An old story here about the current fashion in highway engineering circles for removing traffic lights, railings and other clutter, on the basis that the more you make motorists think, the more careful they will be, and the fewer accidents you get:
Let's see how well it works in China:
Of course, China is not the UK, and personally I have an open mind as to whether 'de-cluttering' works. However, I don't think you can judge the success of something like this on the basis of one controlled experiment. If you removed a substantial number of traffic lights, at first motorists would likely be more careful, but they would adjust their behaviour over time as they became familiar with the informal rules of behaviour. Roundabouts and gyratory systems give you a pretty good idea of what happens when traffic priorities are not clear (or at least, not as clear as at a light-controlled junction). Roundabouts are about the most dangerous places on the highway system.
Monday, July 5, 2010
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