Monday, November 27, 2006

Traffic Rules

I live in a geographic area with lots of relatively low cost real estate. Thus, our streets are wide, and our intersections are well marked and orderly. I've lived in this area most of my life since I was old enough to drive.

Many years ago (for some reason I forget), I found myself driving to San Fransisco often and driving around in the "big city" where real estate was not so cheap, and the roads had much tighter physical constraints. I noticed something back then--the closer one got to the "chaos" of the inner city, the less the traffic rules constrained you, and the more one simply did whatever worked to get from point A to point B. One-way-streets aside, in heavy downtown areas, the rules pretty much go out the car window, and people tend to do what works to get where they need to go. I found the attitude towards the rules, comforting, and seemed to think that traffic moves as smooth as can be expected given the number of cars in such a tight space.

No doubt, others have had different down-town experiences, but this article on experiments eliminating traffic rules seems to validate my anecdotal evidence.

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