A motorist exiting a rural freeway was struck by a motorist on the intersecting State Route at the top of the exit ramp. At the westbound exit ramp from the Interstate freeway the State Route a stop sign is posted at the end of the ramp requiring exiting traffic to stop before entering the State Route. However, the eastbound off ramp traffic is not required to stop before entering the State Route. A stop sign is posted on southbound State Route at the ramp terminal. This is an unusual traffic signing pattern for interstate off ramps. Expert observations of the operation of this intersection showed that a large proportion of the eastbound off ramp traffic slowed down at the end of the ramp, expecting to stop at the State Route.
As traffic engineers we take care to plan, design, and operate our roads for all users. When we are working in a complex urban environment, we must consider pedestrians, wheelchairs, vision impaired, bicycles, buses, and trucks. When we add automated, connected, and self-driving vehicles to the mix the complexity becomes more complex. That is why the profession is challenging and interesting.
When I was a boy, playing in the sandbox or building with blocks, I dreamed of building cities. I feel fortunate to be in a profession which allows me to fulfill that dream. To enjoy your job is a more important measure of success than the amount of money in your bank account. My favorite definition of success is borrowed from Ann Landers:
At the 1981 ITE Annual Meeting in Boston a seminar was convened on the role of the urban traffic engineer. It featured some of outstanding veterans of the profession, and each offered their insights on the role of the urban traffic engineer. Speakers included Bill VanGelder from Seattle, Harold Michael from Purdue, and Bill Mc Grath who was once the Traffic Commissioner for the City of Boston.
The topic of Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles is not new, yet advances in computing power, wireless capabilities, and soft ware development are taking implementation predictions from the not-too-distance future and placing them in the here and now. Emerging vehicle technologies foreshadow a world in which sensors and soft ware will replace humans in the driver's seat.