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Tags election conspiracies , traffic lights

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Old 30th June 2008, 07:50 AM   #1
Naughtyhippo
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Traffic and elections

My husband is convinced that, in the run-up to a general election, traffic lights are sequenced as to make it easier to drive through town*. This then makes it look like the guys in power have done something good about traffic and thus make people vote for them.

I was under the impression that traffic lights are sequenced to either be in or out of phase depending on the time of day; and therefore amount of traffic, to ease congestion.

This theory is silly, isn't it? The opposition would complain about it, surely? Given the amount of people involved, there's no way the opposition wouldn't find evidence, if it were true? Is this worth trying to get to the bottom of this?

*after a period of delibrately making traffic worse.
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Old 30th June 2008, 09:32 AM   #2
Evilgiraffe
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Sounds like a classic case of confirmation bias.

Your husband has formulated this hypothesis and thus pays special attention to the occasions he get a clear run through traffic lights around election time, effectively ignoring those times he gets stuck.

The only way to be sure is for him to take a stopwatch on every journey, time the length of every stop-light and then perform some really tedious statistic analysis to determine whether there is anything to get excited about.
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Old 30th June 2008, 02:39 PM   #3
steve s
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Let's see.....

1)An endless war in Iraq.
2)Gas at $4 a gallon.
3)The home mortgage crisis.
4)The weak American dollar.

Yep. Traffic lights are my biggest concern and that's what I'll be basing my vote on.

Steve S.
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Old 30th June 2008, 03:00 PM   #4
defaultdotxbe
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Originally Posted by steve s View Post
Let's see.....

1)An endless war in Iraq.
2)Gas at $4 a gallon.
3)The home mortgage crisis.
4)The weak American dollar.

Yep. Traffic lights are my biggest concern and that's what I'll be basing my vote on.

Steve S.
id like to say this is mainly referring to local politics, i dont think the guys in washington have much pull when it comes to traffic light timing in my town
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Old 1st July 2008, 09:07 AM   #5
AvarianParakeet
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It actually might have a grain of truth. Most places tend to clean up their act to remind voters of the things they did. It wouldn't be crazy to have an engineer re-synch the lights close to an election. Not really a conspiracy theory since the lights are usually bad enough without intentional interference and I don't think they're willing to go to such lengths to win local elections.
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Old 1st July 2008, 07:52 PM   #6
Alareth
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Originally Posted by defaultdotxbe View Post
id like to say this is mainly referring to local politics, i dont think the guys in washington have much pull when it comes to traffic light timing in my town

No, no matter how innocuous it may seem, it's all part of the Impossibly Vast Conspiracy.
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Old 3rd July 2008, 02:12 AM   #7
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I guess the possibility of it happening varies from place to place. It wouldn't happen here. Here the elected councillors actually have virtually nothing to do with the daily operation of the Council, which is a corporate entity in its own right.

So if, for example, a concerned councillor demanded that they fix light phasing, this demand would have exactly the same weight as if John Thompson from Fairhill Drive made the demand. Fixing faulty phases (such as short phasing) would be done through a work order issued to a contractor, and altering the actual phasing would require the in depth assessment of Traffic Safety Engineers and comprehensive testing of new phasings.

Our lights operate on the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) which uses cameras and sensors to determine traffic levels and adjust light phases in accordance with real time traffic behaviour.

Finally, having worked in the traffic department of our local council, I can say from experience that it takes three months of real time testing of the light phasing circuit using a virtual computer simulator at the SCATS home in Sydney before the phasing program is legally allowed to be installed in an actual intersection. As such the phasing is not something that can just be changed on a whim.
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Old 6th July 2008, 05:14 AM   #8
maxfrost
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You must love your husband very much.
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Old 6th July 2008, 08:30 AM   #9
Naughtyhippo
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Originally Posted by maxfrost View Post
You must love your husband very much.
Well, yes. Also, he's generally pretty good about these things; he just has this pet theory. I myself keep veering to the brink of believing that whiskers have put something addictive in thir catfood - I have to remember that they're under regulation etc. Although there is that thing with the killer chinese petfood...
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Old 6th July 2008, 08:41 PM   #10
defaultdotxbe
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Originally Posted by Naughtyhippo View Post
I myself keep veering to the brink of believing that whiskers have put something addictive in thir catfood
you mean you didnt freebase the tuna flavor when you were in high school? i thought everyone knew about that...
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Old 9th July 2008, 12:11 AM   #11
Travis
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Originally Posted by defaultdotxbe View Post
you mean you didnt freebase the tuna flavor when you were in high school? i thought everyone knew about that...
My attempts to freebase tuna in high school mostly led to restraining orders.
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