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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lane ends, 200 feet. Do you merge?

A fascinating essay on the ethics of merging from this weekend's NY Times Magazine.  Are you a rule-following "lineupper" or a "sidezoomer"?

Although the personal stories of anger and frustration are a treat themselves, the most interesting is the traffic theorists who note that a "zipper merge" at the point of lane closure is the most efficient outcome.  (And clever exits and re-entries are perfectly legitimate, as well). 

A year or two ago, I was traveling on I-35 and the traffic signage specifically asked motorists to use both lanes and to alternate entering the remaining lane.  Like the unified checkout at the retail store, it should only be a matter of time before we implement the zipper merge. 

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