Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Nerdy Traffic Post for Donald Tetto

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.

4 comments:

ME said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ME said...

It's football!

Donald said...

Katie! Thank you, this is just what I've been waiting for.

Fascinating stuff. I do wonder though about the suspected cut-through path (why hang a right right there?). Is that what residents reported, or are those slightly more major roads? Do you think you would have caught more potential cutters-through had there been more observers at the several other possible entrances and exits to the neighborhood?

What an awesome job you have. Especially the part about the go-karts. Do traffic engineers race more ingeniously than their non-studied counterparts?

Lauren says she loves you.

P.S. I do not think that was drawn with AutoCAD...

The Dancing Newt said...

me: I'm sorry but I don't even know what you're talking about... Could you clarify?

donald: Very good questions. Mainly the residents on those certain roads had been complaining the most, so we didn't really look into the other intersections. We may very well have caught more "cutters-through," but I guess it wasn't worth it since the people on the other roads didn't claim it to be such a problem.

Looking back, I also think there were fewer roads that comprised the neighborhood than I had drawn.

And yes, traffic engineers ~do~ race more ingeniously. Especially this newtish one, right here. :D