High volumes of traffic on the hour could cause large queues of vehicles over the thousand. Dynamic zipper merge systems have been developed to help alleviate such congestion and ease the traffic lanes. Without the installation of such a system, traffic queues, continuing to build, could negatively impact on opposite or alterior road traffic routes, intersections and interchanges. But what is a zipper merge exactly?
A zipper merge occurs when drivers are able to use two or more lanes and merge into a single lane. This could happen when one lane has been closed for construction. In this scenario, motorists continue to use both lines of traffic until such time that they reach a defined merge area. They are then required to alternate in a zipper-like manner into the available lane. Without the directing zipper merge system in place, driver behavior can be negatively impacted.
When drivers see the upcoming sign that indicates that a lane will be closed, they have a tendency to slow too quickly but move directly into an open lane that continues through a construction or other occupied area. Lane switching, when it occurs, can be unexpected and is dangerous. This could result in road accidents. But when all drivers are driving responsibly, and are being directed, the use of the zipper merge can have its advantages.
Differences in speeds between two lanes are reduced. The overall length of traffic backup can be reduced by as much as forty percent. Congestion is reduced on freeway or highway interchanges. And all lanes, moving more or less at the same rate, create a sense of fairness and safety amongst the road users. It is obligatory for road construction contractors to erect these systems seeing as road traffic officials cannot be in all places at the same time.