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Old 30th October 2017, 16:50   #1
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Default USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Last week the C.M of M.P said that 92% of roads in Washington are in poor shape. While this might have created flutter, what was interesting is this piece of news today:

http://www.financialexpress.com/indi...se-you/912133/

It says:

Quote:
“The abandonment of more than 100,000 miles of rail lines in recent decades, mostly in rural areas, has reduced access in many rural communities and increased reliance on trucking for freight movement.”
and
Quote:
connectivity is particularly poor in rural portions of Western states because of the significant distance between Interstate highway routes and the lack of adequate rail service.
and
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“Only 60 percent of rural counties nationwide have public transportation available and 28 percent of those have very limited service.”
and
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“Forty-four percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on roads in need of repair costs U.S. motorists $120 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $553 per motorist,”
While we never get to see anything which remotely resembles a "bad road" in U.S.A, how do the conditions of the rural roads in the Western part of U.S.A fare in comparison? I have travelled across the country side mostly in the Eastern part but never in the Western rural side. Even then the roads in rural side in East are excellent.

Mods: Can we also use this thread to record the "street experiences" in U.S.A?
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Old 30th October 2017, 18:05   #2
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Default re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

We lived in Kansas City for 3-4 years. Even some of the main roads could be horrible, especially after the winter. Most of these roads are concrete and with frost and rain it means potholes are everywhere. How soon they get repaired, if they get ever do get repaired is down to how much budget the local council has.

Bend a couple of rims on my car because of the potholes. Never ever happened to me anywhere else in the world! But I bend two rims on my Jaguar within a month on different stretches of highway!


I’ve done multiple road trips all over the USA, including the west. By and large roads are fine, even when you drive into rural areas. Bear in mind a lot of western rural areas are also areas of great beauty and therefor tourism.

Even so, there are plenty of back roads, which are just dirt tracks. Actually, not necessarily a bad road surface especially if it’s this heavily compacted grit. It can be a bit dusty when very dry, but you rarely will get potholes.

The problem of little or no public transport available in rural areas is something that just about all of (rural) USA suffers from. No busses across the prairies in Kansas, but lots of little villages.

But to be honest, even in Kansas City you couldn’t do without a car. There were just a few bus lines. Nothing like you would find in say NYC or most European main cities.

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Old 30th October 2017, 19:26   #3
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Default re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

I've lived in the bay area and in RTP and almost never saw any "bad roads". I've also visited Michigan during and after winter and the roads there can be a bit rough. Nothing compared to the amazing western express highway in Mumbai during monsoons. When they say bad roads its basically just rough surface and uneven joints on the concrete roads. It gets amplified thanks to the low profile tyres that most cars have

I've been in Toronto for couple of months now and the roads here are mostly super smooth with the occasional badly designed manhole which sometimes can be more than just an undulation.

Having said that I don't think any roads in north america come close to the autobahns in Germany or even the roads in Austria.... these are THE smoothest roads I've ever driven on.

I remember going flat out at 220 kmph plus on the autobahn after sunset without ever worrying about the road.
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Old 30th October 2017, 22:51   #4
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Default re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

I used to live in arizona and the roads were fine, not smooth, had a lot of pebbles which causes windshield damage but overall decent. I currently live in the north east in the new england area which gets clobbered by snow and salt on the roads. The one thing you notice is potholes do come up and also rough stretches and uneven roads due to this. But roadwork is done every year and nothing like years of neglect which i do see in rural roads in karnataka.

I dont get what the CM was talking. When you visit someone for investments in your state, do you want to put them down and then ask for their money? He sounded like a sharma aunty who compares her kids grades to the neighbors and life is always a competition.

Difference between driving here and in india is the constant need to survey where you are going looking for that hidden pothole on the road or the speedbump when you see a collection of houses near the highway. That does not happen when you have to drive here.

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Old 30th October 2017, 23:42   #5
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Default re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

I have driven extensively over 100k miles over a period of 7 years mostly on the US East coast right from Maine to down South in the Florida, Keys West. Also covered some of the mid-west states like Utah, Nevada, Arizona etc.

In general my road experience has been very good, the roads are well marked and smooth, one does not have to keep looking at the road to spot potholes, drive tension free and just obey the rules.Some remote roads may have some rough patches especially after winter season (extreme climates), but nothing to compare with what we have back in India.

I am wondering what is the minister trying to prove, is his state roads better than US , maybe he is just joking !!
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Old 31st October 2017, 00:17   #6
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Default re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

This is clearly a tactic to divert attention by creating a sensational news with irrelevant & not comparable circumstances. Since we don't allow political discussion I will share my inputs on USA road.

As a thumb rule the states with bad roads are those which get heavy snow and these are mostly Tar roads. The only good roads in such states are the concrete ones.

