Traffic Experiment

Traffic has been such a problematic phenomenon in this country, but there have been few steps to prevent it. I want to change that.

I have long been interested in a project to get rid of useless traffic buildup on a stretch of I-35 that causes all the traffic by Downtown Austin. I’ve had a proposal and demonstration ready for years, but never carried through with it. I’m not doing this as a money-making venture just yet, it’s just something that interests me. If it works, who knows what may follow.

A quick synopsis of the experiment:

Traffic is usually “stop and go” during rush hour, causing slowdowns, unnecessary gas usage and frustration. It generally looks something like:

The Solution:
As one car stops, the car behind it stops and so forth, creating a “Traffic Wave.” To “eat” this traffic wave, simply place a slower moving vehicle that leaves plenty of space in front of it in all lanes, much like large trucks do. This effectively regulates the speed of traffic and eliminates the “stop and go” action. It also allows time for the traffic wave to be eaten. The regulating cars should theoretically create smoothly flowing lines of traffic behind them.

I got permission to take a couple of pictures and observe I-35 from three adjacent buildings: The Marriott, the Austin Municipal Water Works building and The Crowne Plaza Hotel.

All three buildings had great views of I-35, but the Marriot and Crowne Plaza offered the best view of the particular sections that cause the most buildup:

The best part about this little trip was the free stuff. Both the Crowne Plaza and Marriott were hosting business events, so I walked in like I belonged, grabbed some free food and a bottle of Sprite and walked out. I had a free lunch that day.

You can view a more complete proposal at:
Credit must be given to William Beaty for research and animations. Original Work

I will further pursue this experiment in my spare time. I’ve already done the experiment with friends and IT WORKS. Now I have to videotape it in action and convince law makers to pass legislation on it.

On a more financial note,
I’ve started trying to build up my spending account for next week as it will be pretty expensive. I plan to do a lot of wining/dining, boating, 6th-Streeting, 4th-Streeting and traveling that weekend. I’ve gone into super-cheap mode in order to have sufficient funds available for the weekend.

Blog posted on: May 20, 2005

21 comments on “Traffic Experiment

  1. Cap

    lol on the free food. did the same for the LA mayoral debate when I was visiting the museum of tolerance. “Oh yes, it’ll be interesting to see what Jim Hanh has to say today..” *gobble gobble*

    as for the traffic experiment.. I’m not sure if it’ll work, but I get what you’re saying. although if you apply that to where I live (LA county area), there probably will be more shootings. heh.

    oh yeah, is the proposal page still in progress? cuz it seems to end just at “What is Needed”

  2. Anonymous

    To “eat” this traffic wave, simply place a slower moving vehicle that leaves plenty of space in front of it in all lanes, much like large trucks do. This effectively regulates the speed of traffic and eliminates the “stop and go” action.

    This sounds like hand-waving…also, adding more vehicles will only make matters work…think of what takes place during a bottleneck…plus, it’s not as “simple” as you’re trying to make it out to be…freeway traffic conditions are just as random as financial market conditions…otherwise, traffic jams would probably not exist.

    Traffic has been such a problematic phenomenon in this country, but there have been few steps to prevent it.

    I suggest you read the literature on traffic control. Engineers have tried using MANY sophisticated algorithms to attempt to reduce traffic jams. Some cities have used such methods. For example, Los Angeles has in place an extensive traffic management system (computerized even) with light-signals on freeway entry points. Nonetheless, LA has the worst traffic situation in the country.

  3. Anonymous

    Neville, which European countries are you talking about as having simple traffic solutions? I travel to Europe a lot and despite an excellent public transportation in most places (many of my friends have no need to own a car), I can assure you that traffic in Europe is equally as bad.

  4. Anonymous

    The concept “if we all go steady speed, we all get there faster” is not new but I have as yet to see someone being able to control driver personalities. Even correctly timed lights do not work. The only time it worked for me was late at night with few cars around. Good luck with your project but I remain skeptical about changing drivers’ habits.

  5. Anonymous

    There’s a professor at UT in the geography department who teaches an Urban Studies class and dedicates a lecture to traffic problems. The prof’s name is Davies and even though I was in the business school it was the BEST class I ever took at UT. If you can’t take his class, at least go talk to him during office hours. He’s definitely a unique guy and someone who can offer a wealth of knowledge about all types of urban issues.


  6. Neville

    Ok, obviously this is not the first round of opposition I’ve seen with this idea.

    Come ride in the car with me during rush hour, I’ll personally show you this works.

