The Ballards - Good Ideas


I keep thinking up brilliant ideas.
Or at least thinking of brilliant ideas someone else should think of.
See if you can get on and invent one of these for the good of mankind......

Switchable Give Way on traffic lights
Have you ever sat at traffic lights on red and wondered why they're red when there's no traffic coming the other way?
Have you ever been tempted to just, well, go anyway?
What a waste of time.
Traffic lights make inefficient use of a junction because:
- By necessity they have a dwell time between phases, so the entire roadspace remains unused for a significant percentage of the cycle time
- They force all the traffic to stop, introducing a delay when restarting (especially with older drivers...)
Most traffic-lights are rush-hour optimised and for the other 20 hours per day are a complete waste of time.
A small addition to the Highway code and the traffic-light processors would add a non-rush-hour option to all traffic-lights.

Flashing red and amber means you must Give Way.

It's as simple as that.

So, for example, on roundabout traffc-lights you alternate between 30 seconds of green and 30 seconds of flashing red and amber. When it's green you can go, when it's flashing red you Give Way (i.e. stop if someone's coming the other way, go if the road is clear).
The vast majority of roundabout traffic lights are useful for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening; the remainder of the time they just force people to sit and wait when there's nothing coming the other way.
This way the road space would be used most efficiently. No dwell time between phases, fewer traffic stops and less congestion.
No one will do it because (and here's the dirty little secret) the Government loves congestion: it allows a complacent "cars Bad, buses/trains Good" attitude that, coupled with petrol tax being seen as a "Sin Tax", reinforces the idea that motoring is somehow wrong and that we should be happy with the (frankly second-rate, expensive and badly-maintained) road system that we have. I've driven in the USA: energy need be no more expensive here.
Electric cars will remove the perception of private motoring being a sin (even though the "dirty" part will be removed to the power stations), but even then it's more efficient. To fill up a BMW530d with diesel to do 700 miles costs 70 or so. A Tesla P90D to do the equivalent: 5. Once the Capital cost comes down (a P90D is 112,000) we're in business.
And at last, my lifelong dream: a road Channel Tunnel, becomes possible. You are never going to do the fume extraction on a 35-mile underwater road tunnel with petrol/diesel vehicles, but with electric vehicles it's easy!
Now they *really* understand the geological strata along the existing Chunnel route a new tunnel will be easy (if expensive) to build. It just needs doing. Keep the existing rail tunnel for freight and passenger trains, and build a new motorway underneath. I'm up for it.

The Wolfson 250,000 prize (2017) is a wrong-headed, misguided attempt to help: it simply concentrates on ideas to shift the road funding around - it really must instead promote ideas to mix new or better roads with revolutionary ideas to improve the way the roads are actually used, remove bottlenecks without political or funding delays based purely upon the criteria "is there a traffic jam? Then we must resolve it"

Prove me wrong someone, please?

Taxi FM
I can't help thinking advertisers are missing a trick here: why not have a "back of taxi" radio station that people in the backs of taxis would have to listen to, with minmal music and back-to-back advertising.
You simply pay the taxi drivers to have a radio in the back tuned to that station.
Punters wouldn't like it but actually in most cases they wouldn't know, they'd just think it was what the driver was listening to.

MP selection
It concerns me that the people running the country (nominally representing the People..) are allowed to become career politicians with little or no actual experience in industry.
I believe we should only allow someone who has held down a paying job or run a company which they have lived off for 10 years should be allowed to run for office. Union rep posts would not count. This would stop career parasites who have never done anything useful but sit on Union committees and make trouble from even approaching the political system.
Every politician would have experience of the real world of industry and having to make a living, whcih would remove at a stroke the wilder excesses of our elected politicians.