Amazing Incomprehensible and Intersections Traffic Jams

Friday, October 16, 2009

Modern drivers are understandably confounded and rightfully annoyed, when faced with such traffic-routing masterpieces as these: (see the whole list of them in Wikipedia here).
Tom Moreland Interchange, intersection of Interstate 85 and Interstate 285, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The Central Motorway Junction - New Zealand State Highways 1 and 16, Auckland, New Zealand.

They are called the "Malfunction Junctions", or "Spaghetti Intersections", and they are located almost in every major city in the West. You can find the streets that end nowhere, streets that strangely allow traffic in both direction (without providing proper lanes), streets that change names more often than a communist Cold War spies.

Wonders of image manipulation:

According to the Russian auto forums, this is not a unique occasion. Perhaps one day they will discover a junction so confusing and bizarre that it will curl upon itself in the fourth dimension and come out say... in Israel.

However in Israel some intersections are just as interesting... (not for the faint-hearted! Check your electronic medical record - with EMR software - just in case)

For example, here is how you make a turn at Nesharim to Highway 6:
Going West:
These directions are helpfully provided on the official Highway 6 web page. But if you are an "experienced driver" and never ask for directions, you may be out of luck :)
They should pay you to enter these interchanges

There is a difference between "going mental" and making mental calculations how to get out of this traffic mess... at least we hope there is.

The complexity of modern interchanges can be daunting (for some aerial shots of most convoluted ones head over to our previous article). Here is an exaggerated vision of what the future may look like:

And this is present day in Japan (does that make your heart beat faster?)
But here are a few more that definitely ask to be included into the
"Most Complex Junctions" Hall of Fame:

- Shanghai, China
(see that little circle on the side: this is a trap for amateur drivers, in which they swirl around forever)
Taganskaya Square, Moscow
(shaped like a huge dumb loaf of bread... and just as unpalatable)
Tokyo, Japan
(this one's actually quite elegant)
- Arc de Triumph, Paris
(Place Charles de Gaulle - pretty much free-for-all there)
Nice Chicago arrangements:

You also gotta love this one in Minneapolis:
(between 35W and 94)
Golden Glades interchange in N. Miami Beach, FL.
Looking like some strands of yarn: Rt. 440 in New Jersey:

Magic Roundabout

Something to shock you into disbelief, and leave you utterly shattered: getting in and out of the "magic mushroom circle" in England:

There are three intersections like this in UK: in Swindon, Hemel and in Cardiff. See exactly how it works here and here.

A cheat sheet "how to get out" is more helpful:
China is at the forefront of traffic circles (and spiral bridge approaches), as well:

Some vintage visions of intersections

Little did the urban planners of yesteryear and futurist designers imagined how complex our traffic infra-structure would become. The closest perhaps was the "Futurama" display in the 30s:
Looks actually quite orderly:
Railway intersections: "Diamond Crossings"

Quite a few of them can be found in US, but not that many in the rest of the world. US railway companies liked this kind of intersection which does not allow a train switch to a rival company's tracks.
Here is a couple: in Poland and Russia:

Traffic Jams from Hell

What a better way to greet Monday than to publish a collection of horrendous traffic congestion pictures, which may cause even most patient driver to shudder and say "Boy, am I glad I'm not in this mess right now".

First picture is taken from the window of Red Hat's offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, followed by various location around the world, with Russia featured quite prominently -

Unregulated mess somewhere in Russia:
Here is the classic traffic jam that terrorized Moscow Sadovoye Koltzo (ring road) in October 2007:

Continuing well into the night:
This particular congestion is not actually a traffic jam. It happened in Italy during the strike, creating bottle-necks for trucks at the border:
(still very hairy situations with long waits involved) -

Jacek Yerka's unique solution to urban traffic problems, in surreal light:


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