    Work has ONLY been done to control divers at entrances and exits, no one in the U.S. has attempted MOVING traffic regulation method. Those timed lights are crap.

    Also, this idea will not work well EVERYWHERE. This particular stretch of I-35 is congested, but not uber-congested like LA. If I could rid this ONE stretch of traffic on I-35, the entire freeway would flow smoother.

    The hardest part of all will be getting the laws changed to allow for this. But I’m NOT going to get permission when I perform the first real experiment. Too much red tape.


  7. The Angry Attorney


    Wouldn’t it be easier just to link to the actual site which proposes this experiment:

    As you can see from the “link” section of that page, from which you lifted this idea, a great deal of work has been done studying this phenomenon.

    Also, I noted in the comments section of that page that a similar technique is used in some European countries.

    Finally, I am opposed to your experiment for one simple reason: you are attempting to force more legislation upon the people. Good lord, do we really need any more laws, particularly regulating how we drive?

  8. Johnie

    Interesting. Just watch out for the Department of Homeland Security.
    1) Some minority asking about tall buildings overlooking a freeway
    2) Standing on the rooftops of said buildings
    3) Taking pictures of critical infrastructure

    Hey, maybe you can sell water at Gitmo. :-)

    Anyways, just half joking, but you read about these people getting picked up every now and then.

  9. Neville

    Angry Attorney,
    You really are one angry MoFo.

    GOOD POINT. One of the reasons I postponed this project was because I was picked up by security at a hotel a few years ago where I was taking pictures out the hallway windows.

    I wasn’t staying there and they escorted me out. No further investigation, but still scary.

    I now have learned to dress up really well when going there and carry my tablet with a quick presentation of the project ready to go.

    Plus, I AM Indian, but I am Parsi. Us Parsi’s are more Persian than Indian, so we are fairly light skinned. If I wore a turban and had a beard however, I feel I would not be so inclined to try this experiment out!

  10. Neville

    Dear Idiots,

    There is a clearly written statement that says, “Credit must be given to William Beaty for research and animations.”

  11. wannabe_ceo

    I propose battle-equipped cars a la RC/Pro Am for Nintendo. Last cars standing(driving) wins. Everyone else walks.

  12. Anonymous

    Seriously disappointing, Nev. The “angry attorney” is right. You ripped the experiment off. You only gave credit for the animation.

  13. Neville


    Are you retarded?

    Two comments before yours I had to reiterate my own post, highlighting the statement:

    “Credit must be given to William Beaty for research and animations.”


  14. Anonymous


    Why don’t you spend more time building an idea that can actually grow into a long-term business rather than focusing on all this petty crap? i.e. traffic, water, lottery “experiments” Is Enwon the answer?

  15. Neville


    I do have other larger projects I am involved with, unfortunately I am under legal obligation not to divulge any details.

    Therefore the only things described on my site are my personal adventures.

    If you have any more useful experiments you would like to see, then let me know.

    Also, Enwon is simply a legal representation of me, Neville Medhora. Anything I do is covered under the umbrella of Enwon Inc., meaning if I work a job, I am renting out the services of Neville Medhora. If I start a business owned by Enwon, it is basically a business started by me.

    Enwon is not neccessary, but I enjoy keeping it around.


  16. Anonymous

    To all the naysayers of this idea — did you read anything Nev has posted recently about how a good idea isn’t worth much, it’s following through with it that makes it successful?

    Personally I think it won’t work, and that the autorities would certainly never agree to try it out. Although the link back to the originaly work is there, it’s not displayed as prominently as maybe it should be (size:85% link, after the article…it belongs in the intro). The idea certainly comes off as being Nev’s, when it’s really not. Then again, he only cares about making money (following through), not taking credit for ideas.

    It would be great if this would work, but you really have to change the attitude of most americans (make them intelligent & think more than 10 seconds into the future when driving) to get it to work. The same people who are always on the brake or the gas (coasting seems to mystify 95% of drivers) would probably think odd-lot day-trading is a great idea too.

  17. Neville


    Thanks for the backup. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion if this will or will not work, but we will only find out by trying!

    I DID give credit to William Beaty who sparked this idea in the first place (and created the animations). In every proposal I have made, his name is the FIRST thing I mention.

    If this ever gets through to a trial phase, his name will still be mentioned.


  18. Alien Shaman

    Hey Nev,

    Check out this article:

    [WIRED] Danish traffic solution

    I like the unconventional thought, and it makes a lot of sense. Of course considering how litigious our society is someone would probably get in an accident and sue the Dept of Transportation to ensure their entitlement to a free ride courtesy of the honest class.


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