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anarchy and traffic flow

 
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 08:56 am
The city of London is about to embark upon an experiment: It will try to ease congestion issues by turning off traffic lights and letting drivers fend for themselves.

The Westminster City Council, in conjunction with the organization Transport for London, will shut off the traffic lights at a Westminster intersection for a two-week period. It will use closed-circuit cameras and license-plate recognition technology to monitor the response of traffic.

Sure, it sounds nuts, but towns in Holland, Denmark and Belgium all have had what they call “naked streets” for years now. The idea is that when you remove the crutch of traffic signals, drivers tend to be more alert, courteous and safe in their maneuvers. For instance, the town of Drachten, Holland, saw accidents at one intersection fall from 36 over a four-year period to just two in the two years since the lights were removed.

London, however, will be the first major city to attempt a naked street. The city could turn off up to 20% of its 400-plus traffic lights if the experiment proves successful, according to London Mayor Boris Johnson.
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:00 am
@dyslexia,
Quote:
The idea is that when you remove the crutch of traffic signals, drivers tend to be more alert, courteous and safe in their maneuvers.
If true, I find it fascinating.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:04 am
@dyslexia,
Hmmm, interesting experiment. Will the experimental intersection be a four-way stop, or a caution, or a yield in one direction?
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:41 am
@dyslexia,
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. The skeptic in me says London is a major city and people will not understand the concept of courtesy as well as the Dutch do.

They recently put cameras on a strip of road near where I live-- I got a ticket in the mail and they sent a photo of my car, the date, the time, etc. Very strange Big Brother experience. Felt like a common criminal. So, now I slow down in that area. Here's the weird part, everyone else does too. Once I saw every one elses speed drop I realized they all got tickets too.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 10:49 am
@dyslexia,
I'd find it very surprising if it worked. Here in Costa Rica you often drive inches from other cars while dodging potholes and other obstacles in the road, and I can tell you now that the relative anarchy is not any better. They have one of the highest traffic mortality rates on earth here, and are just now starting to crack down. They have roundabouts here, which are like an intersection with no lights and it just makes traffic worse once you get a certain amount of traffic. When they are replaced with overpasses and traffic lights things improve. Otherwise there are huge traffic jams behind each roundabout in rush hour.

And in other countries it's worse, in Panama nobody pays any attention to the traffic lights, and quite frankly it was a horrid experience that was enough to ruin an otherwise interesting city for me. The traffic is insane, with everyone trying to get through the intersections at once and driving like absolute maniacs, up sidewalks, going the wrong way to make shortcuts, it's just awful, I sat for hours and hours in traffic in Panama just because they didn't respect the concept of taking turns at an intersection and tried to all go through at the same time. Recently they made international headlines when a bunch of people on a bus were killed in an accident with a truck, and I have to say that based on my experience there it wasn't very surprising.

I think it would take a very polite culture to pull it off, because whenever I see anarchy on the road, it ends up very literally being every man for himself with nobody wanting to cede an inch.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 10:52 am
@Robert Gentel,
yeah, I don't doubt any of it but I remain curious.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 10:55 am
@dyslexia,
I hate roundabouts.

passionately...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 10:59 am
That Boris Johnson is a commie, anyway . . .
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:00 am
@Rockhead,
yeah, I hate brussel sprouts, I never eat them while driving.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:01 am
@dyslexia,
cheese is best when eating while driving, unless you are with mice.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:04 am
Holland has done some really interesting studies and changes to their road system. I was at a seminar a while ago on city planning and the speakers were Dutch.
I can't give you a reference to any material, don't know were to find it, but the gist of their presentation was...
Pedestrian are more than likely to be killed by any vehicle doing 30km an hour or more, so they made all residential side streets 30 km.
In cities, most vehicular accidents take place at intersections. And most people are killed from a side impact at 50 km or more, so they made all major city streets a 50 km zone or less.
And, have made left turns almost impossible. Therefore, they've eliminated most of the major causes of injuries and have seen a dramatic decrease in all manner of accidents/deaths and injury.
I can't remember for sure, but I seem to recall them reducing the speed on major highways as well.

But you're right Robert. I couldn't imagine this working in most Asian countries either. Even in Canada, this would be a stretch. It's unfortunate, because if the Dutch can keep these stats up, there is hope for more civilized roads and less carnage.




Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:09 am
@Robert Gentel,
A Dutch town has this concept since 2005, a German town since 2007 - Iknow both places (the Dutch not before they changed), it works.

I'm not sure, though, if it really will work in larger areas - the Dutch town has a bit less than 50,000 inhabitants, the German just 15,000. But both towns have a significant through traffic.

Some big cities here (Cologne, Stuttgart and others) will start similar, but in some areas only.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:10 am
I suggest introduction of the "ROW" value-- where the person with the highest ROW value has the Right Of Way.

Your ROW value is calculated as your momentum (that is the weight of your car multiplied by how fast you are going), divided by the dollar value of your car.

This works well for me... if I am going faster than a lighter, more expensive car, then screw 'em.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:10 am
@ebrown p,
that's called beemer syndrome.

(it also factors in a self-importance ratio)
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:11 am
@Ceili,
Quote:
Even in Canada, this would be a stretch.


It is never a question of whether or not Canadians will speed--the only question is by how much they will exceed the posted limit. We just had a woman who was estimated to have been doing 170k, when she darted at an off ramp, lost it, wrecked the car, jumped out leaving four passengers behind, and then ran across the expressway and got on a local bus. The cops stopped the bus and arrested a female passenger.

Go Canada ! ! !
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:35 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
I'm not sure, though, if it really will work in larger areas - the Dutch town has a bit less than 50,000 inhabitants, the German just 15,000. But both towns have a significant through traffic.


I think this (traffic density and city culture) is the key, just about every city on earth has some intersections with no lights, where people are just expected to stop and judge for themselves when to go. But introduce more traffic and more hurried people and it gets messy.
0 Replies
 
raprap
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 11:50 am
@Rockhead,
beemer is a motorcycle---bimmer is the car. Which are you referring to? Operators of the motorcycle and the car ususlly have completely different perspectives.

Among bikers people who ride beemers are considered ok, people who drive bimmers suck.

Rap
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 12:21 pm
@raprap,
i choose bimmers for a thousand, alex...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 12:23 pm
When the lights are out around Tomball, a sizeable number of drivers bull on through the intersections. I would have to see it work to believe it's possible in Texas.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 12:26 pm
@raprap,
Motorcycles have a very low mass (i.e. low mementum). BMW motorcycles have a relatively high cost. This means they would have a very ROW score.

0 Replies
 
 

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