Thursday, November 09, 2006

Is this the end of the road for traffic lights? Is this the end of the road for traffic lights?

Interesting article from the Telegraph: Is this the end of the road for traffic lights? Apparently, the Dutch town of Drachten has removed 12 of its 15 stop lights, resulting in a reduction of fatal traffic accidents. The lights are mostly replaced by traffic circles. Apparently, part of the success comes from the fact that driving is a bit more dangerous now, and everyone is driving more carefully.

I am often not a fan of traffic circles, but given the choice between them and lights, I would probably pick the traffic circles. Of course, not everyone drives more carefully around them - in Drachten, drivers also have to contend with a lot of cyclists and pedestrians. Here, in the U.S., that is not as common. Indeed, in an article in a Vail paper a year or so ago, one of the ways to identify a Vailite is how fast they enter the traffic circles that are now ubiquitous there. (Another is knowing where the name of the town and ski area came from - I was able to cheat there, since the granddaughter of the guy after whom Vail Pass was named was a good friend of my parents and went to high school with may father - with a maiden name of Vail).

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