Traffic Control: An Exercise in Self-Defeat

On The National Center for Bicycling and Walking, I found this article titled oddly, Traffic Control Back to Basics a scholarly paper complete with Bibliography. I was most impressed by the arguments the author Kenneth Todd presented for a different kind of traffic control.

Some of the radical ideas include replacing most street control lights with Yield signs.

The opening paragraphs really grabbed me.

The traffic control system in force today was put together in the early days of the automobile by
public officials who knew little about regulating this new means of locomotion. Contemporary writings describe how traffic laws were adopted without prior research on the basis of personal opinion. “

Into traffic regulations crept misconceptions, inconsistencies and contradictions — too many to describe all in this article — that have killed innumerable people, cause massive traffic jams, waste innumerable hours of time and vast quantities of fuel, pollute the air, and lead to unjust decisions in civil accident litigation. The system runs counter to basic legal, engineering and safety principles, and billions of dollars are being spent on high-tech computer equipment intended to overcome self-inflicted problems.

I recommend this article highly, that’s why I’m making it available at this link . If nothing else it may make you think about the possibility of something better than the mess we have now. And if the author is right, it would be simpler and less expensive to operate.


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