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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.

  • Re:duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:34PM (#45955471) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that the reasoning ability is low and the length of memory is short.

    The same conundrum can be seen in Florida's governor, Rick Scott. He presided over a company involved in what was to that time the biggest Medicare fraud in U.S. history. He was either incompetent or a full fledged criminal. And what happens... people in Florida made his governor.

    If people thought through things I would agree, but come vote type old Fat Farmer Joe is going to pull the lever marked "Republican Straight Ticket" because he bases all his votes on political stereotype or talking points. The fact that we have a malice vs incompetence conundrum is not going to matter to Farmer Joe because he's late for Hee-Haw.

  • by daremonai (859175) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:35PM (#45955495)
  • 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.

  • 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 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 [] 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 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 braeldiil (1349569) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:17PM (#45956207)
    And this is a perfect example of how, if you repeat your false story enough times, people will believe it. The IRS office in question flagged groups from all over the political spectrum to determine if they were engaging in political activities that would prevent them from being tax exempt charities. Yes, they used "Tea Party" as a flag for further investigation, but they also used "Occupy". They were attempting to enforce the law passed by Congress, albeit in a very bad, possibly illegal way. For the record, they started these investigations after specific requests from Congress to make sure these nonprofits weren't breaking the law. But the House very carefully tailored their requests to make it appear that only conservative groups were targeted, and attempted to supress testimony that demonstrated groups from all over the spectrum were affected. Once the full testimony transcripts were released, the press realized there wasn't really much of a story and mostly dropped it. But low-information voters like you never bothered to follow the story to its end.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:19PM (#45956249) Homepage Journal

    And notably, every single conservative political group eventually got their tax exempt status, even before the "scandal" broke, while at least a few liberal groups got denied, in the end.

    I think we can all dream of a world where all those groups got denied the ability to influence our elections while not paying taxes, but no luck yet.

  • Re:duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by andydread (758754) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:31PM (#45956431)
    Except in the IRS scandal the IRS wasn't only targeting conservative groups like the talk-radio circuit would have you believe. They were equally targeting liberal groups filing tax exempt status while going about with political activites. In other words Fox and talk-radio friends left off the important fact that they were targeting all political activists both liberal and conservative that were filing for 501C4 status and then doing political activism. Apparently that is against the law.
  • Re: News for Nerds? (Score:5, Informative)

    by babydog (3443655) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:38PM (#45956549)
    As the linked-to article indicates, because most districts in VA were Republican, any DMV closings made on the basis of cost and number of customers served had to affect Republicans. For what it's worth, my local non-Republican-serving Arlington DMV office was also closed, and Arlington customers had to go stand in the massive line in Tysons. (I think the story was: immigrants could acquire a VA drivers license without proof of legal residency relatively easily up until a certain point after 9/11. The Tysons office was swamped until that and other things changed.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @05:20PM (#45957143)

    Actually, liberal and conservative groups were treated differently. Liberal groups could be approved at field offices, while conservative groups were to be sent to group 7822 in DC for further screening. Once there, they were held for years until the election was safely over. There is substantial statistical evidence that this affected the result of the 2012 election (turnout was particularly low among the Tea Party demographic--low enough to swing results in several key states). There is also video evidence (in the form of anti-Citizens United diatribes) that the President was likely to be OK with it. Finally, this scandal and the related scandal of the disclosure by the IRS of confidential donor lists, are being investigated by an Obama donor. And no charges will be brought. And nobody lost their job.

  • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @05:43PM (#45957463)

    That being said, can you provide links for your version of this information?

    Here. []

    ...and here. []

    ...and here. []

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce