Okay I have been somewhat lackadaisical regarding my newtiness of late. Sorry guys. As some of you know, I have started work, which turns out to be delightful. I couldn't ask for nicer co-workers, and the projects we are working on are all so fascinating to me (although, as a Junior Engineer, I'm more in charge more of the grunt-work than actual design, but you've gotta start somewhere).
Last week I helped conduct a study for the town of Dedham (pronounded like DEAD-'em). See, many of the residents believe that a significant number --- or, as we say in the transportation world, "volume" --- of cars are cutting through their neighborhood (please refer to my AutoCAD drawing below) to bypass the traffic light where the two roads intersect.
You can imagine why this would be unsafe, with people speeding around to shave off a few seconds from their travels while little kids wait for the bus or play soccer in the street. So we placed several of our finest staff at key intersections to record the vehicles entering and exiting the neighborhood. A simple way to check whether the same vehicles were cutting through or not was to make note of the last three digits of the license plate (and the state, but they were mostly the same state anyway). If that same vehicle made a right-hand turn into the neighborhood off of the first major road and then appeared turning out of the neighborhood onto the other road, there is a pretty good chance that the vehicle was cutting through. It is not a foolproof method, because we did not write down the exact minute and second that we observed these license plate numbers. So there is no way of knowing how long a vehicle actually spent in the neighborhood. It is possible, therefore, that some of the people who actually live in the area arrive at their house through one route and leave via another.
Apparently it does not matter though, because a total of one car made the cut-through movement during the morning rush hour and less than fifteen made that same movement during the afternoon rush hour. It is safe to assume that there are even fewer cars during other times of the day.
Also we have an office volleyball team and are going go-cart racing in August. All in all, I am pleased with the career move.