Saturday, July 3, 2010

Counterintuitive Thinking at Its Best - Traffic

How would you control traffic and drivers? How would you make roads safer? How would you lower the number of accidents and control speeding? How would you make drivers act like responsible adults instead of selfish children?

If you ignore the last question the answer would seem to be: more signs, more intersections, more speed bumps, and more ways to restrict and control traffic. All that seems the right thing to do. Treat drivers like moronic children who don't know what to do and force them to follow the rules.

What if the answer is completely the opposite. What if fewer signs are used? What if roads are changed to alter behaviour? What if we treat drivers like responsible adults?

The Traffic Guru gives an overview of the ideas of Hans Monderman. He thought that the best way to influence traffic was not to try and impose crushing control. Quite the opposite. I have no idea if we'll ever get ideas like those put in place on a large scale but it would be an interesting experiment.

Who knows, it's so crazy it just might work.

1 comment:

Janet said...

One of the small cities I lived in didn't have stop signs at the intersections in the residential neighbourhoods. It always unnerved me, but it never caused any problems.

And that was in the US, so maybe North America could handle this type of traffic control then they think.