THE ROLE OF TELEVISION IN TRAFFIC CONTROL

DETROIT, LIKE ALMOST EVERY OTHER AMERICAN CITY ENGAGED IN AN EXPRESSWAY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM, HAS BEEN SERIOUSLY CONCERNED OVER THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH THERE WERE FEW ACCIDENTS ON THESE HIGH SPEED FACILITIES THE EFFECTS OF SUCH ACCIDENTS AND THE RESULTANT CONGESTION WERE BOTH DISTURBING AND FAR REACHING. THESE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ARTERIES DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED TO MOVE LARGE VOLUMES OF TRAFFIC RAPIDLY AND WITH A MINIMUM OF INTERFERENCE CANNOT OPERATE EFFICIENTLY UNLESS SOME POSITIVE MEANS CAN BE DEVELOPED TO HANDLE ACCIDENTS QUICKLY AND TO PREVENT THE SUDDEN AND LARGE SCALE BUILD-UP OF CONGESTION. TRAFFIC ENGINEERS IN DETROIT SPENT CONSIDERABLE TIME STUDYING ACCIDENTS AND CONGESTION CAUSES AND ARE CONVINCED THAT THESE FACILITIES ARE PROPERLY DESIGNED. THEY HAVE CONCLUDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF EXPRESSWAYS DEMANDS A TRAFFIC CONTROL PLAN TO HANDLE A PROBLEM THAT IS UNIQUE TO THIS TYPE OF FACILITY. THEY HAVE FOUND THAT JUST AS EXPRESSWAY DRIVING IS AN ENTIRELY NEW EXPERIENCE FOR THE DRIVER, SO THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED ON THESE FACILITIES ARE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE ON SURFACE STREETS. IN AN ATTEMPT TO DEVELOP SOME RESONABLE AND EFFECTIVE MEANS OF TRAFFIC CONTROL FOR EXPRESSWAYS, THEY CONSIDERED USING SPECIAL SIGNAL SYSTEMS, LANE AND RAMP CONTROLS, HUMAN OBSERVERS TO AUGMENT EXPRESSWAY PATROLS, RADIO DESPATCHED EMERGENCY VEHICLES AND MANY OTHER DEVICES. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE KEY TO ANY SUCCESSFUL PLAN FOR COMBATTING ACCIDENTS AND CONGESTION ON EXPRESSWAYS WAS TELEVISION. THIS DECISION WAS BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT IT WOULD PERFORM TWO VITALLY IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS: (1) IT WOULD PERMIT IMMEDIATE DETECTION OF ACCIDENTS AND CONGESTION AT THE POINT OF THEIR OCCURRENCE AND IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL TO ALLOW THE OBSERVER TO EVALUATE THE SITUATION. (2) IT COULD BE INCORPORATED INTO AN OVER-ALL PLAN WHICH WOULD ENABLE THE OBSERVER TO DISPATCH POLICE, FIRE AND EMERGENCY VEHICLES INSTANTANEOUSLY AND TO PERMIT ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY THE CONTROL OF LANE AND RAMP MOVEMENT. THE RESULTS OF THE EXPERIMENT WERE SATISFACTORY TO THE POINT WHERE QUALIFIED OBSERVERS FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT TELEVISION MAY TRULY BE THE KEY TO THE MOST EFFECTIVE TYPE OF EXPRESSWAY TRAFFIC CONTROL. /AUTHOR/

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Vol 35, pp 585-599, 13 FIG, 13 PHOT
  • Authors:
    • Malo, A F
    • Head, R S
  • Publication Date: 1956

Media Info

  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the Thirty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Highway Research Board, Washington, D.C., January 17-20, 1956
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00226014
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1971 12:00AM