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Commuter Graphic: A Beltway Change

A new traffic control program is aimed at easing traffic along the Capital Beltway by adjusting speed limits to the level of congestion ahead. This week's Commuter Graphic offers a primer on how the new "variable speed limit" system works.

By Mike McPhate  |  July 28, 2008; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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Next: Clearing Out Foggy Bottom


Dr. Gridlock - last year, MD SHA experimented with a similar system to at least tell drivers how long their wait would be, on I-70 outside of Baltimore, approaching I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway), where the ramp to the northbound Inner Loop is a notorious chokepoint. Did anything ever come of that study? The portable signs that used to announce "6 minutes to I-695" are gone. It seems that with all of the speed sensors that are out there, this would be a low-cost, high-impact project. It would be very nice to see signs on the AL Bridge saying "35 mins to MD 97, 22 mins to I-370" that sort of thing... Lots of other cities (notably Chicago, NY, LA) have this widely deployed, and virtually every city in Europe seemed to have some version of it.

Posted by: Joe in SS | July 28, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Joe, that would mean the DOT's of the area would actually have to do something smart. Remember, you're talking about the DOTs whose idea of snow removal is spring. Do you really think they're going to be proactive with all of the people higher up than them that like to sit on projects, do feasibility studies, check environmental impact, run a check to see if clean underwear is actually more effective at saving your life when you're in an accident, and make sure that the lines on the road aren't covered correctly so in the rain it looks like there's 7 sets of lines when there's actually supposed to be just one?

Not in this area my friend, that would be smart. We're at the center of the US. We used to be a world power, but as you so noted, European countries have passed us on the basic ideas of moving people.

Posted by: To Joe in SS | July 29, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Ideally, the DC area will get nuked and traffic will go back down in the subsequent die-off.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

For everybody complaining about Metro's escalator's being out of service at Foggy Bottom: GET OVER IT!!!! Washingtonians are a spoiled people. Try living in any of the five NYC boroughs. In the Bronx, Queens & Brooklyn sometimes it's close to a 3 story walk up to the platform. No elevators nor escalators. It wasn't until the People with Disabilities Act that NYC started installing elevators. Foggy Bottom- compared to Rosslyn, Wheaton or Dupont Circle-isn't that bad a climb up. Metro bends over backwards to "Be the best ride in the Nation" and succeeds for the most part. If you have to climb a short flight of stairs, so be it. A small price to pay once in a while.

Posted by: Joey | July 31, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

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