Traffic lights – who needs ’em?!
What would happen if all traffic lights were suddenly switched off? Would there be chaos and traffic gridlock or would the queues of frustrated drivers miraculously disappear?
Well, in a brave attempt to find out if removing traffic lights will ease congestion, Ealing Council are putting the theory to the test! For 6 months, traffic light signals at up to seven junctions in Ealing will be concealed by orange bags and drivers will be left to negotiate their way across by establishing eye contact with pedestrians and other motorists.
Council officials believe that instead of improving the flow of traffic, traffic lights lead to unnecessary delays and may even increase danger, with drivers racing towards green lights to make it through the junction before they turn back to red.
It’s true to say that confidence of ‘right of way’ lulls most people into a false sense of security, meaning that most drivers fail to anticipate hazards coming from the sides. Therefore, Ealing Council hopes that drivers will learn to cooperate, crossing the junctions on a first-come, first-served basis rather than obeying robotic signals that have no sense of where drivers are waiting.
In some ways, I can see the logic in this – after all, when lights go out unexpectedly at some larger traffic light junctions, councils often take some time to repair them. Drivers seem to manage perfectly well. But then again, have Ealing Council not come across induction loop and traffic light sensor technology which most traffic light systems now have on them anyway? The mind boggles… but I’m looking forward to hearing the results of their test in six months time… watch this space! 🙂