Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ITE Recommended Practice on Yellow & Red Intervals

I am reviewing the new guidance proposed by ITE tonight. It's the night job to accompany my day position at the City.
It is clear to me that the engineering profession needs to move beyond a one size fits all approach to so much of the work we do. Whether it be signal pole foundations that anticipate (erroneously) freeway sized signs would be included on a City street, vehicle delay (as level of service) to determine whether an intersection is sufficient, or assumed speeds for clearance intervals that presume that motorists will travel at 7 mph above the speed limit, and 30 mph while making a left turn (in the presence of pedestrians).

It has also occurred to me that this may be one of the aspects that is holding engineers back in the transportation profession. Our lack of context for our design standards and unwillingness to find an appropriate solution when presented with either a lack of funds or a unique challenge makes us seem like an obstacle, which in some cases may be appropriate. My message is we need to learn to pick our battles carefully and find a compromise based on the goals of the community.
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