Good morning!

I went by ACTrafficEngr on EngTIps, but decided a fresh start would be good.

I’m not much for alcohol, but considering it’s 9 AM my time, a nice cuppa would be appreciated. It would help my ruminations on what a traffic engineer should know.

Tea… the drink of sweet little old ladies and RAF pilot officers? Just joking, I start my morning out with half a pot of coffee. Teatotaller or not… welcome, and have a good visit… and bring a drinking buddy. I couldn’t; I don’t have any. My Grade 10 homeroom teacher referred to me as the ‘Curmudgeon’.


Welcome to the neighbourhood.

Mr. Rogers?


dik, my uncle, who was one of Montgomery’s Desert Rats, drank tea. If it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me!

Thanks, SparWeb!

Our old neighbour and my hunting buddy was with the Luftwaffe and my dad was with the RCAF… I was concerned about them getting together. They hit it off like ancient comrades. Same with my programmer buddy’s dad… he was with Rommel… again, same thing. It surprised me.


Ok Zed - let me pick your brain for a minute. Totally off subject but that’s how we roll.

If you were to suggest a traffic engineering topic for a group of 3 freshmen to present to their Intro to Engineering class, max 10 minutes, what would you suggest?

I’m going to ask the general population on here as well to look over the general list but I also wanted to specifically ask about transportation.

cheers! SLTA

Can I take a crack at your request?

In a time where every auto maker is cramming sensors into cars to make them navigate autonomously, what about using cameras and sensors at intersections to automatically detect pedestrians, managing auto traffic accordingly.

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SLTA, I don’t have the time at the moment to give this the consideration it deserves, but IMHO, most engineers need more education in human factors.

It’s a truism in my field that 85% of crashes are caused by a road user (driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, sheep herder, etc.). But depending on who you ask, as much as 50% of crashes have a contributing factor related to the road. Yes, that’s over 100%. Most crashes have multiple factors. Often, the road design contributes to driver error, or doesn’t allow recovery from an error.

And you’ll find that pretty much across the board. Many engineering catastrophes are a combination of design errors compounding and compounded by user errors.

I don’t recall the particulars, but the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island was compounded by two control system design errors: a control was across the room from the corresponding gauge, so it was difficult to monitor the effects of their inputs, and a valve control indicator light showed the control position, not the valve position. The reactor operators saw that the light was off and assumed the valve was shut when it was stuck open and releasing coolant.

So, basically, any engineer that designs anything that will be used by anyone should have some background in user psychology and ergonomics, even if it’s just reading Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things.


Thanks very much, SparWeb and Zed!