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Some thoughts on traffic in NY

According to the 2009 Urban Mobility Report, we spend 4.2 billion hours sitting in traffic each year.

That’s a lot of hours.  In case you are curious, that adds up to the total number of hours in the entire lifetime of approximately 6,244 men.  Over 6,000 entire lifetimes in a single year wasted sitting there just trying to get somewhere else.

Makes all the teleportation experimentation seem well worth while even with the occasional fly/human DNA mix up.

Men’s Health magazine took a short break from letting us know 7 ways for better sex and how to get your abs ripped in 28 seconds to ask men their thoughts on traffic congestion.  Some of the more interesting questions and results:

  • 53% consider traffic a major stressor in their life
  • 26% spend more than 1.5 hrs/day commuting
  • 71% said commuting with their significant other would NOT improve their relationship
  • 76% blame other drivers, not roadway design, for the congestion
  • 70% say they don’t ever get impatient and try to jump ahead in long lines of traffic (not surprising then that 68% consider those who do to be “thoughtless, selfish jerks”)
  • 52% consider distracted drivers the greatest threat on the road.  Only 25% answered drivers under the influence.
  • 60% said they would commute 3x as far for the chance to triple their salary

What can we do as a society, on the road, to ease the congestion?

  • Obey “ramp meters”.  You know those red lights as you enter the highway that seem to be useless?  You ask yourself why should I stop if it’s all clear?  If everyone actually obeyed them, thus spacing traffic a little better, those 20 seconds or so could end up saving 5 or 10 minutes overall.
  • Stay in the center lane as much as possible and only switch lanes when necessary.  This reduces accidents (and subsequent delays) as well as allows slower traffic to go right and faster traffic to move left.
  • Don’t tailgate.  More tailgating means more/quicker use of brake lights.  One person slightly touches their brakes and then there is a “shock-wave” that can extend way down the roadway and cause others to brake.  In the long run, this does nothing but slow the overall flow of traffic even though an individual who tailgates may “feel” like he is getting somewhere as quickly as possible.
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