News Item:
European cities do away
with traffic signs

There’s an interesting experiment taking root in Europe.  Some towns are eliminating all forms of traffic control, including stop signs and red lights.  The theory is that there are just too many signs and regulations, and we humans, as a species, are prone to rebel.  Subconciously, we just don’t like being told what to do, and ignoring a traffic sign is a way to beat the system.

Hans Monderman, of the Netherlands, is a proponent of the idea that by lifting the controls, drivers and pedestrians interact, giving way to each other with gestures and hand signs.  Psychologists agree, stating that over-regulation has made drivers and pedestrians adversaries.  We’ve also reinterpreted the rules, redefined what the lights and signs mean.  A yellow light now simply means go fast, a red light means you should go faster, and STOP is just shorthand for Slight Tap On Pedal.

In towns where the experiment has already been tried, the accident rates are actually down, so maybe they’re onto something here.  If you’re travelling to Europe, and don’t see any signs, be sure to look for other cars instead. I’d be curious to see how it would work here in the US.  Have you tried to get around City Hall in Philadelphia lately?

Full Story: Spiegel International

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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