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A quick review of recent emails suggests there are unanswered questions about what we call traffic-related questions in regards to traffic engineering principles or philosophies or engineering judgement (my favorite). Regarding the suggestions below, I would like to thank Larry S., Carl L., Steve E., and Bruce M., in that order.

Roundabouts — how can they be made more intuitive? The number of signs and the pavement markings scare my grandmother.

Scooter Mania — where should scooters drive? On the sidewalk? On the street? And they are so much fun!

Speed Bumps — should be illegal. Use speed humps or speed tables or more stop signs (just kidding about more stop signs — stop signs should never be used for speed control).

Self-Driving Cars — but I like to drive my own car — that’s why I bought a Pinto. And when all cars have autonomous-mode, we won’t need traffic signals or even lane lines (this may be a few years away, but it’s coming) — say good-bye to traffic congestion.

School Zone Speed Limits — the “When Flashing” sign — all day? What about holidays, snow days? Are all these signs networked? Liability concerns???

Crosswalks — where warranted? When should they be signalized? Are bikes allowed in crosswalks? (only if you’re walking it). And what about mid-block crosswalks — signalized?

Speed Limits — how are they established? What about a town-wide speed limit?

Traffic Calming — what is it? Neighborhood speeding and/or cut-through traffic — what can be done?

Signal Timings — who is responsible for keeping signal timings optimized and traffic-responsive? How often should it be done and how can adjacent signals be synchronized so I don’t have to stop twice?


Traffic engineering solutions continue to evolve. I am a fan of elegant solutions, as Henry David Thoreau said, “Simplify, simplify.” Or as I like to say, “Simplify.”

Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online help available at