Not often do I post here in the VC forum, but sometimes I think about other means of traffic control. Right now, people are working on cars that drive themselves, and GPS systems that will let drivers know when another vehicle is in proximity. Actually, Ford is working on a system that will use GPS and WiFi , to let vehicles communicate with each other.
I want the reader to think of Air Traffic Control for a minute. Except for Helicopters, aircraft do not stop in mid-air. I've always thought of a bicycle being like an airplane, because it is lightweight, and the Wright Brothers were Bicycle Mechanics. Motorists may think cars are better than bikes, because , if you're not paying attention, a bike can fall and hit the ground. But that's not a valid argument , because Airplanes will also fall and hit the ground, if the Pilot is not paying attention.
But today, I want to mention a few things about Railway Signals. You must be familiar with Traffic Lights, Red=STOP, Yellow=Caution, Green= GO. We know the DMV tests Drivers to make sure they know these signals , but what if lights had other aspects?
I will list a few from this site:
Instead of just stop, caution and go, (three), Railway Engineers, Train Drivers need to know a few more additional signals.
Here they are, from the Santa Fe Railway:
Stop and Proceed
Distant Signal Approach
Additionally, Union Pacific has a few more:
Diverging Clear Limited
Diverging Clear Slow
Diverging Approach Limited
Diverging Approach Slow
Forget about driving . Most drivers are challenged enough by the three different signals. If they had to learn Seventeen different signals, the DMV wouldn't be issuing as many drivers Licenses as they do today.
I would feel safer with Robots driving the cars, provided they use GPS and WiFi, and follow at least as many signal aspects as the railroads do.
Note: the railroads traditionally send electric currents through the rails, which are activated when the presence of a Train short-circuits the rails. GPS is capable of keeping track of cars, the way railroads keep track of trains. There are also CTC, or Centralized Traffic Control, and ATS, or Automatic Train Stop on some railroads.
Anyway, I think it's coming to a Future near you.
I kind of like the idea of testing drivers for all Seventeen signals, not just the Three that they can't even remember now. It would keep them off the roads.
I'll try to elaborate on these ideas more, in the coming weeks, as I follow this thread.
But now I welcome your input, please feel free to reply. Don't embarrass yourself by saying it will never happen, or I'll come up with a webpage or two showing it's already been done.