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Traffic Lights Around Forestdale

If you would like to write directly to me about this my email address is:

The issue

On Johnson rd Forestdale at peak periods there are major traffic jams. Some organisations and people are saying the problem is a lack of capacity on Johnson rd. My contention is that it is not a lack of capacity but a problem with the traffic lights and that the Motorway is tolled.

Also it has been proven that increasing capacity will not work

A specific instance

At about 8 a.m on 29/8/2013 the traffic on Johnson rd was banked back from the corner of Paradise Rd East to Beaudesert rd and continued to be backed up south along Anzac Av Hillcrest to Blackwell St, a distance of just under 5 kms. This also caused a traffic bank up in Peverell St Hillcrest from Johnson rd South to the bend before Lollard St, a further distance of just under another kilometer. As can be seen in this map. Purple line, traffic bank up Johnston rd and Anzac Ave. Blue line Peverell St Hillcrest.

A Photo of the traffic bank up in Johnston Rd

A photo of the traffic bank up in Peverell St Hillcrest

There was no traffic accidents at that time.

The Logan Motorway at about the same time

The problem is not about capacity as their was plenty of capacity on the Logan Motorway at the time

What has been tried

As I felt this was being caused by the traffic lights on Johnston Rd at Paradise Rd and Forestdale Drive I made inquiries, prior to the above incident, as to who controlled those lights. On 14/5/13 I spoke to Adrian Gibbons of Brisbane City Council (BCC) who informed me that BCC controlled the lights at Paradise Rd but Queensland Mains Roads controlled the lights at Forestdale Drive and each of these organisations had different computer systems. However he felt they could work together to possibly synchronize the two sets of lights

He said he would make adjustments to the lights he controlled (Paradise Rd)

For a short period the problem seem to be reduced.

The situation as it stands now

Because of the above incident I made further inquiries on 29/8/2013.

Whilst I spoke to Dennis Floyd of Brisbane Main roads about traffic light at other intersections, he informed me that The Gold Coast Division of Mains roads controlled the lights at Forestdale. He gave me a contact their. I was not able to speak to that contact but I did report other traffic light issues to a person call Bree. She informed me that because her maps did not extend to Johnston rd that Mains Road Gold Coast did not control the lights at Forestdale Drive.

I then rang Logan City Council and the person their informed me that BCC controlled the lights at Forestdale Drive. Even though I appeared to be going around in circles I tried to contact Adrian Gibbons of BCC. He was not in but I spoke to Con Kalos. He checked his record and said that as their was no record of them controlling the lights at Forestdale Drive he assumed they controlled by Mains Roads.

He said he would speak to someone me knows at Mains roads to see if he could get the two set of lights synchronized.

The Bigger Picture

As I said in the introduction the blame on these traffic jams is being portrayed on a lack of capacity of Johnson rd. As can be seen above, bureaucracy is also part of the problem.

Without asking those that drive west in the morning peak, where they are going, it is difficult to establish why they are using Johnston Rd rather than the Motorway. However as there is no exit off the Motorway to the east end of industrial estate in Carol Park and their is a Toll on the Motorway, these drives would not want to pay a toll to take them past where they may want to go. Or it may just be the cost of the toll.

Whilst taking to these people responsible for controlling the traffic lights it appears that there standards for setting light sequences is causing the traffic jams. This is evidenced in the observable fact that the traffic jam queues on the major roads are much longer than the queues on minor roads. Even though they say otherwise, their traffic performance indicators, are give a low priority to removing traffic jams.

A question that has not been answered

The natural flow of supposed progress and what has been espoused indicated that Johnson rd is to be widened to 4 lanes. But the cost of this, including the cost of having to put up with the consequences of a 4 lane road, have not been disclosed. What if that cost is more than the cost of removing the toll on the Motorway.

I feel that this question should be answered before any attempt is made to upgrade Johnston rd.

The success of the past can be repeated

A number of years ago the Forestdale people fought against the converting of Glider Forest into a 24 Hour Rail Yard and won the battle. We can do something similar again. This time show that we can remove the traffic problems on Johnson Rd without increasing the number of lanes.

Other Nearby Traffic Problems

Beaudesert Rd

Beaudesert road is stop start in the morning and evening peaks from Calamvale Road to Browns Plains. This situation has persisted for a number of years. Anyone sitting in this stop start traffic can observe that a for relatively large amount of time, there is no, or very little traffic, crossing at the side street lights. This is an indicator that the lights sequencing is causing the traffic stop start situation. Although I have reported this to Mains roads numerous times their only solution is to slightly increase to time give to Beaudesert Rd. They say, because of their standards, they can not reduce the time given to the side roads. Perhaps their standards need to be revised. They also seem to be very reluctant to further increase the time given to Beaudesert Rd.

