INDIANAPOLIS — We’ve all been there. There’s a slowdown on the interstate and you’re coming up to a lane reduction. As everybody files into the correct lane, some goober drives past everybody and waits at the merge spot for somebody to let him in. Of course, nobody does, because we all band together to shun the goober.
As it turns out, the Indiana Department of Transportation wants everybody to be that goober.
INDOT will be transitioning to using the “zipper merge” this construction season, which allows for drivers to use both lanes until the merge point. When the traffic reaches the merge point, cars alternate merging into the single lane.
INDOT says zipper merging is much safer than merging early, which causes congestion and more significant changes in speed.
The benefits to the zipper merge include, according to INDOT:
- Reduces speed differences between two lanes
- Reduces queue length by up to 40 percent
- Reduces congestion and keeps traffic moving smoothly
- Creates a sense of fairness and equity that all lanes are moving at the same rate
- Brings order to the merging process
The department also said you shouldn’t use zipper merges when traffic is still flowing at highway speeds, and there will be signage when you should do so.
Zipper merges are coming to a construction zone near you this year. Check out how they work! pic.twitter.com/lcymBwWlsh
— INDOT (@INDOT) March 3, 2021