Libertarian Traffic Design
With the cost of gasoline once again shooting skyward people are choosing different modes of transportation other than gas guzzling autos. Bicycle sales have surged along with sales of walking shoes. Officials across the country are looking into ways to make their cities more pedestrian friendly, and more importantly, pedestrian safe. One way this issue is being addressed in the UK is to impose a libertarian design on traffic policy, meaning a removal of the typical types of traffic control. It can be argued that the more restrictive traffic control is the lazier the motorist will be, relying on flashing red and green traffic signals instead of a personal awareness of their surroundings. While I tend to agree with that assessment, I also can’t honestly say that as a pedestrian or cyclist I would trust my safety to motorist responsibility alone. I’ve watched enough confused motorists in our city’s new roundabouts to know that confused drivers are not necessarily more alert, attentive, or cautious drivers. Designing streets for combined use by pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists has to be done carefully. Just removing all signs and signals won’t work.