Letter: All For One, One For All

This letter appears in the Dec.1 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Same Speed Limit For Trucks, Cars

I keep seeing articles about safety, traffic accidents and crowded highways. We all want our roads to be safe, and we all want to travel on roads that are free of congestion — but what can be done to achieve our desires?

I have been driving for more than 50 years — cars only. However, I have worked in the transportation industry for more than 40 years, so I have been up and down the road a few times.

I see speed-limit signs posted on the highways that have one speed for cars and another speed for trucks. I often have wondered how this started.

But I have a theory — and it is only a theory — that could alter this dynamic: If everyone were driving at the same speed, it would be improbable that one vehicle could run into another vehicle. Now, I know this is impossible to achieve; but the closer we can come to this perfect scenario, the safer the roads would be.

Therefore, I propose that on most two-lane highways the left lane would be used by all vehicles for traveling at the posted speed limit. The right lane would be reserved for traffic entering and coming up to highway speed or exiting the highway and vehicles that could not maintain the posted speed limit.

Because lane changes can create problems, there would be no passing of vehicles in the right lane or the left lane. You only would change lanes after entering or before exiting the highway. And, as lanes are added to the highways, this process could just be moved over a lane or two.

I also would propose that automated speed surveillance could issue violation tickets for speeding or driving too slowly. With vehicle systems that use sensor data to make or assist in making driving decisions, and the use of self-

driving vehicles, speed monitoring could be done via onboard computing devices. In 10 years, this could be the normal as manufacturers start building these systems into vehicles. The systems also might reduce traffic jams and slowdowns.

One final thought: The next time you are at a stopped by traffic light with four or five cars in front of you and the light turns green, see how long takes before you can move forward. What if when the light turned green, each car moved forward at the same time?

Now if there were just a way to test this to see if it could work.

Ron Hazel

Traffic Manager

GEA Farm Technologies Inc.

Naperville, Illinois