Wembley Rd and the Logan Motorway

This is a another situation where because of small minor side streets, Macquarie Way, Anderson St, getting disproportionate amount of green light time it causes a more major road, Wembley Rd to have very long stop start queues. I appreciate that the situation is more difficult because of the entrance, exit to the Logan Motorway however considering that the stop start problem does not continue on the southeast side of Wembley Rd, this indicates that the problem is with that intersection light sequencing. But the solution of Mains roads was to put red quick changing stop light at the roundabout. This did nothing to solve the problem and if anything exacerbated it.

Wembley Rd and Third Avenue Logan Central.

This is a new set of traffic lights that proves that it is light sequences that are causing traffic jams. Prior to theses lights being their, traffic flowed freely despite that there was new road construction taking place. Within a few days of the lights being switched on their was traffic banked back halfway to the Logan Motorway.

The current solutions don't work

Although blame on these traffic jams is being portrayed on a lack of capacity it has been proven that adding capacity by increasing the number of lanes does not solve the problem, as when extra lanes are added inevitably more traffic light are added so increasing trip times.

The saying “Build it and they will come” is very true with roads. The more and wider the road become the more people use them. Additionally on 4 plus lane roads the cars tend to spread out more.

Apparently is called “induced traffic”

See also


Better Solutions

Rather than increasing capacity by adding more lanes or more roads there are other ways to increase capacity or better utilize the present capacity. But a even better solution is to reduce demand.

Reduce Demand

Reduce the number of people traveling to work

The highest demand is at peak times and the main reason that people travel at peak times is to go to work and back. Quite a lot of work is administrative and done on a computer. Because of modern communications methods it is possible to do work on the work computer from your home computer. It is also possible to have many people get together and talk and see one another via computer links and at the same time being able to see what is on each others computer screen. This is established and proven technology. However many people and managers are reluctance to use it because the status quo has been to travel to a workplace to work. Yet is a way of dramatically reducing the demand on the road system at peak times.

Spreading out the peak

Not everyone works via computers. But of those that don't, not all those people have to start at nine in the morning and finish at five in the afternoon, Monday to Friday. Work is meant to be coming more flexible yet working times tend to be regimented by employers because that is the way it has alway always been done with very little thought as to why they are, the working hours. If employers did allow flexible working hours and days it could be of benefit to both employers and employees but would have the extra benefit of spreading out the traffic peak times and better utilizing the existing road capacity.

Not enough people in each car

The greatest under utilization of the road system capacity would have to be the under utilization of the carrying capacity of each car. When traveling at peak times it can be seen that although the average car has a capacity of 4 people the vast majority of cars do not have 4 people in them. Most likely the same reason people do not want to have other people in their car, with then, is the same reason many people do not like public transport. Because they want their own private space. As we already have freeways and major road that you can only drive in certain lanes if you have 2 or more people in the car perhaps it has reached to point where at certain peak times to drive on all major roads there must be at least 2 people in the car. This could dramatically reduce the number of cars on major roads.

Increasing the Capacity without building more lanes or roads

There are safety issues associated with these following methods

Increase the speed limit

The capacity of a piece of road in terms of the number of cars it can carry at any duration of time is, other than a number of other factors, is dependent on the speed the cars are traveling on that road. The length of time a car traveling on a certain length of road is dependent on the speed that car is traveling. The faster the cars travel the greater capacity the road has simple because cars will leave the road sooner so allowing more cars to enter the road. All other factors being equal, if the speed limit is increased and cars travel at that increased speed there will be less traffic jams. I appreciate that there are safety issues involved

Reducing the space between each car

The main reason that a certain space is required between each car is because it reduces the risk of nose to tail accidents. A certain amount of that space is to take into account driver inattentiveness. In a perfect system where every driver was intently watching the car in front of them, the distance associated with that inattentiveness could be removed and so increase the road capacity and reduce traffic congestion. Unfortunately the system is not perfect because people are involved. But a system does exist that eliminates the people factor. Trains have carriages that a coupled directly together, so why not couple cars? It is a design problem. Cars are not designed to couple with other cars and then there's the problem of coupling and uncoupling. However with modern computer technology cars could be made to virtually couple and uncouple so that their is next to no space between each car. Something for the future.

But in the meantime when traffic is stopped at traffic lights if each car was closer than they are at present the length of the queue would be much shorter which is making you closer to your destination.

Others Solutions for traffic congestion

Public Transport

A great way to remove traffic jams is for people to use public transport rather than private transport. Their are all sorts of political and vested interests associated with this. My intention in writing all this, is just to point out their are other viable solutions without resorting to public transport.

trafic_lights_around_forestdale.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/01 11:45 (external edit)