What would happen if a city got rid of its stop lights and traffic signs? Would it increase crashes or decrease them?
A Dutch traffic specialist has developed the idea of "shared space". His idea appears to be that if you remove traffic control devices that people will have to be more sensitive, more aware of others, and a kinder gentler human environment is created. It seems to have worked in one city in the Netherlands and now is being tried in Germany. What about in the United States? Are we ready for something like this? It might change the tone and style of our communal interaction.
A town council in Germany has decided the best way of improving road safety is to remove all traffic lights and stop signs downtown.
From September 12, all traffic controls will disappear from the center of the western town of Bohmte to try to reduce accidents and make life easier for pedestrians.
In an area used by 13,500 cars every day, drivers and pedestrians will enjoy equal right of way, Klaus Goedejohann, the town's mayor, told Reuters.
"Traffic will no longer be dominant," he said.
The idea of removing signs to improve road safety, called "Shared Space," was developed by Dutch traffic specialist Hans Monderman, and is supported by the European Union.