North Idaho Slow Growth

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    SMART Traffic Controllers are a DUMB idea

    "Smart traffic lights are traffic control systems that combines traditional traffic lights with an array of sensors and artificial intelligence to intelligently route vehicle and pedestrian traffic".  —Wikipedia

    One of the false promises that advocates of “Intelligent Transportation Systems” (ITS) use to justify adding unwanted complexity to our traffic systems is that SMART traffic signal controllers that use Artificial Intelligence and real-time surveillance data to control traffic flow, will provide significant advantages to travelers.

    THIS IS FALSE.   Well-designed traffic light controllers can manage traffic very efficiently using existing technology.  And the promised benefits of “SMART Traffic Lights” that magically optimize traffic flow by reducing “Time Spent Idling” are entirely illusionary.   To understand why SMART traffic controllers will never be able to out-perform existing traffic light networks, lets take a closer look at traffic light technology to see what is actually being proposed.

    Existing “Fixed Schedule” Traffic Lights

    Our existing traffic control grid, is based on a network of "Fixed-Schedule" traffic lights.  This means that during high traffic hours, the timing of each intersection follows a predictable "fixed" pattern.  During off-hours, traffic signals can revert to an "on-demand" mode, but in order to synchronize lights relative to each other, each traffic signal must maintain predictable timing

    Traffic light timing is usually determined for an entire roadway or neighborhood, based on distance between lights, expected speed limits, and expected traffic volumes.   It is not alway possible to optimize performance at every intersection, but traffic engineers usually try to optimize for "throughput", that is, the efficiency of the transportation corridor as a whole. 

    Fixed Schedule Traffic signals have been in use for over 100 years, and engineers have been using computers to help optimize the synchronization of multiple lights within a network for over 40 years.   The first underground electronic sensors (allowing for on-demand switching), were introduced in the 1950s, and they are very important for low volume signal control.  But fixed scheduled signals have always proven more efficient than dynamic switching during periods of heaviest traffic.   

    Obviously a poorly designed, malfunctioning, or overburdened traffic signal system may not work well.  But if competent highway engineers design and maintain a network of signal lights based on accurate traffic speeds and volumes, the system should work efficiently.   Existing "Fixed Schedule" Traffic light synchronization systems been in place for decades and have provided efficient, flexible, and dependable service wherever they have been competently deployed, without any need for surveillance cameras or artificial intelligence.

    Enter "Intelligent" Transportation Systems

    Now let’s compare existing “Fixed Schedule” Traffic Light Networks, to the ultra-high tech, and incredibly complicated Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) the U.S. Department of Transportation is attempting to foist on Americans.   USDOT is forcing cities throughout the U.S. to upgrade their traffic networks as a condition of receiving highway funds.  Upgrades needed to implement an Active Transportation Management system include thousands of high resolution cameras, additional roadway sensors, SMART traffic lights, dynamic lane use controls, and data storage and management facilities.

    The DOT's vision of an automated, SMART transportation management system based on mass data collection and artificial intelligence, was conceived of by a collaborative research program under the Federal Highway Administration, and is part of a globally orchestrated movement toward densification, SMART cities, and round-the-clock surveillance. There is no community anywhere in the United States where residents actually want a fully automated ITS system, but our Globalist Overlords want control over transportation, and they will misrepresent data, make false claims, and use any excuse, pitch, or justification that they think will work to get citizens to accept intrusive and arbitrary “Actively Managed” traffic systems.    

    But the promoters of "Intelligent Transporation Systems"  have big problems.  First, it is extremely difficult for their SMART, dynamic traffic controllers to provide significant improvement over existing “Fixed Schedule” systems, in terms of net travel time.   The optimizations provided by ITS technology are simply ineffective.  As traffic engineers have long known, making irregular, “local” improvements to an intersection is often counter-productive if it causes bottlenecks elsewhere in the system.   

    Even worse, ITS systems were designed to optimize vehicle flow for autonomous vehicles, not human-operated cars.   Advanced ITS traffic controllers require coordination with SMART cars;  but most vehicles on the road today cannot communicate with them.   In other words, SMART traffic lights don’t work well with Dumb cars.   Numerous studies have tried to make “Smart” optimizations work with less than complete connectivity, but they have proven disappointing.   

    As actual ITS researchers in both the U.S. and Germany have concluded:Smart traffic lights could handle their task more efficiently without human interface.”  Without the ability to over-ride human control of vehicles the hoped-for benefits of ITS systems are illusionary.

    Why ITS Advocates Obsess over “Idle Time”

    Given that fact that ITS systems cannot currently offer any meaningful benefits to travelers, how can ITS promoters convince people that SMART Traffic Management is the way of the future? 

    One way is to redefine success and mislead the public with false promises.   This is, in fact, the reason that so many ITS advocates focus on the intentionally deceptive goal of “reducing idle times”.   When people hear that SMART traffic lights will “reduced idle times,” they assume that some type of clever algorithm will allow their cars to pass quickly through crowded intersections but that is not what happens. 

    Existing “Fixed Schedule” systems are already synchronized to maximize throughput during rush hour, so the only way that ITS systems can further optimize is to forcibly group cars together in order to allow for shorter, more frequent green cycles.   But this can only be done by slowing down a group of cars that are approaching a traffic light in such a way that they form a closely spaced “platoon” that can be guided through an intersection quickly.

