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Old 10-30-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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DriveSmartBC - Ramp Metering

Some time ago I wrote about watching streams of traffic trying to enter the freeways in and around Vancouver. Platoons of vehicles would move through the acceleration lanes bumper to bumper and everyone would then try and jam themselves into the first gap in the slow lane that they encountered. Aside from being dangerous, the action contributes to the congestion that drivers are unhappy with in the first place because it causes traffic already on the freeway to slow.

Yesterday I had my first experience with ramp metering as my lane and the lane beside me joined a busy freeway. The beginning of each acceleration lane displayed a red light and stop line. Once we had stopped, the lights turned to green just long enough to allow one vehicle to proceed at a time, and the green lights for our adjacent lanes were staggered. This forced everyone to proper speed and alternating spacing so that we joined the heavy stream of traffic just like the teeth in a zipper.

Yes, I was held up momentarily by the red light, but ultimately the average speed on the freeway I entered was higher and my total travel time was lower. I was also safer because ramp metering can be responsible for a 30% reduction in crashes compared to the same freeway without the system.

Perhaps this is an idea worth implementing in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It only operates when traffic is heavy, it is something that drivers do not need training to use and the cost of implementation may be offset by savings in travel time and a reduction in insurance claims.

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Old 10-30-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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They have it set up getting onto Hwy 1 from Hwy 7A. Though the newly re-designed pre-intersection area is horribly marked/signed.
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:10 PM   #3
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this is already in operation where vehicles join hwy 1 west bound from lougheed hwy.
used to also be at the mary hill bypass before they juggled the area around.

*edit* thats what i get for loading the page and then going to do something else haha
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:00 PM   #4
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It's a great system, until idiots blow through the red light and screw it all up.

Now we have to implement red light cameras WITH the metering system... sigh.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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They have it set up getting onto Hwy 1 from Hwy 7A. Though the newly re-designed pre-intersection area is horribly marked/signed.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sho_bc:7669610
They have it set up getting onto Hwy 1 from Hwy 7A. Though the newly re-designed pre-intersection area is horribly marked/signed.
I wouldn't call either of these locations (Mary Hill Bypass to Hwy 1 w/b, or Coleman onramp to Hwy 1 w/b) particularly "re-designed" as both areas are undergoing extensive construction and regularly (ie. every few months) being changed and realigned to accommodate the construction and still keep traffic flowing.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
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One other thing about these metered ramps: the main problem with them is that, like roundabouts, they've simply been jammed into service where nobody has a clue how to deal with them properly (except me, of course), and everyone has a different idea of how to proceed. I'll see some cars start going as soon as the car next to him clears... then the next guy stops at the red and I'd swear, takes so long to get going again when it turns green, he must have put the car in park once he stopped. By the time he gets rolling, the other light has now turned green and back to red, thus screwing up the guy waiting there. Then you get a truck rolling up, and they just keep rolling slowly so they don't have to actually stop, because if they did it would take five minutes for them to get started again and actually clear the light. And you get the one guy who goes through and then creeps along, while the two behind him gun it after they get their greens and get on the first guy's ass, and before you know it everyone is bunched into a little block again before they have to merge onto the freeway...

And then with the Mary Hill ramp at least, they've changed the exit from the merge so it snakes around under the new overpasses, and it's so winding and bumpy that once again, you get some creeping, others in a rush, and by the time you get to the freeway, there's a thick line of cars trying to all barge their way into the flow again. Fortunately, at least there, they've now got a couple km of uninterrupted lane before they DO have to merge over (although a lot of people don't realize this, or aren't paying attention, and still try to move over ASAP, usually slowing to a crawl to do it).
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:27 AM   #8
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Mary Hill Bypass has this. I like it.

They DESPERATELY need it for the Knight street bridge on ramp southbound from Marine drive. It's a NIGHTMARE there.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:56 AM   #9
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The only problem with these systems is it pushes the traffic from the freeway onto the side streets accessing the freeway. If the side streets are not capable of handling a backup it becomes a nightmare.

LA has many of these metered ramps and they work very well, yet almost all feed off busy connector roads with a dedicated lane for accessing the freeway - thus if that lane backs up its no big deal for other cars on that road.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:48 AM   #10
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Also around LA the metered ramps are long enough to accommodate more a more than a few cars lined up. The ramps on to HWY1 in the Lower Mainland are barely adequate to accelerate to hwy speeds for a lot of vehicles. Ramp metering is great, I just don't think it would work with our current hwy designs.
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:45 PM   #11
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Mary Hill Bypass has this. I like it.

They DESPERATELY need it for the Knight street bridge on ramp southbound from Marine drive. It's a NIGHTMARE there.
thanks to some genius, who thought having 3 lanes merge into one lane and then subsequently merge from a dual on/off ramp ( lorries getting off on mitchell island)... ridiculous!

but then again nothing surprises me in this metro, i thing we are the only city in the world that has a traffic light on a freeway! ( 72nd ave surrey/delta)
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:05 AM   #12
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It's a great tool for drivers who haven't figured out how to merge properly on their own.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:43 AM   #13
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It's a great tool for drivers who haven't figured out how to merge properly on their own.
If they haven't figured that out, they shouldn't have passed their road test.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:43 PM   #14
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I hate to break it to you but there are a lot of drivers out there with a licence that shouldn't have passed their road test.
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