In some places like some cities in NJ, poor roads are because of insufficient funds with the city or county. Its a fact that USA has drastically slowed down on building infrastructure and most of their good infrastructure was built a few decades back. A lot of that infrastructure is either already in need of repairs or would soon need it.
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Old 31st October 2017, 04:19   #7
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Default re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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Originally Posted by AltoLXI View Post
While we never get to see anything which remotely resembles a "bad road" in U.S.A, how do the conditions of the rural roads in the Western part of U.S.A fare in comparison? I have travelled across the country side mostly in the Eastern part but never in the Western rural side.
Personal experiences would not tell the entire story, and it would be hard to compare anything based on personal experiences. The issue here would be lack of data collected based on the same parameters.

The asphalt roads are supposed to be replaced some 5 years, but they are replaced every 10 years, or 15 years in some cities. If the cops/insurance determine an accident to have been caused by a pothole on a road that was not replaced within this given parameters, the city can be held liable. Cities do a tradeoff between the costs associated with such damages versus actually keeping roads perfect. The data that shows the roads that needs replacement to be a large percentage of CA roads.

Consider uneven pavements, or trip hazards. It is a lot more efficient for cities to send a repair guy shave some concrete and even out a walkway, than to deal with health insurance liabilities. The reason you get a questionnaire after a fall from the insurance company, is actually to see who than pass the blame on to. In terms of statistics, a large percentage of the city maintained pavements are due to be replaced, they have lived past their life. This data seems dire, but it cannot be compared with data from other cities like Dubai with all new pavements.

In the last couple decades of my life in So.Cal, I have reported to my city authorities on potholes, bicycle lane striping, and about inability of traffic sensors to sense motorcycles. I get a ticket number, and status once a month. The response is slow, but it cannot be too slow. If the city sits on an issue for too long, they are liable for any accident that happens too long after they got to know about the issue. It is super important to report issues as soon as we see it. This requires alert citizens. Unfortunately, some cities have less alert citizens, slower authorities, and smaller budgets. Rural, and city maintained infrastructure depends on how well the city is doing.

Also, if everyone do not have access to a mechanism that accounts for damages caused by city infrastructure, the financial implications cannot be fully accounted for, or compared. When a biker is thrown off his bike and dies because of a pot hole, his life insurance should be able to get the city to share the burden. Lacking which we will never know the true cost of damages because of bad roads.

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...is-liable.html

My city's resource to report issues.
https://www.sandiego.gov/get-it-done/
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Old 31st October 2017, 10:26   #8
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Lived in Boston for a while (and toured a lot) as well as California (and toured a lot). My general observation has been that the roads & infrastructure of the West Coast are far superior to that of the East. In some areas of Boston, the potholes could give the BMC Mumbai a run for their money. I once damaged two tyres on their damn potholes.

Best parts of driving in the USA are the overall levels of discipline, courtesy extended by others and high cruising speeds. We'd do 300 miles in the same time that it would take to do 250 km in India.

That said, it's also very boring compared to India.
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Old 31st October 2017, 11:37   #9
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

I'm not surprised by the minister's comments. We are increasingly seeing the "we are the best in the world in all regards" syndrome, especially among some politicians. They do not seem to give credit to anyone else in the world and somehow will prove that every good thing in the world originated here. Being patriotic and proud of our nation does not mean we put down every other nation in the world. We need to learn to appreciate others, too.

Coming to the roads, if MP CM builds a 50 KM sample stretch and claims his state has the best roads in the world, then it can only be called exaggeration. When we says, roads, it extends far beyond just surface of the road. The traffic volume, general discipline, traffic sense, manners, etiquette etc. We would probably figure at the bottom here. Even speaking about roads, it's not enough just to have a smooth top surface. We see poor banking at turns, too many intersection, huge speed-breakers, houses/shops right on the roads... the list will just go on.
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Old 31st October 2017, 11:50   #10
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

I have lived in Atlanta (south east of US) and Long Island, NY (north east of US).

Atlanta was top notch in terms of roads. At least, in the areas I lived and traveled had nothing to complain about.

Yes, in NY, there are a few pot holes here and there, especially in the by lanes of residential areas. But nothing like what we see in namma beautiful Bengaluru!

The thing is, even those cracked tarmac or small potholes can cause large damage, mostly to tyres. You will frequently see burst tyres on road sides, purely because the average speeds are high and even small potholes can cause damage. Additionally, you cannot maneuver out of those potholes, because everybody is sticking to their lanes and are driving at relatively higher speeds.

I have also traveled on their freeways across North East. Our highway roads are a long way to go, before we can compare them to the American ones. US freeways are well planned, with exits and entry points and appropriate boards indicating speed limits, exit numbers and so on.

In essence, we are not yet there to even talk about our roads vis-a-vis American roads.
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Old 31st October 2017, 12:26   #11
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

Having lived in Phoenix, Bay area, Chicago and Denver, there is no comparison with Indian roads. You need to consider the overall road infrastructure and not just the surface of roads.

By far, in Denver and western parts of US, the roads are well maintained. Even in the Rockies, the roads are great. Used to love travelling while it snowed in night time where everything you see around is white ! If I had a 4 or 5 hour free time, used to drive to Pikes Peak. For a day, go to Aspen and come back via I-70

I still remember back in those days, car salesman used to force you to go for Alloy wheels citing steel wheels going bent on impact with potholes !

