Less is more…

Piers Young spots an interesting article in Wired: Roads Gone Wild. Here’s some of Piers’ summary…

The trouble with traffic engineers is that when there’s a problem with a road they always try to add something ” Monderman says. “To my mind it’s much better to remove things.”

Monderman was let loose on a junction at Drachten. Two busy two-lane roads (20,000 cars a day), plus thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians, and he replaced it with a roundabout. In the process he ripped out the traffic lights, the road markings and the pedestrian crossings but it apparently works well.

“Pedestrians and cyclists used to avoid this place, but now, as you see, the cars look out for the cyclists, the cyclists look out for the pedestrians, and everyone looks out for each other. You can’t expect traffic signs and street markings to encourage that sort of behavior. You have to build it into the design of the road.”

And the steps to building better junctions (for which I’m reading network hubs)

1. Remove signs: The architecture of the road – not signs and signals – dictates traffic flow.

2. Install art: The height of the fountain indicates how congested the intersection is.

3. Share the spotlight: Lights illuminate not only the roadbed, but also the pedestrian areas.

4. Do it in the road: Cafés extend to the edge of the street, further emphasizing the idea of shared space.

5. See eye to eye: Right-of-way is negotiated by human interaction, rather than commonly ignored signs.

6. Eliminate curbs: Instead of a raised curb, sidewalks are denoted by texture and color.

Piers also links to Jerry, who’s collecting more such tales. (See also my earlier post on Naked Roads)

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