9.11.06

THE EVOLUTION OF COOPERATION. Insta Pundit discovers that traffic circles speed the flow of traffic. (I had a post on this some time ago: good to see others spreading the word.) The absence of traffic lights takes away the incentive to speed up and blow through the yellow (or the red: U.S. traffic lights have a time lag between the red displayed in one direction and the green displayed in the other direction, and drivers have learned to exploit that lag.)

There have been a few small collisions, but these are almost to be encouraged, [traffic planner Hans] Monderman explained. "We want small accidents, in order to prevent serious ones in which people get hurt," he said yesterday.

"It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.

"We only want traffic lights where they are useful and I haven't found anywhere where they are useful yet."

Mr Monderman, 61, compared his philosophy of motoring to an ice rink. "Skaters work out things for themselves and it works wonderfully well. I am not an anarchist, but I don't like rules which are ineffective and street furniture tells people how to behave."

In short, if motorists are made more wary about how they drive, they behave more carefully, he said.

Incentives matter.

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