Are we gridlocked yet?


Interviews usually revolve around the map of Baton Rouge

Traffic on a Tie - Choke-hold

Traffic on a Tie – Choke-hold

Are we gridlocked yet? The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team met on Sunday for the first time and began to discuss the plan of attack for our transportation project. The next day we had a kick-off meeting with the Mayor and key stakeholders, after which we began our interviews with some of the key stakeholders. Traffic being such a big issue in Baton Rouge means that there are many stakeholders and unfortunately we will not be able to meet with all of them. On Monday AM, we all left in a van expecting to be caught in bad traffic only to sail from our lodging to the city offices. We arrived to a large conference room with amazing views of the Mississippi river and Interstate 10 (one of the major choke-holds in Baton Rouge). We did finally see traffic backing up on Interstate 10 that afternoon but we are still looking forward to our “gridlock” tour that we are planning for later in the week. I never imagined that I would actively look for traffic jams as part of my job.

The team is very thankful to all the stakeholders we have interviewed about the cause of the traffic problems, the obstacles to addressing them and learning about their priorities. We have gotten varied answers but have learned a lot from all of them. We have also taken every opportunity to interact with Baton Rouge citizens and ask them their opinion of traffic. Everyone has been so gracious and, of course, has an opinion on the topic. Look for us in your next traffic jam – you never know! Thank you Baton Rouge for being so hospitable to us everywhere we go. What are your thoughts on the traffic issue?



Filed under Baton Rouge LA - USA

3 responses to “Are we gridlocked yet?

  1. Love the tie 🙂 Great to see the Baton Rouge transportation division are living and breathing traffic. Very cool.

  2. Lewis Doherty

    People use the term “gridlocked” which originated in other cities, but the truth of the matter is that if Baton Rouge had a grid system of roads, our traffic wouldn’t be “locked.” The major problem is the disconnection of the street system in a maze of cul-de-sacs creating far longer distances and choke points with Ninety-five percent of the streets way below their traffic capacity and the remaining 5 percent of the street system attempting to move traffic well beyond their capacity.
    There is a mistaken belief that cul-de-sacs calm the traffic in an area and reduce crime. It actually has the opposite effect, which I would go into detail elsewhere. Because of these beliefs, people want more of the cul-de-sac mazes, adding to the problem In fact, the “cure” is the cause of the disease creating a self-reinforcing spiral of dysfunction.
    But, even with the plaugacy of the ones built, there are mechanisms that would allow modifications and encourage implementation of those modifications. The understanding of the situation and solutions are counterintuitive to the much of the population and outside the comfort zones of those who have currently presided over this situation.
    Even if solutions cannot be implemented for Baton Rouge due to the same political, bureaucratic, legal and interests that generated what we have, other cities could benefit.