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Thread: Turning off traffic signals for calming: would anyone try this?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Turning off traffic signals for calming: would anyone try this?

    DISCLAIMER!! I am not a transportation planner and do not visit this topic very often, if this has previously been shared I apologize. This link was sent to me and as one who like experiments and hates traffic congestion would love to try it in the city square where I work.

    www.wimp.com/trafficlights/

    Would this work in your jurisdiction? Would your respective state transportation department or bureau approve or have heartache?
    In the Atlanta area the Georgia Department of Transportation is installing traffic lights on several interstate on-ramps as an attempt to curb (no pun intended) the amount of congestion on the interstates. The idea is to only allow a few cars to enter the flow of traffic at timed intervals during peak traffic times. If an experiment such as that in the video is completed state side and provides similar results the GDOT may have wasted a lot of money.

    Of course I know the same impact would not be felt on the interstate as this busy intersection because the direction of travel along the interstate is the same; whereas in the video the breaks in travel to allow for cross traffic is what reduces the congestion. Thus keeping the cars moving.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Seems interesting. No one in America has ever let facts get in the way of their opinion... and the following statement would close this discussion in about 30 seconds:

    Think of the children! They're all going to get run over by crazed madmen!
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    In Europe (I know that this is the case in Germany), they turn the signals off at night and during other light traffic periods. So as to not create a traffic chaos, there are signs on the standards ('STOP', 'yield' and 'you have priority') that govern whenever the signals are dark (also governing during power failures, etc).

    In the USA, the equivalent is when they are set to flashing yellow/red. OTOH, during power failures I am seeing an increasing ignorance of the USA traffic law that states that 'dark' signals are to be regarded as all-way 'STOP' signs.

    Perhaps this is something that can be looked into for future federal MUTCD updates.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Member
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    No signals? Well, New Orleans did just fine without them for several months following Katrina.

    Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=shell_waster;560272


    Would this work in your jurisdiction? Would your respective state transportation department or bureau approve or have heartache?
    In the Atlanta area the Georgia Department of Transportation is installing traffic lights on several interstate on-ramps as an attempt to curb (no pun intended) the amount of congestion on the interstates. The idea is to only allow a few cars to enter the flow of traffic at timed intervals during peak traffic times. If an experiment such as that in the video is completed state side and provides similar results the GDOT may have wasted a lot of money.

    .[/QUOTE]

    You are referring to two seperate things. Putting signals on entrance ramps has been done for decades, at least in the Bay Area. It works quite well in reducing congestion (marginally) by slowing the movement of cars onto highways. Its a standard took for highway traffic management. It may or may not work in Atlanta.

    Removing all signals and road signs etc from city streets is another thing altogether. It would be interesting to know if any place in the US has tried this.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    There are a few cities in Europe (Germany I think) that have removed all traffic signs and signals entirely. It was the proposal of a "radical" planner and I don't know how well it has fared. I think they were fairly modest sized places. See if you can find info on how that has performed.

    Perhaps not exactly on the same lines, but Seattle seems to err on the side of multi-way stop signs at intersections - even some pretty big ones. It has the effect that traffic moves consistently, even if a bit slow (which actually means you reach your destination faster and people respond better to traffic congestion when they are moving, no matter how plodding). They also use a lot of traffic circles. Having spent a good deal of time up there, I can attest that it really does work quite well and as a user, I much prefer it to signal controlled intersections. They are also very good at accommodating/managing bicycle traffic.

    Someone in the video alludes to this, but its worth noting that idling traffic in congested areas is a major contributor to poor air quality. Keep those cars moving so each one spends less time in congested areas waiting at traffic lights!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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