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Some SMU Profs Offer Their "Loop Solution" to the Trinity River Toll Road

David Matula, another smart guy against the Trinity River toll road. And he has six SMU profs to back him up. And those dudes are tough.
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David W. Matula seems like a pretty smart dude. For the past, oh, 33 years he's been a professor of computer science and engineering at SMU. Pardon? Computers in 1974? Like, he must be from the future. Also been a teacher and researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford and a bunch of universities in Europe. And: "His research focuses on the foundations and applications of algorithm engineering with specific emphasis on computer arithmetic and graph/network algorithms." So, right -- Brainiac.

Well, on this day of the election, we've received a missive Matula sent to city council member Angela Hunt concerning the Trinity River toll road, along with an op-ed, titled "Efficient Traffic Management and Dallas's City Core," that is co-signed by Matula and six of his SMU colleagues. It details their opposition to the construction of the toll road. Both pieces are after the jump. OK, Jim, you can get off me now. --Robert Wilonsky

To: Ms. Angela Hunt

I am a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at SMU and have long been interested in "network routing" regarding traffic, data communications, and other applications as part of my research. I have great objections to the Trinity Tollway for many reasons, but in the following I limit my objection to an issue that has received too little analysis.

The following is an Op-Ed that I have had signed by SEVEN SENIOR FACULTY of the engineering school at SMU, all agreeing that the issue of how to treat traffic flowing through a major city has not been adequately addressed. This is particularly relevant to the case where several major interstates meet where poor design can contribute heavy traffic to the local infrastructure unrelated to traffic simply flowing in or out of downtown as a destination.

Network routing theory clearly indicates voters should affirm the argument to keep any toll road out of the Trinity corridor. I intend to submit this as an Op-Ed to the Dallas Morning News. I would also be willing to send you a copy for your distribution to appropriate parties when I finish editing tonight. I would like to add that I would be available between now and Nov. 6 for any panel or interview you may be aware of to discuss these issues and related concerns.

I know the pressure is heavy from the other side but I believe their position has many holes that need simply to be professionally discussed by experts not under the influence of contracts to perform services benefiting from the tollway project and related mix-master expansion. You may check my overall vita at the web site engr.smu.edu/~matula I wish you success in a well run campaign against great odds,

David W. Matula Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Southern Methodist University

Following is the Corrected draft of Saturday Nov. 3 that will be used.

Efficient Traffic Management and Dallas's City Core

A principal assumption in the Trinity corridor debate is that more high speed radial access to the city core with an expensive overhaul of the down town mix-master is essential for efficient through (long haul) traffic management in-and-out of downtown. It should be pointed out that the state-of-the-art for traffic management when two or more major north-south and east-west interstate highways intersect is quite different. Radial design with wide spokes feeding a large interior "directional interchange hub" is an outdated and inflexible solution from the early 1960's era of interstate highway planning.

Directional interchanges are prone to unavoidable delays whenever any of the radial spokes has a loss of capacity. A more cost efficient solution for robust traffic movement is to have one or more high density traffic loops around the core. In contrast to a central hub, the loop allows N-S through traffic to travel either an eastern or western route and concurrently E-W through traffic can take either a northern or southern route.

The loop design has robust engineering properties allowing the North-East (NE) leg to load balance with the SW leg ( NW and SE legs similarly can load balance), allowing more robust response to a traffic disruption and more efficient utilization of capacity from a traffic management viewpoint. The loop solution is more efficient and less costly for handling through traffic allowing arterial traffic into the loop core only as a target destination requiring far less capacity. This is particularly effective when the large majority of the traffic into the core is through traffic.

A beneficial side effect is that the core becomes a livable center of a vibrant 21st century city, rather than a gigantic 1960's era directional interchange hub, with all the charm of an airport waiting room. Voters should recall that the Trinity Corridor bond issue they passed in the 1990's provided specifically for (1) flood control, (2) parks and lakes, and (3) a parkway. We ask that voters today seriously consider these compelling traffic engineering issues and vote for keeping any high speed toll way out of the Trinity Corridor.

As concerned engineering faculty in an institution within the city core, we believe sound traffic management here fits ideally with city core renewal and strongly urge voters to affirm the original intent of the trinity project and vote FOR Proposition 1 on November 6.

David W.Matula, Ph.D.,Computer Science, SMU

Gary Evans, Ph.D.,Electrical Eng., President of the Faculty Senate,SMU

Yildirim Hurmuzlu, Ph.D., Mechanical Eng., SMU

Mandyam Srinath, Ph.D., Electrical Eng., SMU

Tom Chen, Ph.D., Electrical Eng.,SMU

Sukumaran Nair, Ph.D.,P.E.,Computer Science, SMU

Mitchell Thorton, Ph.D.,P.E.,Computer Science, SMU

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