XOs to Relieve the Freeway Congestion

Tuesday, October 13, 2015__


A freeway is usually jammed because the exiting vehicles cannot move fast enough to make space for the entering vehicles to the freeway.

If any unexpected incident happens on a regular freeway (such as, vehicle collision, criminal activity, natural disaster, special event, road repair, traffic hours, etc.), then the exiting vehicles move much much slower, and the freeway becomes a "parking lot."

Our current quick-fix is to widen the freeway, but this can only make it a larger "parking lot."


Currently vehicles can enter and exit a freeway at many major streets. In a perfect world, or perfect conditions, this is good enough.

However, to make a freeway jam-free in this imperfect world, we need to build more off-ramps than on-ramps to prevent any interruption to the traffic flow that is caused by any unexpected incident. These extra off-ramps can be built connected to the streets between the existing on/off-ramps, which are usually the less significant streets.

For example:
- An off-ramp can be built for Westbound 91 Freeway to Fairmont Bl. (in Yorba Linda).
- An off-ramp can be built for Eastbound 22 Fwy to Deodar Dr. (in Garden Grove).

Vehicles can only exit the freeway to these less significant streets, but they cannot get back on the freeway from these same streets.

-- XOs (Exit Only Outlets)

Since this kind of off-ramp can provide another option for vehicles to exit a freeway, but does not provide a return to the freeway from the same street, we can call this off-ramp as EXIT ONLY, or XO for short.

To return to the freeway, if needed, vehicles must go to a major street to get on an on-ramp. Nowadays, with GPS devices, vehicles should not have any problem to get back on the freeway.

To warn vehicles ahead, every Exit Only outlet should be coded as XO before the street's name on interchange signs.

For example:
- XO Fairmont Bl. 2 Miles
- XO Harvard Ave. 1/2 Mile
- XO Laguna Canyon Rd. 1 Mile

-- One CHANGE before the XOs

If XO feature sounds right and should be implemented, then one change must be done first: Change all the current EXIT ONLY lanes to something like MUST EXIT lanes. This necessary change will prevent a lot of confusion.


Building more off-ramps than on-ramps for a freeway will make it a perfect freeway to adapt to any unexpected incident that can interrupt the normal flow of the freeway.

The XOs will divert much more vehicles from a freeway while it can eliminate some features that are not necessary on the freeway, such as on-ramp meters, extra lanes for a "parking lot," or even car-pool lanes.

In fact, XOs should be included or envisioned while designing a freeway, so extra land parcels can be reserved ahead, to cut down the cost of imminent domain process later on.

-- Idea by Tutran Govap, October 2015 --

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