Fun and Games With Transportation

It’s Friday. It’s summer. Let’s face it, you shouldn’t be looking at a computer right now.

But since you are — maybe you’re at work or something crazy like that — we’ll give you some fun stuff from the Streetsblog Network today. Fun, with a little undertone of serious.

First, via Transit Miami, we present a video game for traffic engineers. Unfortunately, it sounds old-school in the worst sense of that term:

Picture_2.pngThe University of Minnesota’s  Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute has released a "Gridlock Buster"
traffic game, which helps students understand the “fundamentals” of
controlling gridlock. Says the Institute of its new product:

Buster’ is a traffic control game that incorporates tools and ideas
that traffic control engineers use in their everyday work. Players must
pass a series of levels while acquiring specific skills for controlling
the traffic and ensuring that delays don’t get out of hand. For
example, a player might need to manage a high volume of traffic passing
through an intersection, where long lines form if vehicles don’t get
enough green-light time. The more drivers are delayed, the more
frustrated they get — causing the game’s ‘frustration meter’ to rise.
Sound effects and animation simulate cars honking and drivers’ fists
shaking to illustrate the realistic results of backed-up traffic

Of course,  the
sole focus of this hyper-annoying and stressful game is to move as many
cars as possible through the grid so that one may obtain an acceptable
score and move to the next round — where one is expected to move even more cars
through the grid. With no options to actually decrease the traffic with
mobility options such as bicycle facilities, transit, or infill the
blatantly exposed surface parking lots — a pockmark on any potentially
walkable street — I am left
with one question: what’s so intelligent about that?

Next, for your viewing pleasure, Copenhagenize
has brought together five videos promoting cycling from different
cities: London, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris, NYC and Gothenburg, Sweden.
As Mikael
notes in his post, in the immortal words of Sesame Street, "one of
these things is not like the other." And — surprise! — it’s the one
from the US. Apparently in Europe, they have this crazy idea about
showing people having fun on bikes rather than immobilized and bloody in an ambulance.

think they’re onto something? Could or should we ever see similar ads
in big US cities? Or do you support the New York approach?

Plus, Grieve-Smith on Transportation challenges you to a little word game: If a trend away from car ownership shouldn’t be called "demotorization," what’s a better coinage?


If a Transportation Engineer Were President

A bit of pre-Election Day fun: Here’s a mock state-of-the-union speech drafted for the next President by "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz, the former New York City Traffic Commissioner who created the word . Combining some ideas from Barack Obama’s platform with some that no candidate would utter during a presidential campaign, he lays out a plan […]

Change Is Afoot on the Country’s Most Important Street Design Committee

Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. One year after some progressive civil engineers around the country feared a crackdown against new-fangled street and signal designs, the opposite seems to be taking place. The obscure but powerful National Committee on […]

City Ends Traffic Officer Subsidies for Major Events

Political events and charities, such as yesterday’s AIDS Walk, can be exempted on a case-by-case basis. Photo: Dave Marez/Flickr At last week’s meeting of the City Council Transportation Committee, LADOT’s Alan Willis presented on the status that the DOT has made with the owners of the Greek Theatre, Hollywood Bowl, Coliseum, Sports Arena, former Olympic […]

Good news for L.A.: More Congestion, Higher Parking Fees

Traffic trying to get to Dodger Stadium. Photo:=Manny=/Flickr Here comes one positive side benefit of the L.A. budget crisis: Gridlock. Our tight budget means the city can no longer afford to pick up the tab to make driving easier — by providing free traffic officers for events at the Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl, and other […]