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Transportation Software

Engineers: Traffic Studies Use Simulation Software, Not Lane Closings 265

Posted by Soulskill
from the next-you'll-tell-me-we-test-drugs-on-animals-first dept.
Lucas123 writes "The so-called 'traffic study' that closed New Jersey access lanes on the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge last September has left engineers scratching their heads, because in modern America, simulation software is used instead of closing down lanes. One of the best sources for simulation data are video camera systems that use software to count vehicles on roadways. Traffic studies use microscopic traffic simulations to create virtual environments that can model driver behavior to road changes with exacting detail. Instead, the Port Authority, under Gov. Chris Christie, shut down two of the three access lanes for four days last September from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge without warning the public, citing a 'traffic study.' 'I would be pretty confident that if we knew exactly which lanes are closed we could replicate that, and it would show exactly how bad the backups are going to be,' said Lorenzo Rotoli, an engineer and vice president at Fisher Associates, a civil engineering firm in New York that works on roads, bridges and signal systems."
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Engineers: Traffic Studies Use Simulation Software, Not Lane Closings

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  • In other words ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:18PM (#45955161) Homepage

    This was a spiteful and petty act of retribution, pretty much much as reported already.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:19PM (#45955183)

      Exactly. Fuck West Virginia.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:25PM (#45955309) Homepage Journal

      I don't even understand this story. The smoking gun has already been found, reported, and Jon Stewart did a whole send-up of it last week.

      Why would anybody still be trying to figure out if the attempted cover-up was bogus or not?

      I realize the guy has aspirations for power, but if he were successful we can be confident he'd appoint the same kind of viscous, vindictive, psychopathic cronies who would do similar things at his behest (irrespective of whether he know about this incident). That's not a tradition we can afford to continue in Washington.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:30PM (#45955381) Homepage

        I must confess, unless it's just to get page hits, or to demonstrate that nobody could plausibly claim to have really been doing a traffic study ... I find myself asking the same question.

        However, in modern politics, you don't refute the facts, you provide your own 'facts' and talk really loud about something else.

        Maybe this is just a more reasoned attempt to short circuit that.

      • by nbauman (624611) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:37PM (#45955533) Homepage Journal

        I don't even understand this story. The smoking gun has already been found, reported, and Jon Stewart did a whole send-up of it last week.

        Why would anybody still be trying to figure out if the attempted cover-up was bogus or not?

        Slashdot got the mathematical modeling angle.

      • It's also not a tradition we can stop in Washington, if you haven't noticed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ArtForz (1239798)

        Viscous cronies? So... they're really thick?

      • by icebike (68054)

        I don't even understand this story. The smoking gun has already been found, reported, and Jon Stewart did a whole send-up of it last week.
        That's not a tradition we can afford to continue in Washington.

        Well, lets wait till the proof is in before we assume it wasn't an action taken by some over-zealous underling, instead of Christie himself.

        After all, the same people rushing to condemn Christie gleefully accept the same excuse from Obama, when he claims he didn't know, and wasn't told.

        What I want to know, is why any state's DOT would take orders like that EVEN if they thought it came from the Governor himself.
        Most rational state governments do not allow the Governor to micro-manage road and lane closures,

        • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:14PM (#45956163)

          What I want to know, is why any state's DOT would take orders like that EVEN if they thought it came from the Governor himself. Most rational state governments do not allow the Governor to micro-manage road and lane closures, for non-emergency reasons, and when there is a real emergency need, the DOT is usually well ahead of the elected officials.

          Why does New Jersey allow a governor to make that call?

          NY and NJ DOTs have nothing to do with it. The GWB is run by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey [panynj.gov] which separate from the state governments. The only reason the NJ governor's office was able to pull this off was because of their appointees & other cronies inside the PANYNJ.

          • by Entropius (188861)

            Given that the governments in New York and New Jersey don't even give lip service to actually having the best interests of the people at heart, shouldn't the ownership of critical infrastructure, held in trust for the people, be in the hands of someone else?

      • I think the real issue now is digging to figure out what level involvement That Gov. Chris Christie had in this.

        Being that this isn't a normal process of closing lanes for a study, you may expect some people, stopping and saying what why and perhaps ask for higher authority on if this is really what they want to do.

        Now could Christie be responsible? Maybe, maybe not. It is not too hard to think some political suck ups on his team, more then happy to do the Dirty Work, even if he never really wanted it, and

      • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:07PM (#45956079) Homepage Journal
        The smoking gun has already been found,

        Not according to Fox. On their opening broadcast when the initial emails were released, the first words out of the talking head's mouth was (as near as I can remember), "There was no smoking gun found in the documents released today about the New Jersey bridge shutdown."

        Why would anybody still be trying to figure out if the attempted cover-up was bogus or not?

        Again, going back to Fox, they're still wondering why people are so enamored with this story. After the first day they essentially dropped all coverage except for a tiny blurb along the right side of their web page, and then only to keep wondering why the media was so focused on this event.

        I realize using Fox as a reference is akin to using the National Enquirer, but I'm just answering your questions.
        • by ShaunC (203807) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:16PM (#45956203)

          For what it's worth, I was watching CNN coverage last night (Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper) and both had their share of panelists who were also saying there is no smoking gun. I haven't had time yet to look at today's developments, but I haven't seen anything that directly implicates Governor Christie. He just comes out looking incompetent for not knowing what his top aides were up to, which isn't much better.

