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Tolls and navigating via GPS December 29, 2008

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.
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Keyron and I recently did a road trip from RI to NC. I noted some things about tolls that I’ll expound on shortly.

Rhode Island has put tolls on the table for I-95. It’s too small a state to do this and I’ll explain why.

In every state that had tolls (NY, NJ, DE, VA) I noted a peculiar traffic pattern. If traffic speeds up then slows down and the process repeats you can be pretty sure there’s a toll ahead. Sure enough my observation was correct, the tolls impede traffic even if you use EZ Pass since the readers vary in speed from 5PMH to 20MPH. Technically they could read at full highway speed though.

But the traffic jams are horrible. Imagine traffic stretching for miles all because of a toll station. That’s precisely what happens. Of all the states I’d say NJ has the best system, when you get on you take a ticket and then pay when you get off based on distance traveled. Not a bad system.

But RI is only 40 miles long, and a 7 to 10 mile long tie-up would cripple our interstate system. Instead the state DOT needs to be thoroughly audited to see just where the money is going.

The one that really got me was the George Washington Bridge in NYC. It’s $8 to get on that sucker and there is quite a lot of traffic. That’s one well funded bridge but the traffic slowdowns it causes are horrendous too.

On to the GPS navigation. I picked up a TomTom 125 for $97. I updated all the maps but once in a while it’s directions weren’t necessarily clear or more likely the road layout wasn’t exactly conducive to getting onto the correct roadway on time. We had little side tours of Washington D.C. and NYC thanks to that. But the TomTom got us back on course fairly quickly.

The thing that really impressed me was that coming back home you’d normally take I-95 all the way up to exit 21. But this unit knew about RI-10 and it’s exit on Westminster St. so it brought us in via that route. I don’t think it yet knows about the relocation of I-195 though. Haven’t had an opportunity to use it on that one.

One thing I love about the TomTom is that you can submit corrections. I had to let them know that the street I live on is partially one way between two major thoroughfares. Also let them know that Exit 20 off of I-95 to I-195 has moved and is now a right hand exit, as opposed to a left hand exit.

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Comments»

1. Tom Seymour - January 1, 2009

I have mixed feelings about the toll booth proposal in R.I. Agreed, the state’s I-95 is only 40 miles long. However, (and I may be wrong about this), isn’t a majority of the traffic just people passing through between NYC, Cape Cod and/or Boston?


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