Slowing Traffic the Unconventional Way

When you sign up for a new car, the last thing that is on your mind is probably running over a pedestrian.  Yet it happens and the question remains whether or not road markings or road signs can make our roads safer.

 

The clutter of traffic lights, road markings, traffic signs and speed cameras can ruin the rural ambiance of even the most beautiful small town.  According to an innovative new report, all of these could actually serve to make drivers drive even faster.

 

The report, entitled Traffic in Villages, suggests that small towns adopt a psychological approach to resolving traffic issues.  A few tables next to a busy street outside a pub or a cafˆ or a chalk drawing to warn that there is a school nearby will cause drivers to react instinctively and reduce speed immediately.

 

According to the report many existing road markings and signs can then be removed, which will improve traffic flow and restore the character of the town.  The psychology behind the report is similar to that used in a car park: although there might be no road signs the presence of children, trolleys and shoppers make people instinctively drive slower.

 

Ben Hamilton-Baillie, the man who wrote the report, says his recommendations will improve the relationship between drivers and pedestrians.  A narrow road, a change in the road's surface or a few market stalls works, he says, "because what you're doing is welcoming the driver as part of the village.  It appears to change the perception and expectations in the drivers' mind."

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