Every once and a while I allow myself to pontificate on subjects outside the realm of networking engineering, security, system administration and network management. Today's post is an example of that, as when I say "Understanding Traffic Flows and Common Causes of Congestion" I'm talking about cars on the highway vs. packets on the wire.
Before I get started, let me say that I'm an excellent driver as I would imagine that most of you are. I've never caused an accident and I have even been able to avoid several with some quick thinking and maneuvering. When you think about it, this isn't surprising as driving is nothing more than a practical application of physics, geometry, and mechanical sciences. It's no wonder so many of us geeks are both great drivers and ride motorcycles and/or fly planes on the weekends...
A couple of days ago I got yet another speeding ticket. This makes the second one in as many months. Then, last night, my wife got a speeding ticket for going pretty much the same speed as I was going on Saturday. This got me to thinking...
Listen, I don't mind paying traffic fines. What I do mind is the backwards ways our government seems to think about driving and it's affect on traffic. Why are we focusing on making people go slower? This is backwards to just about everything esle we do. Hey folks, guess what? We have problems with traffic in pretty much every city in our country. The slower people go the longer they'll be on the road and the worse our traffic problems will be.
So how do we fix this? Well, here are my top 5 ideas on this subject:
Head Geek's Top 5 Ideas for Solving our Traffic Problems
#5 - Replace "Defensive Driving Schools" with "Aggressive Driving Schools". Why would we want to teach people to go slower? Folks, we already know how to drive defensively - we just don't want to because it sucks. Instead, we should cite people that we find that are driving too conservatively and causing traffic issues and force them to go to a class to learn how to drive more aggressively. These are the people that find it necessary to stop and stare at accidents on the other side of the highway and that fail to accelerate into merge lanes.
#4 - Hold all driving classes/schools in the rain. Why is it that a light rain causes some people to decrease their speed by 80%? Yesterday it was sprinkling here in Austin and the average speed of my commute went from the normal 65 mph to 15 mph. This is crazy. When we see this we should send out police helicopters to find the ones up at the front of the line that are causing the problems, lower a giant magnet to their car, and airlift them directly to the "Aggressive Driving School" above.
#3 - Replace the HOV lanes (fast lanes) with "Easy Driving" lanes. It makes no sense to me that our highways have 5 lanes that end up going slow with one HOV lane that goes fast. Instead, we should have 5 lanes for going fast with a slow lane on the far right for older people, people that are on the phone, people that are trying to type on their iPhone or Blackberry while driving (you know who you are) and anyone that isn't capable of driving least the legal posted speed limit.
#2 - Offer a "Fast Driver" sticker. I would gladly pay a couple of hundred dollars per month to be able to drive as fast as I want to and quite frankly it would save both me and the State of Texas a lot of time and money as I'm sure they're as tired of pulling me over as I am of getting tickets. They can use the money from this program to fund better roads and/or special lanes for those of us that actually know how to drive (see #3 above).
#1 - Pace cars. This is probably an interim solution until we can implement some of the other solutions above, but rather than have the police sitting beside the road scaring everyone to death by pointing their laser guns at us and trying to force us to go slower - have them turn on their lights and sirens, move to the head of the pack, and set the pace for everyone else. Then all we have to do is follow.
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