Last edited by srishiva : 31st October 2017 at 12:42.
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Old 31st October 2017, 12:48   #12
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

IT is not just about the road quality. There are a lot of components to a world class road infrastructure

1. A well designed and ahead of its time infrastructure and system. This includes Lane system, signs, logical interchanges, exit lanes, standard rules and systems everywhere etc. Across the US the system is very consistent so people know what to expect. Even their numbering of roads is very logical. Odd route numbers increase from west to east, and even-numbered routes increase from south to north. Three digit numbers are ring roads around major cities generally. All exits are also numbered and in ordered from where the highway starts. You can actually use the exit numbers for directions. It obviously helps that they have all this free space but there is a lot of thought.

2. Regulation is very strong. This starts from the stringent process to give licenses where focus is on testing and not paperwork like us (address proof etc. etc.). They enforce rules very strongly. Rural counties draw a lot of their income from fines so they are very prompt in charging for overspeeding etc.

3. There is a planned manner in dealing with repairs etc. US is a big country and roads are all not of great quality. But they do take up repairs etc. in planned manner and work on it with proper diversions etc. I am sure they have better co-ordination between their civic agencies and thee is no random digging of freshly laid roads.
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Old 31st October 2017, 15:10   #13
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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Lived in Boston for a while (and toured a lot) as well as California (and toured a lot). My general observation has been that the roads & infrastructure of the West Coast are far superior to that of the East. In some areas of Boston, the potholes could give the BMC Mumbai a run for their money. I once damaged two tyres on their damn potholes.
To be honest, I've had a similar experience as you - studied in RI, but didn't drive as much in Boston City - however, there is no denying that the roads in Boston aren't great, and same for NYC.
That aside however, I am quite confident I have hit more bumps in Mumbai on a night drive (WEH primarily till the toll naka), than I have in my 20,000mile driving experience in the US.
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Old 31st October 2017, 16:18   #14
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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1. A well designed and ahead of its time infrastructure and system. This includes Lane system, signs, logical interchanges, exit lanes, standard rules and systems everywhere etc. Across the US the system is very consistent so people know what to expect. Even their numbering of roads is very logical. Odd route numbers increase from west to east, and even-numbered routes increase from south to north. Three digit numbers are ring roads around major cities generally. All exits are also numbered and in ordered from where the highway starts. You can actually use the exit numbers for directions. It obviously helps that they have all this free space but there is a lot of thought.
I agree. The things you listed are what sets them apart from us. We will never see such a scientific approach to road-building. We hardly see any nasty surprises there. Traffic flow is smooth and seamless. All cars seem to travel in unison together, like a military drill. They exit highways smoothly and also merge smoothly at high speeds without causing the following cars to slam on brakes or swerve. Unimaginable back home. As for bad roads, we made road-trips in Eastern Canada and Western and Eastern US. In US, our road-trip took us through Calif., Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, NY, NJ and Maryland. During entire trip, I saw a bad stretch only in Jersey City. The top layer had pot-holes only 3/4th to an inch deep. As though someone shaved top layer in places. Still jarring enough at high speed. But it was refreshing to see everyone following the car up front and going through same dips rather than the doing the dodging-dance we see on our roads, weaving the car all over the road and jeopardizing everything. The other small bad stretch I saw was in a small town of Leadville between Aspen and Denver. But that stretch was so less traveled, it looked like out of a ghost town. In downtown Toronto I saw a bad stretch which was paved superbly by my second trip few months later.

In India, only South Mumbai seems to have discipline and road manners. Minimal honking. Delhi is not bad either, if you overlook generally short-tempered nature. Kolkata mostly relies on public transport, like NYC, and you don't see many 2-wheelers. Which brings us to the most chaotic cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad. Don't know much about Chennai though. The unison in which cars move in a single file and nearly same speed overseas, like a drill, is totally absent here. We see a motley collection of all types of vehicles in India. At varying speeds. Even if we fill the roads with same type/size cars, you will still see some moron crawling at 20 kph in the middle of the road and holding up traffic. In my town, cops issue ticket if you exceed 60 kph in city or 80 kph on highway. But someone driving at 15 kph in the middle of the road and holding up traffic is not penalized. Until that happens, our traffic condition would stay the same. Doesn't matter how smooth the road surface is.
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Old 31st October 2017, 17:54   #15
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Default Re: USA - Roads, traffic & street experiences

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Until that happens, our traffic condition would stay the same. Doesn't matter how smooth the road surface is.
It's definitely something to do with the culture here. On a recent business trip to Dhaka I was taken aback when I saw how well behaved traffic was. Our hosts (Australian expats) had given me the picture that traffic conditions were pathetic, so I was prepared for the worst. But their point of reference must have been Australia! What I found amazing was that the roads in Dhaka are as bad (or as good) as the ones in our cities (not as good as most roads in delhi though), but even on broken, dug up roads, people weren't honking much, or cutting across one and another. Even the traffic jams were disciplined, with people just waiting in their lanes without attempting to 'make their own road'. I even saw people lining up at the local bus stops! And by an stretch of imagination, Bangladesh is not a rich/developed country.
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