Truck traffic

Started up a new project recently to estimate traffic flows.  Our first question is to extract truck traffic estimates from those estimates.  For something that costs so much money and is such a large part of the economy, it always surprises me how little accurate information is collected about traffic.  While freeways have reasonable coverage in California, streets are, for the most part, only monitored using periodic census counts.  Doing better than that costs lots of money, and collecting better data probably won’t make things a heck of a lot better, and *will* expose more about people’s trips (speed, origin, destination), so nothing will likely happen.

Also, while I’m not at all trolling for blog comments, I find it funny that people get worked up about automatic speed traps and so on.  Speed limits are usually set at prevailing, safe speeds.  If people are exceeding the speed limit, they are breaking the law and should be ticketed.  If they have a problem with that, they should lobby their elected representatives to get the speed limits raised.   As a bicycler, I’m usually put in the most danger not by fast moving cars, but rather by people who are exceeding the speed limit.  Those men and women are moving too fast given the conditions on the road to see and react to my bike.  I cycle pretty defensively, so it hasn’t been a problem yet.  Biking on a road with a fast speed limit usually isn’t a problem because that means the road is wide and sight lines are good.

I’m not saying that it isn’t freaky to bicycle on a road with a speed limit of 50mph.  I’m just saying that it is much safer than riding on a quite side street by my house (speed limits 25 to 30mph) and having some soccer mom come roaring along at 45mph.

I say track all traffic via GPS in license plates, and mail out speeding tickets on an annual basis when you get your license renewed.

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