Friday, November 17, 2006

Re-post: Traffic lights: baaad - May 05

From Tuesday, May 03, 2005

If you add up the number of seconds in every day that both lights are at either red or amber, it would make up at least a few minutes of 'total stop' time when the lights are actually blocking the flow of traffic;

They're fallible, especially when a human being in an office somewhere decides a rule like: "Give priority to motorway access routes": so you often end up sitting in a queue of traffic going nowhere, when nobody is actually using the motorway access route;

On blocked junctions where there are no traffic lights, most drivers usually let at least one car into the queue from side streets. There's a whole "Make eye-contact, wave the person out, receive a wave of thanks," pleasant ritual that takes place which adds something to the driving experience and helps us to remember that other drivers ARE human beings and therefore we should take care with them. Replacing this human interaction with robotic traffic lights reduces the opportunities for these kind of interactions to take place which is bad for driver and pedestrian safety.

When they stop working, chaos abounds because (i) Junctions are no longer designed to work well without them and (ii) Drivers are no longer used to having to fully engage their brains when driving, so seem to lose the ability.

So I don't like traffic lights. Roundabouts are OK though.

posted by Gill at 5:37 PM 7 comments


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