worse still is that during rush hour, traffic gets so congested that people are caught in the middle of intersections, not able to move forward, and thereafter blocking traffic in the other direction as well, creating the so-called "gridlock" effect.
The principle solutions already in place are buses, taxis, and subways. All of these reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, which reduces the indicidence of the gridlock effect. Subways move the fastest, not having to stop for traffic lights, but nevertheless stop every 10 blocks or so, depending on the spacing of subway stations. All in all, subways are not much faster than buses, because it takes time to get down to the tracks and then back up to the street level again. Taxis are the most expensive, but are also the fastest and most convenient, because they go door-to-door, whereas taking the bus or subway might require transferring one or more times.
There is a better solution, that would get people through the cities even faster than subways, and that would be almost as convenient as taxis. The solution involves getting the cars off of the streets, and getting everybody to ride a new type of bus system.
The problem with existing buses is that they make so many stops. So how do we eliminate the stops for people wanting to get all of the way across town, while allowing people to get on/off wherever they need to? The solution is to have a combination of local and express buses, and to allow people to transfer from one to the other. In other words, the express buses will drive straight through town, without stopping. The local buses will stop, let people get on/off, and then they will accelerate up to the speed of the express buses, at which time the two will engage a coupling system that will lock them together, so that people can transfer from the express to the local buses and vice versa. To ride on this system, you'll wait at the bus stop for the next local bus to pick you up. If you don't have far to go, you might just stay on that bus. But if you want to go all of the way across town, you'll wait until the local bus has gotten up to speed and locked together with an express bus. When it does, the doors between them will open, and you'll transfer to the express bus, which you'll ride until you get close to your destination, at which time you'll transfer to a local bus that will stop where you need to get off.
In order to truly make this effective, the express buses need to be able to cruise straight through town without stopping, and that means they need green lights all of the way. So the traffic needs to be reduced to the point that the lights can be synchronized such that express buses traveling both N/S and E/W can maintain full speed.
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