Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Abolish traffic lights II

A year or so ago, I featured Martin Cassini's stimulating argument for the abolition of traffic lights. Echoing Cassini, I suggested that traffic lights reduce the capacity of the road network, lengthen journey times, increase pollution, and cause accidents. This week, BBC's Newsnight programme, perhaps more interested in the environmental facets to Cassini's argument than the libertarian aspects, gave Cassini the opportunity to put his case in a fascinating film, which you can see here.

As before, I remain unconvinced that the universal abolition of traffic lights would be a good thing, but I accept the thrust of Cassini's argument, that the imposition of traffic lights should only be acceptable in special cases, if the peculiarities of particular junctions require it. In no way should traffic lights continue to be regarded as a standard solution.

1 comment:

Martin Cassini said...

Gordon, you might be interested in a sharper version of the Newsnight piece which I re-edited with some of my own material including the lights-off trial in Portishead. To upload the video I had to split it into two; each part is linked from the photos at http://www.fitroads.com. Of course at some locations, e.g. multi-lane intersections, some control might be needed, especially at peak times. But instead of imposing traffic control as a first resort, in my view it should only be used as a last. First we should explore human-scale solutions including culture change and roadway redesign to express a social context. By the way I've started a Facebook page called Roads FiT for People: http://www.facebook.com/search.php?q=Roads+FiT+for+People+page&init=quick&tas=0.6943791017205821#!/pages/Roads-FiT-for-People/162797733745248.