          • by Entropius (188861)

            Didn't Christie directly say it was a traffic study? Regardless of whether he ordered it or not (abuse of power), he's now engaged in lying and obstruction of justice.

      • It's keeping the topic in the public's view. The longer this scandal lasts, the more people hear about it and the more damage done to Christie's reputation. Fanning the flames . . .
      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        I realize the guy has aspirations for power, but if he were successful we can be confident he'd appoint the same kind of viscous, vindictive, psychopathic cronies who would do similar things at his behest (irrespective of whether he know about this incident).

        Alas, I guess pretty much any of the front runners for the office of President fits into this category. I mean, Hillary has her "hit" list, and I'm guessing the Clintons are still pissed at a number of people who they feel threw her under the bus to s

      • by OakDragon (885217)
        Meanwhile, the Watergate Hotel wants you to know that their staff would never rifle through your papers and other belongings while you are away from the room.
    • I for one am shocked, shocked, to hear of political corruption in New Jersey.

      • by bobbied (2522392)

        I for one am shocked, shocked, to hear of political corruption in New Jersey.

        Then you will be SHOCKED to hear there is a lot more in Washington DC..

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:22PM (#45955247)

    He was studying how playing traffic god would impact his political career

  • Christie is going to have to practice his lying skills if he wants to seriously be a contender for president. I mean, come on.. .Clinton.. the bushes.. Obama.. they gotta be looking at him as total j.v.
  • News for Nerds? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:29PM (#45955361)

    Or is this just because Christie is a republican. 2016 is starting early around here.

    The democrat governor of MY state closed the DMVs in all the districts that voted in republican delegates. Didn't make the news at all. And now he's a U.S. Senator.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Sucks to be the perceived front runner, especially if you have the "R" after your name.

      • by Lendrick (314723)

        I know, right? You look all over the place for credible reports of Democrats being this shady, and all you get are unconfirmed internet comments about unnamed Democratic governors closing down DMVs, without a source or even the name of the state it supposedly happened in. Then the liberal media doesn't report it, for lame reasons like "it didn't really happen".

        Fairness in reporting demands that they report on Democratic scandals too. And if they can't find one, they need to make one up.

    • by Lendrick (314723)

      Seriously. The Liberal Media would never report on any wrongdoing by a Democratic Governor. Rachael Maddow broke this story with her liberal-y liberal liberalness, but where was she during the Blagojevich scandal in Illinois? Dead silent!

      Oh wait, no she wasn't [youtube.com].

  • It was a "traffic study".
  • If you believed for one moment that it was an actual traffic study, I have a closed bridge to sell you.

  • Your high falutin' traffic engineers don't give the Sopranos the contract to do traffic studies.

  • ``Eventually these models will get sophisticated enough to be able simulate "really odd driver behaviors"``

    Well that doesn't explain car pool lanes, where the lane next to the carpool lane is full of people who go slow on the theory you can illegally pass them on the left. If the model could account for that, there'd be a lot fewer of the things.

  • by gentryx (759438) * on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:50PM (#45955791) Homepage Journal
    For the curious: here is a link to Sumo [sumo-sim.org], which is a real, scientific traffic simulation software developed by the DLR in Germany.
  • Oh look (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:55PM (#45955865) Journal

    Another reason to talk about the "Bridgegate" scandal instead of, I dunno, real news like Obamacare, unemployment, our moribund economy, the ongoing blunders in foreign policy, NSA surveillance, etc.

    Please, let's talk about Chris Christie some more.

    • Re:Oh look (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:36PM (#45956515) Journal
      What the hell are you talking about? Every news outlet panned the roll out obamacare, Obama had a couple of press conferences, there are constant stories about obamacare all the time. Actually I wish they will talk more about Obamacare, because now the site has turned around, and actual beneficiaries are there to talk to. Some 10 million of them. 3 million age less than 26 sticking on to parents plans, 2.2 million private enrolees and some 4.2 million medicaid expansion. Imagine where it would be if it got bit of cooperation from the Republicans.

      Unemployment is a constant news story. It keeps coming up, most recently in the disappointing job numbers for Dec 2013. Moribund economy is another constant news item. NSA surveillance is a constant news item. Foreign policy, Syria, Israel, Egypt constantly in the news.

      Just come out of the echo chamber to realize how much Democrats have been trashed by the press.

    • WTF are you listening that isn't talking about any of those things. There's an NSA story here almost as often as as BitCoin story, I hear about Romneycare or unemployment every day. This is actually the first time I've heard the name "Chris Christie"...

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Also BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI amirite?

      At least have the honesty to admit you'd rather the conversation be about the bad things the Other Team are doing rather than what Your Team is doing wrong.

  • what about some high speed EZ-pass lanes there that may help a lot.

  • Here you have somebody indicating that they use simulations to determine if lanes should be closed. The root cause is that there doesn't have to be a reason for the various transportation departments to close roads or lanes. In this case we all know this was political retribution but how many of the incessant lane closures on bridges and highways are just because of incompetence? We've been dealing with an ARRA funded road project for the past 5 years and they close lanes, redirect traffic, block access

    • These "capacity whores" you're whining about wouldn't cause such negative impact if our highways were growing in pace with need over the last few decades. If you don't have any breathing room, doing anything is harder, but doing nothing is worse.

  • by no-body (127863) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:17PM (#45956217)
    Cristie would be even more toast than he is anyhow.
    Seems goons like that are attracted to offices he got in which brings to mind why perhaps the NSA gets it's way because they have so much stuff to smear anyone and use that as leverage to get to play their little boys power games.

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