Unfolding plans 180 – Traffic

I’m sick of traffic.  I’m sick of being stuck in traffic.  I’m even sick of talking about traffic.  It seems to be my sole topic of conversation these days.  I’m a traffic bore and I’m sick of it.

The journey in is normally acceptable but only just.  I know all the places that I’m going to get stuck and have got used to crawling through them.  It’s amazing what you will put up with to get to work.  Normally it is a journey that takes me an hour.  This morning though it took me just shy of two.  Two hours to drive thirty four miles.  It would be quicker by horse.

I really don’t understand why traffic slows down and gets stuck.  I get the reasons but I don’t fully understand. I hate the way that it sucks my time away.  It is so unproductive and I stew about all the things that I am not able to do. It also messes with my fuel efficiency.  Anyway I’m sick of it.

So this morning I got stuck at Cramlington, I turned round at Gosforth because the traffic was at a standstill and went through the tunnel.  I got stuck at Sliverlink and in the tunnel and in South Shields.  The real fun however began when I got to Pity Me.  The traffic was well backed up and so I took a diversion along Pit Lane.  It was no better.  It turned out that a census was being run.  Vehicles were stopped to find out where they had come from, where they were going and how often they made that journey.

Eh?  Was that what was holding me up.  A traffic census to gather information to improve traffic flow had brought the whole of north Durham to a standstill.  Surely in this day and age there must be a better way.

We have number plate recognition systems in place and so we should be able to tell all vehicles coming in and out of the city.  We also know to where all these cards are registered.  All right not everyone will have come from the place where their car is registered but seeing that the census was only questioning a handful of cars at any time it will be more than close enough. So using these two bits of information we would know when someone is coming in, where they are coming firm, when they leave, where they are going to and approximately how often they make that journey.

And it would not have slowed down the traffic.  Using technology would not have been as ironic but would have given better information with less disruption and (I imagine) at lower cost.

So please can we do this in future.  This is not solutionism.  This is a genuine big data problem that would help form a little technical involvement.

Anyway, I need to get away as I have a long drive home.  I just hope that the census has been completed.

About philjackman

Guerrilla Worker, strategic thinker, occasional maverick and reluctant over-achiever with an interest in culture change, creative opportunities and regional development.
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2 Responses to Unfolding plans 180 – Traffic

  1. Those that are passionate about solving traffic-related problems and with an interest in technology can take part in a local competition – http://datamovement.co.uk/ – Data Movement enables anyone with a passion for technology to design apps which commuters want to use.

    Ideas go to a public vote……”whose app will help you get to work…YOU DECIDE”

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