Return to Automated Traffic Control System (idea)

While reading a website about the psychology of drivers and the dynamics of traffic in general, I came upon an idea: an automated freeway system.

Before leaving on a trip, drivers will enter their starting location and ending location into a small console in their vehicle. When the vehicle enters the freeway, a central control system takes control of all major vehicle functions (steering, acceleration, deceleration, turning, etc.) and reads the destination info from the vehicle. The vehicle is assigned a unique ID. Now, depending on the length of the trip desired, the car will moved to a designated lane. The longer the trip, the farther left the car is placed. Now, all vehicles on the freeway are under automatic control, so no single driver can decide to go faster or slower than anyone else, no one can cut in and out of traffic. Collision detection routines are worked into the code to prevent accidents, and traffic is sped up or slowed down depending on volume, but everyone moves at a steady pace. Also, an extra lane could be installed specifically for emergency vehicles.

Now, manual control would be restored to the driver when they leave the highway. Audible alarms could begin sounding at 5 miles from the desired exit to notify the driver that sie will soon be in control again and to prepare. All traffic not on the highway system would be under manual control, so people don't lose their right to own and operate their own car. I would love to be able to read all the way to work.

I wanted to post this here so people could add ideas, offer constructive criticism, etc. Please, if you are just going to say "That's a stupid idea", don't bother posting. Offer a solution. I came up with this idea to try and reduce the number of traffic fatalities and traffic jams. I wanted the system to be anonymous (randomly generated unique ID for every car every time they enter the highway) so that the system could not be used to track movements, spy, etc. Yes, you could still follow someone, but that is always an issue. I realize how large a project this would be, but I'm an idealist at heart, trying to make wild ideas fit to actual situations.

The way I see it, the freeway traffic situation is not going to get any better anytime soon. People are not going to spontaniously be nicer to their fellow man, let people merge in front of them, and leave plenty of space between them and the guy in front of them. Also, I don't see this country (US) going to manditory mass transit anytime soon because people love their cars. Owning your own vehicle is a sign of independence, which Americans prize.

Existing:


Non-Existing: