Aethodian traffic conventions
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This article details Aethodian traffic conventions.
In general, these apply only to new constructions in areas that do not already have different local traffic traditions.
Aethodia uses signage that differs substantially from what most macronations use.makes use of four general groups of roadsigns, each covering a different category of things that one may need communicated to them while driving. Each group uses a different shape and color; but the first three groups use reflective green/white/magenta tape over a black backing.
A separate system of signage was created by Swena in 2016, but this system was later lost. This system used cyan, yellow, and magenta for the signs, instead of the modern green, white, and magenta; and each color came always with a sign of the same shape, be they upright equilateral triangles, diamonds, or upside-down equilateral triangles.
All signs are composed of bright, reflective colors on a black background. There are three color schemes available to signs: green, white, and magenta.
Green is used for signs that can be safely ignored while driving; this typically includes landmarks, attractions, activities, points of interest, etc.
White is used for signs that don't really meet the criteria for green or magenta, or for when a contrasting color is needed on an otherwise green or magenta sign. Signs that are typically white are highway exits, general info (mile-markers, addresses, coordinates, etc), misc regulations, etc.
Magenta is used for any sign that communicates something that should cause a driver to exercise extra caution. Examples of this include hazards, warnings, regulations that directly impact navigation, etc.
Signs that are struck-through have whatever was struck-through be a different color than the strikethrough and the border (which should be the same color as each other).
The reason for using green, white, and magenta as the only primary sign colors, is that these colors are visibly different hues for everyone with at least two functioning cones in their eyes.
The reason for using a bright foreground on a dark background, is that people naturally look to brighter things before darker things; for information as crucial as that provided by roadsigns, no ergonomic consideration should be spared.
All signs are in one of many standard shapes, each with its own meaning.
Rectangles are a sort of default that get used when a sign doesn't match the criteria for another shape.
Regulatory signs are circular (on hexagons).
Warning/hazard signs are diamonds.
Construction-related signs are pentagons.
The shapes used are all regular tileable polygons, because these are the easiest shapes to manufacture and the shapes that produce the least waste when manufactured.
Most signs attempt to use symbols instead of text.
Stop signs are a solid square.
Yield signs are a solid upside-down equilateral triangle.
Priority signs are a solid circle.
Symbols should ideally not be rotations or flips of other symbols, as such transformations can be difficult both for people with dyslexia and for normal people who are at significant distance from a sign.
Cancelled symbols are indicated with a slash from the bottom-left to the top-right; this works far-better with Aethodic text than the top-right to bottom-left used by, for example, the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
There is a text-colored border of 1/6 sign-width that perfectly follows the contour of each sign; this serves both to identify the type of sign, and to help cars avoid hitting the sign at night.
There should be a minimum blackspace of 1/6 sign-width between the border and any symbols.
Any primary symbol should ideally have an area equal to 1/6 the sign's total area. This, as a side-effect, results in (typically) at least 2/6 thickness blackspace between the symbol(s) and the sign's border.
Symbols should, ideally, be centered areally (because centering dimensionally results in triangles being positioned weirdly).
Lanes are marked like so: the left side of a lane is marked by a reflective magenta line, and the right side is marked by a reflective green line. This remains true if two lanes are side-by-side and moving in opposite directions. However, if multiple lanes are side-by-side and moving in the same direction, they are divided from each other by white lines.
When it is permissible for traffic to move between two lanes, the line dividing the lanes is dashed. When such movement is only permissible from one lane to another (and not back), the lane that can change has a dashed edge, and the lane that cannot has a solid edge. This is true regardless of whether the lines in-question are magenta/green or white.
Cars must have running lights that are on whenever the car is on; these running lights must be present at all four corners of a car. Port-facing running lights must be magenta, and starboard-facing lights must be green; this allows people to know which side of a car is facing them.
Brake lights are a magenta light in the middle of the rear and front of a car, so that brakes are distinguishable from port lights and headlights, and so that brakes can be seen both from behind and ahead.
Headlights should be white.
The use of magenta and green in this way keeps parity with the old tradition that red is port and green is starboard, and makes use of the fact that magenta/green/white are visibly different from each other for trichromats and dichromats alike.
Cars must have a license plate on their front and their rear. Front license plates should be mirrored, so that they can be read from a car's mirrors. The use of license plates helps track down property damage and hit-and-run crimes. Cars are often the most-expensive investment an individual makes after their house, and cars are fast; so both are concerns.
License plates may not be covered, and should be illuminated with a white light by the car, to make it possible to see them in darkness even when no external light is shining on them.
License plate IDs are part of a national database, and are unique to a car once assigned. Vehicle identification is handled federally because it is important for everyone throughout the federation to be instantly familiar with any license plates they encounter, even if those plates are on vehicles from another canton.
License plates are black with reflective white text, to maximize contrast and visibility.
License plate IDs vary in length, and are a randomly generated mixture of letters from the Aethodic alphabet, and follow the phonotactics of the Aethodian language. This latter point makes it considerably easier for people to read and remember the IDs, thereby allowing the IDs to work well at longer lengths than would be possible if they were truly random. Even using this formula to produce a unique ID for every motor vehicle ever produced by the entirety of humanity up until the year 2020 (tens of billions) should only require IDs of 8 characters in length -- shorter than those used in some macronational jurisdictions for orders of magnitude fewer cars.
In order to drive a normal car on public roads, an individual needs an Aethodian driver's license. This is true also of foreigners seeking to drive in Aethodia. Some special vehicles (like semitrucks) require an additional license.
Foreign-owned vehicles that wish to drive on public roads in Aethodia must be registered with Aethodia and display their Aethodian license plates in addition to their foreign plates. Some exemptions to normal requirements are permitted to foreign-owned cars in order to make it easier for them to drive on Aethodian roads, so as not to drastically hinder tourism or trade. The requirement that foreign cars show their foreign plates in addition to their Aethodian plates indicates clearly to others that they are foreign, and that these such exemptions apply to them.
Roads in Aethodia typically drive on the left, like in the UK; but deference is given to existing local traditions, as there does not appear to be a real safety difference between the two, despite logic preferring left-hand drive for right-handed individuals.
Cars typically have the driver's side on the opposite of the road side; this is as is typical elsewhere. That said, it is permitted to drive wrong-hand-drive vehicles.
Aethodian road networks typically divide into three general categories: arteries/highways (which are controlled-access, and can only be entered/exited via ramps), arterioles/roads (which connect highway ramps and streets, and have pedestrian crossings), and capillaries/streets (which allow pedestrians and cars to mix).
Modern roundabouts are preferred for all intersections at or below two one-way lanes. Roads with more lanes are typically arteries, and so utilize interchanges (typically an overpass/underpass + a roundabout ramp) instead of intersections. Where traffic lights are used, small turns on red are permitted. Large turns on red are only permitted from a one-lane road into a one-way road, . The number of individual roads that connect to an intersection should ideally never be greater than 4.
Lane mathematics are of significant import. Most lanes are dedicated either to going straight or turning, and it is discouraged to endlessly expand the number of lanes in a road. Aethodia does not make use of hook turns.
Aethodia prefers to use grids for urban roads; but the exact grids used vary: sometimes it is a traditional Cartesian grid, other times it is hexagonal, still others it is triangular, and some places use "fluid" grids, which curve around the contour of the land.
Roads, as much as possible, should be designed such that they feel to the driver to be unsafe when driving above a certain speed. Speed limits are seen as hacks to work around an inherently poorly-designed roadways. Aethodia, instead of speed limits, uses speed targets, which inform drivers of the speed the road was made to be driven at. Drivers are supposed to drive slower if conditions are poor, but may also drive faster if they feel they can do so safely. Oftentimes, it is safe for a car to go at a speed that would be unsafe for a semi.