Anarchy on the road?

Every time I talk to government worshiping progressive/liberals they sooner or later bring out the fact that they just can not imagine people having roads and traveling without the State making it happen by controlling the traffic flow. Progressives are the ultimate control freaks. Apparently they think that people never traveled until the State invented traffic signs and traffic lights, but we have examples of traffic flowing in an uncontrolled manner. It turns out that Europeans have been experimenting in various places with doing away with red lights and stop signs to see what would happen. Surprise!

As explained in this one article which is just one example, road anarchy is a good thing:

Drachten, a small Dutch city with around 50,000 residents has removed almost all of its traffic lights. Major intersections have been converted to roundabouts, smaller intersections just let drivers work make decisions on their own. Basically, it’s anarchy. Anarchy that has completely eliminated dangerous crashes and road fatalities and created a surge in bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

Crashes still happen, but they have all been fender benders. The architect of the project, Dr Hans Monderman explained, “We want small accidents, in order to prevent serious ones in which people get hurt.” Instead of relying on a set of hard rules, drivers are asked to take their safety, and the safety of others, into their own hands. The result is that people are more aware, more careful and drive slower, but are far less frustrated while driving. Bikes and walkers now rule the roads and can pretty much travel non-stop around townThe Telegraph recently reported that residents are very pleased with the program. Tony Ooorstward, a resident, says, “everybody is learning. I am a walker and now you are the boss at the crossroads, everyone waits for you. But at the same time pedestrians wait until there are a number wanting to cross at the same time.”

The anarchy in Drachten is being expanded. Their last three traffic lights will be removed in the next two years, and, in some places, road paint is being removed as well.

Anarchy seems to breed courtesy, in Holland at least, and at the very least, it increases awareness. Maybe this is the first step toward an actual blended transportation system, where bikes pedestrians and cars treat each other with appropriate respect. An act as simple as removing an object that everyone hates anyway could be a solution to a lot of our problems.

This is not a brand new idea. I first read of this movement years ago. And remember, it is traffic planners who are embracing this idea and not just some crazed anarchists. And this one story is not the only one out there. My search on traffic lights removed gave me 8 million hits. A top one was by the BBC (here). And another good one here by DW.

People cooperating voluntarily works in all sorts of settings. This is just more proof.


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