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Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 1) 359

by Firethorn (#48201157) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

I remember an early case where the kid(with his parent's support) fought using the GPS logger installed on his car due to an earlier speeding incident that showed he wasn't speeding at the time the cop said he was. The GPS company sent representatives(for free). The parents hired a lawyer on principle, etc...

He ended up losing, but the court/prosecution spent so much money fighting it that it was just insane. Their intent was to set a precident that 'GPS doesn't count'. Of course, what really happened is that the company took that experience and retooled their devices some - shorter intervals, instant AND average speed, signed log files so you could be assured they weren't edited, etc...

Comment: Proper yellow timing. (Score 1) 359

by Firethorn (#48200985) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

I can be much more verbose now, I have time.

I don't see how it could reduce accidents unless the yellow was too short to allow all vehicle types time to stop.

NHTSA and other associated organizations have done lots of math and studies to determine and verify 'best' designs for nearly every kind of intersection out there, which includes proper yellow light timing.

To put it in context - while I kept it generic I could have said 'increase yellows to NHTSA or similar standards'. If you look at the studies, yellows shorter than NHTSA recommendations tend to have more accidents and red light running. Yellows longer than NHTSA standards don't do much, so it seems they've done their work. Indeed, if all intersections utilize the same standards, you gain the benefit that drivers learn to expect how long the yellow will be at a given intersection - 'Level, 35 mph, the yellow will be 'this' long and I have time to make it/not make it'. No matter where the intersection is.

Thing is though, local governments are discovering that a properly designed intersection that meets NHTSA and similar department rules regarding a well designed intersection won't have enough red-light runners to justify the expense of cameras, and that designing it right(or fixing the flaws) makes it safer than what red light cameras can provide. Of course, this presents a problem - the safest course is to fix the intersection, but that costs money. Cameras at least theoretically 'make' money, so they're preferred in areas concerned more about revenue.

Of course, courts throwing out fines left and right(including forcing the government to pay back all collected fines in select situations) when it's discovered that the reason for excessive red light running is an improperly designed or programmed intersection alters the finances. Much less when it's discovered that somebody shortened the yellow because they weren't making enough, as has occasionally happened. Heads really tend to roll then. The problem is that even if the government and camera company select intersections that happen to have a short yellow, when they're forced to retime the light to standards suddenly revenue drops. Running the cameras are no longer worth it.

If the stats don't pan out, that's interesting.

I suggest reading the sources. It's noted all over that increasing yellow duration at problematic intersections works(at least most of the time). Nearly always there's some problem to be corrected - yellow timing is easy though. Sometimes all you need is a warning light earlier on.

I don't think fatalities is the big issue here. Drunk driving is its own problem that won't be solved with traffic signals. No one wants to deal with collision damage from lower speed accidents.

Bingo. Independent studies have shown that red light cameras don't really reduce serious accidents(T-Boning at speed and such), but can drastically increase the number of rear-end collisions. Not that I want to argue your experience, but there's reasons why I kept it all statistical - accidents will happen no matter what as long as humans are still behind the wheel. All we can do is minimize them.

I think the way we design intersections needs a rethink.

Actually, following NHTSA and similar standards tends to be very effective at reducing accident rates.

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 1) 359

by LynnwoodRooster (#48196517) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected
Pleasant Valley Highway, Las Posas Road, Rose Avenue, Rice Avenue, and Hueneme Road, down here near where I live (the Ventura, CA area) all have speed limits of 50 MPH to 60 MPH - and have stoplights on them. It's quite common out in the Western US, actually...

Comment: Re:So it's like Colorado (Score 2) 359

by Firethorn (#48195725) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

They're still making money from marijuanna sales there. I could have told them they wouldn't make that much money, they were way too optimistic, and set the tax rates too high to properly compete with illegal sources.

Compounding that was a federal campaign against the financing and housing of legal dispensaries - they have a hard time getting the money to get the economy of scale necessary for profit. Leasing commercial property is also almost impossible.

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 4, Informative) 359

by Firethorn (#48195607) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

If it still reduces accidents as well as red light running, does it matter if 'more' people run the yellow? The goal of traffic signals is safe intersections and driving, not a 'Simon Says' game.

Note: Link provided not for unbiased site, but because site does have links to reputable studies.

I DID read a biased FAQ by a red light company. Note how they pound the cost of accidents in life and property damage, citing studies. But when it comes to how red light cameras effect the crash rate? 'If red-light and speed safety cameras reduced by an additional 25%...'. Uncited supposition.

Fact is, the 'typical' fatal red-light running is a person going through an 'aged' red, at high speed, while drunk. Not the type to be worried about a camera at that point. Most accidents involving 'fresh' reds are minor, comparable to the rear-end collisions that increase due to the cameras(google should give studies easily).

  I apologize for not linking a study, but I have to head out.

Comment: Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (Score 1) 323

by Firethorn (#48195373) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Good idea! They even make fancy ones that can bend to turn corners a bit and use the shape of the rollers to keep the product on them going the right direction and not falling off the conveyor.

A slight slope would be all that you'd need to keep the product moving without any further human assistance.

Depending, the ice truck should already have one available. Heck, worst case have a cart.

Comment: Re:Hey Verizon, can you hear us NOW! (Score 5, Interesting) 165

Indeed, I'm mostly a libertarian and I view this as not really any different than a neighborhood, town, or city getting together and forming a cooperative. My reaction is 'good on them! Fie on established businesses that are failing to meet demands'.

Comment: Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (Score 1) 323

by Firethorn (#48192299) Attached to: An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

If the line moves 4 times faster, for 1/4 the time, then you need 4 times the laborers... for 1/4 the time. You don't get to multiply people the same way you can speed.

Power vs Energy. ;)

He does actually point this out - his example was rather than needing 5 volunteers doing 1 hour shifts sequentially, they do it in parallel. Which raises the question of whether you HAVE 5 volunteers, or just 1 doing a 5 hour shift...

Still, one would have to ask how many bags a volunteer can carry - if he can carry 3 per trip, but ends up only carrying 1-2 much of the time, a caching system would be more efficient because he can just keep hauling 3 bags per trip rather than 1-2 if that's all the current customer is ordering.

Comment: Re:The Windows Phone failed. (Score 1) 166

by LynnwoodRooster (#48188299) Attached to: Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own
Thanks for the link! From that data, it looks like Windows Phone is close to parity with iOS when you look at the EU market. The world IS larger than just the US, you know... Also check India where Windows Phone has a larger market share than iOS. It's actually succeeding quite well outside the US...

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James