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Encyclopedia > Gridlock

Gridlock is a term describing an inability to move on a transport network. Coined by transportation engineer and consultant Sam Schwartz, the term originates from a situation possible in a grid network where intersections are blocked, prohibiting vehicles from moving through the intersection, backing up to an upstream intersection. This is illustrated below on a network of one-way streets (the red cars are those causing the gridlock by stopping in the middle of the intersection). A wide variety of systems of interconnected components are called networks. ...

Image:Gridlock.png Image File history File links Gridlock. ...

Most jurisdictions have legislation prohibiting drivers from entering an intersection if they cannot clear it before the traffic light turns red. If drivers follow this rule of the road, gridlock will be prevented and traffic will only be slow in the direction that is actually congested. Traffic lights can have several additional lights for filter turns or bus lanes. ... This article concerns rules of the road regarding land vehicles; for sea-going vehicles, see International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. ... Traffic jams are common in heavily populated areas. ...

Reasons for the Problem

Gridlock, like many longstanding traffic problems, reflects that certain drivers who have an economic stake in getting to their destinations as quickly as possible, in a weak enforcement setting, are willing to subject other drivers to delays in order to attempt to secure a time-benefit for themselves, even if this is only illusory. The paradoxical aspect of this is, by contributing to the gridlock problem, these drivers, en masse, actually slow everyone down.

Because of the schedule/money aspects of the problem, common gridlock violators in many urban areas in the United States are taxicabs and buses; buses run on a schedule and drivers sometimes cut corners on traffic rules to attempt to make their stops, taxicabs participating in causing gridlock may represent more of a psychological problem; many taxi drivers work twelve hour shifts driving through cities, and know firsthand how common gridlock is. Faced with these conditions, the average taxi driver is likely to eventually become inured to gridlock, and therefore see nothing wrong with participating in it.

Similar motivations may be behind the failure of many bicycle messengers and/or delivery riders in urban areas, particularly in New York City, to obey traffic signals or even the direction of traffic on streets; complying with the law would cost them more time, so they cut corners, risking their own lives as well as those of others in the process.

A famous example is Domino's Pizza's now defunct "30 minutes or less" delivery guarantee, which resulted in several lawsuits over accidents alleged to be caused by reckless driving motivated by the policy.

External links

  • Information on Domino's Pizza's former "30 minutes or less" guarantee

  Results from FactBites:
Gridlock-K2 1.0 at hyalineskies (2034 words)
While Caner wrote most of the CSS to port Gridlock’s primary creative feel to the K2 templating system, I stood by and acted as a creative director on the project, putting all of the finishing touches on site typography and colour.
Gridlock’s left-aligned layout has been ditched for a centred one; sIFR has been abandoned to make Gridlock an almost CSS-only style for K2.
For those who are trying to replace the Gridlock K2 header, I have done it by changing the Gridlock.css a bit.
  More results at FactBites »



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