    If a “platoon” of cars approaches the intersection at a reduced speed and then enters the intersection just as the traffic signal turns green, then it can be said that the SMART Traffic light has "reduced idle times”, even if the traveler’s net travel time has not improved.  This is why advocates for SMART traffic lights focus on “reducing idle times,” rather than "reduced travel times" or "greater throughput".   It is simply the easiest metric to fake.      

    And “reduced idle time” is only one of many false claims put forth by ITS Advocates.   Virtually all the promised benefits of ITS systems, such as improving “safety", "mobility", and "energy efficiency”, and reducing “accidents", "emissions" and "operating costs”, are unmeasurable, indefinite, and entirely speculative.   They are simply made-up benefits, with no meaningful control data, or cost-benefit analysis to back them up.

    In short, the “reduced idle times” claims of SMART Traffic lights are a crock, and Intelligent Transportation Systems are a stalking horse for mass surveillance.  Don’t fall for them.      

    PRIORITY Access for Favored Vehicles

    “In an ATDM system, . . .  Traveler Behavior is Influenced, to achieve objectives such as improving safety, promoting sustainable travel modes and reducing emissions . . . .”

    We have seen that benefits of ITS systems are over-stated, and that connected car technology is not developed enough to be useful.   But there is more than one way to control a vehicle.  If one cannot control SMART cars directly, one can still attempt to manipulate drivers.

    For this reason, the planned ITS upgrades to KMPO traffic light signal and notification systems are not intended to make travel easier.  They are intended to change the way travelers use roads in order to enforce behavior that the government thinks is beneficial.   And what does the government think is beneficial?  "Walkable" communities,  non-motorized vehicles, and mass-transit.  In other words, minimizing usage of private cars

    How can ITS technology be used to discourage automobile usage? By giving favored vehicles high priority access to highway resources, and penalizing private “single occupancy” vehicles. How is this done?  The chart below lists some “Active Management” features already used in urban areas.

    The purpose of these features is to reduce demand for highway resources during peak traffic hours, by making drivers of private vehicles bear the brunt of most roadway costs and delays.  Wherever the term "dynamic" is used, it means that "Active Traffic managment" systems can differentiate between "low priority" and "high priority" vehicles, and restrict usage of transportation resources.  

    North Idaho travelers will begin to see the influence of KMPO’s plans to "reduce congestion" by making car travel costly and cumbersome as soon as its proposed "Traffic Management Center" is in place.  The third lane added to I-90 will be declared an HOV and off limits to all but carpools and those with proper credentials.  And soon afterward, freeway on ramps will be metered with favored vehicles given “priority” access.   And Who will have “priority” access?

    Busses and public transportation,  government vehicles,  registered carpools, electric vehicles, handicapped drivers, and public employees will all be provided with electronic passes.  Commercial fleets and freight transport will be given corporate passes, and stakeholders will, of course have V.I.P. passes. Who WON’T be given a pass?   Privately owned, gas-powered vehicles of course.  Regular people going about their business in their own cars will bear the full brunt of the government “traffic management” policies.   

    Without Human Interface

    Smart traffic lights could handle their task more efficiently without human interface.”  

    The question comes down to “Who is Driving?”  

    All the technology behind our existing traffic management systems, including “Fixed Schedule” traffic light synchronization, electronic sensors at intersections, 9-11 Emergency response, traveller notification, and even google maps route-optimization, was designed with the assumption that private citizens, rather than government computers, would be driving most vehicles.  These systems were designed with the objective of making travel easier, faster, and safer for travelers, treating all vehicles and drivers equally.  The only “data” needed to synchronize existing traffic light controllers is expected vehicle speeds and traffic volumes, and the resulting “fixed schedule” timing maximizes throughput, and is fair and predictable.  

    Existing traffic light controllers accommodate self-driving cars, but do not depend on them. Nor do they depend on Artificial Intelligence, connected vehicle technology, high resolution cameras, mass data collection and processing, or “dynamic adjustments based on priority requests”. 

    Unfortunately, KMPO's planned “Regional Transportation Management Center,” paid for entirely by the Federal government, threatens to up-end North Idaho's entire transporation system by introducing technology that is not needed by the current system, but would support much more complicated, invasive, and unfair "Intelligent Transporation Management" systems of the future. 

    The operational objectives of ITS systems are determined by Federal Intelligence agencies, not local traffic engineers, and they are designed to maximize surveillance, data collection and top-down control over traffic flow rather than traveler convenience. According to the Federal government's  definition of "Active Transportation Management," it is a system by which "traveler behavior is influenced" to achieve vague and expansive objectives such as "improving safety", "promoting sustainable travel modes", and "reducing emissions".   These are the priorities of the Globalist oligarchy, not the priorities of North Idaho residents.

    It is no coincidence that the Federal government will pay the entire cost of KMPO's planned "Traffic Management Center".   The TMC and all the ITS technologies associated are of no value to North Idaho travelers, and will make our area traffic woes worse, not better.   

    SMART Transportation management schemes that rely on mass data collection and penalize private citizens for driving their own cars are arbitrary, intrusive, and despotic.  North Idaho drivers do not want a TMC,  and the only people who support these intrusions are globalist minions, government employees, those who are fooled by the false promises and deceptive talking points of pro-TMC propaganda.  




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