They should pay you to enter these interchanges
There is a difference between "going mental" and making mental calculations how to get out of this traffic mess... at least we hope there is.
The complexity of modern interchanges can be daunting (for some aerial shots of most convoluted ones head over to our previous article). Here is an exaggerated vision of what the future may look like:
(image credit: Syd Mead)
And this is present day in Japan (does that make your heart beat faster?)
But here are a few more that definitely ask to be included into the
"Most Complex Junctions" Hall of Fame:
- Shanghai, China
(see that little circle on the side: this is a trap for amateur drivers, in which they swirl around forever)
- Taganskaya Square, Moscow
(shaped like a huge dumb loaf of bread... and just as unpalatable)
- Tokyo, Japan
(this one's actually quite elegant)
- Arc de Triumph, Paris
(Place Charles de Gaulle - pretty much free-for-all there)
Nice Chicago arrangements:
You also gotta love this one in Minneapolis:
(between 35W and 94)
Golden Glades interchange in N. Miami Beach, FL.
Looking like some strands of yarn: Rt. 440 in New Jersey:
(images courtesy Google Earth)
Something to shock you into disbelief, and leave you utterly shattered: getting in and out of the "magic mushroom circle" in England:
There are three intersections like this in UK: in Swindon, Hemel and in Cardiff. See exactly how it works here and here.
A cheat sheet "how to get out" is more helpful:
China is at the forefront of traffic circles (and spiral bridge approaches), as well:
Some vintage visions of intersections
Little did the urban planners of yesteryear and futurist designers imagined how complex our traffic infra-structure would become. The closest perhaps was the "Futurama" display in the 30s:
Looks actually quite orderly:
There is a highway in my basement
Another solution for the busy intersection: put a "traffic-control" tower smack in the middle (and on top) of it!
This strange concoction comes from "Modern Mechanics" 1932 issue and is called "Safety Tower" - basically a multi-level interchange, with space above it used for businesses and entertainment (including air traffic control beacons!)
(image credit: Modern Mechanix)
Amazingly, same idea came to Russians recently, as they put a huge "flying saucer" mall on top of major intersection: see here
and of course, a humorous solution (that might just work in Russia, who knows)
Railway intersections: "Diamond Crossings"
Quite a few of them can be found in US, but not that many in the rest of the world. US railway companies liked this kind of intersection which does not allow a train switch to a rival company's tracks.
Here is a couple: in Poland and Russia:
[via dark roast blend]
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