Road Traffic Regulation
Road Traffic Regulation
a system of organizational and technical measures designed to increase the speed and safety of traffic. The essence of road traffic regulation is to make certain actions obligatory, forbidden, or recommended for drivers of vehicles and for pedestrians in the interests of ensuring speed and safety.
In the USSR, traffic is regulated primarily by traffic lights, road signs, road markings, and the regulatory actions of employees of the State Motor Vehicle Inspectorate. Measures to regulate traffic are formulated by studying vehicular and pedestrian traffic on streets and roads and by analyzing the causes of road accidents. In the USSR, the Rules of Road Traffic—which establish speed limits; forbid or restrict passing, stopping, parking, turning, and the like; and establish one-way traffic—form the basis of traffic control.
The history of road traffic regulation begins with the appearance of the first semaphore-type device in London in 1868; the device was controlled by a system of driving belts and was later equipped with red and green gas lamps. The first electric traffic lights appeared in the United States in 1914. Traffic lights have been used in the USSR since 1924.
In the 1920’s, automatic devices were introduced in the United States to control traffic lights. These units operated on one or several schedules that took effect automatically at a set time, to adjust to changes in the intensity of traffic in the course of the day.
Efficient road traffic regulation usually involves developing one schedule for rush hours, another for the daytime period of light traffic, and a third for use at night. The most sophisticated systems have feedback and make changes in the duration of signals according to the intensity and density of traffic at intersections. These systems have detectors (sensors) to record passing vehicles, devices to analyze information coming from the detectors and then formulate commands for the traffic lights, and operating devices to switch the traffic light signals on and off. Regulation systems with feedback are becoming increasingly common. They are used to direct traffic at complex intersections with heavy traffic, regulate staggered traffic signals along major roads, and regulate traffic in a district or city.
Computers are used in large automated regulation systems and make it possible to increase traffic speed by approximately 20–25 percent and reduce accidents by 10–15 percent. In the USSR, the first pilot system using computers was introduced in Moscow in 1968 near Serpukhovskaia Gate. The experience acquired in operating this system aided in the development during the 1960’s of a citywide system of telautomatic transport regulation (called START), designed to regulate traffic lights at 1,000 Moscow intersections. In 1975, the first phase of an automated traffic regulation system (called the GOROD system) was launched in Alma-Ata.
Automated regulation systems control not only traffic lights but also road signs whose messages are changed automatically in response to a given traffic situation.
A promising development in traffic regulation involves a plan to redistribute traffic in a street grid according to degree of street use. Advances in technology are creating the basis for realization of this plan.
REFERENCERukovodstvo po regulirovaniiu dorozhnogo dvizheniia v gorodakh. Moscow, 1974.
V. V. LUK’IANOV