By the time of the 2020 Census, traffic on the U.S. 101 and 110 freeways in Los Angeles had increased by more than two-thirds since 2000, according to the American Automobile Association.
But the state’s highways still lack many of the features you might expect of an autobahn, such as traffic signals and lanes.
In some areas, drivers are forced to squeeze through narrow gaps in traffic.
As a result, traffic congestion is a daily occurrence on most freeways.
On Interstate 5 in Sacramento, for example, there are about 30,000 vehicles on a stretch of highway that is normally busy, and drivers are required to squeeze into narrow lanes to get to the rest of the freeway.
“You are getting into the middle of the road, where you have a lane that has a width of two feet, and a width that is more than one foot,” says Anthony Gomes, a traffic engineer with the California Department of Transportation.
“So, you are essentially just driving into a two-foot gap.
It’s a very frustrating situation for drivers.”
The state of California’s Interstate 5 freeway network is divided into four lanes.
The northbound lane is usually the busiest, but on some days the northbound lanes are filled with more cars.
The southbound lane, which is typically the busiest in the day, is also a particularly frustrating place to be for drivers because of the high volume of traffic.
“It’s really not a very pleasant experience,” says John Lefkowitz, a San Diego traffic engineer who also works with the LA Department of Water and Power.
“There are a lot of people trying to get through this area, so if there’s one person in the lane, they’re not going to be able to keep up.
There’s no way to get around that.”
As the highway is only divided into two lanes, there’s little room for cars to squeeze past each other.
Lefkewitz and others are trying to figure out ways to create space for cars in the middle lane to pass through, and that’s part of a $50 million effort to create lanes that are designed for vehicles, including pedestrians.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been using cameras on its freeway to keep tabs on traffic.
In November, Lefkesons team installed the cameras on one lane in front of a traffic light, where the driver can see the car that’s coming from behind.
Lefezowitz says that’s a good solution, but there’s a problem.
When the cameras are activated, they send an electronic signal to the vehicle behind that has the right-of-way.
This gives the driver an idea of where the vehicle is going, and it also gives the Lefezos the chance to stop in front and give the driver a chance to negotiate.
Lofkesons group is working on the next generation of cameras, but he says he’s worried about the effect of a “laser” device on the driver’s eyesight.
“A laser, you can tell, would be extremely visible to the human eye, and I don’t think we can make that happen,” Lefeysons said.
“And so, the solution I’m working on is to design a system that is not as visible to a human eye.”
The Lefezes have also been testing a device called a “glance” system that allows drivers to use a virtual display to check the speed of vehicles.
When a driver is looking at a vehicle, the screen tells the driver if there is an obstruction on the left or right of the vehicle, and the driver is also able to see if there are signs or traffic lights.
“This is the first system that will be a real driver-driven system,” Lefskees says.
“We have a couple of prototypes that we’re working on, but we have to figure it out.”