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Creative Destruction of Signs

FlowCreative Destruction seems to completely misunderstand the results of removing signs from streets, as first mentioned here. Sameer writes:

But the question no one seems to address is what impact this has on traffic? Maybe this works in towns where there are only a few cars on the road and traffic is not an issue, but traffic control devices don’t just exist to improve safety, they exist to increase road throughput! This appears like a recipe for gridlock! I can’t say for sure that this is the case, however, because NONE of the press accounts have read have said anything about the impact this has had on traffic. They didnt say it got worse, they didn’t say it got better — they are simply silent on the question. I know it is old hat to complain about how useless our news media is these days, but really. They are useless.

Strange conclusion when you consider how moving at a constant rate increases throughput versus having regulated intermittent traffic flow. In fact, most drivers I know curse at the stop signs and lights that burden them with unnecessary stops and gridlock where there could be even flow. Ever wait at a light for no apparent reason?

This is proven out in the wave theory of traffic congestion, not to mention the practical application of roundabouts versus stoplights. If you can keep everyone moving, albeit somewhat carefully and at a reduced rate, you increase the throughput of traffic. It is only when intelligent signalling is applied (think switching based on complex addressing, which we simply do not have for cars) that stop-and-go signs begin to approximate the throughput of fluid systems.

Also, the articles say that this is just the start of some experiments but so far accidents have decreased. I don’t know why that is not sufficient empirical data for Sameer, but there will surely be more data forthcoming as other cities adopt the same strategy.

I suppose it is most amusing, actually, that Sameer jumps from a dead-end in his search for answers in a simple news reporter’s story to the conclusion that all news media are useless. That makes me think he might also go into a shop for lunch, not find the exact sandwich he is seeking, and therefore decide that all restaurants are useless.

Posted in Food, Security.


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