Free to Choose

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July 2009 Blog Posts (10)

Where lies the danger?

Local councillor Rodney Cann is calling for improvements to a dangerous junction on the A361 at Westleigh. Stuart Hughes (Highways and Transportation) said, "Measures were taken last year with warning speed signs installed. It's too early to tell if it has been entirely effective and we will continue to monitor the junction." My advice? Remove priority, and re-design the junction to express equality. This will stimulate slow approach speeds. A sign is an admission of a failure. Failure to… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 29, 2009 at 23:30 — 1 Comment

Smooth as silk

Ceefax, 27.7.09, letter signed "MP, London". There is a traffic light controlled one-way system in Crayford, which is notorious for queues and delays every hour of the day. During the recent power cut affecting Dartford and Crayford the traffic lights went out and the traffic flow became as smooth as silk with no hold-ups at all. Now the lights are back on, the delays are back to normal. Traffic planners please note.

Added by Martin Cassini on July 27, 2009 at 22:36 — No Comments

JET gets lift-off

Not quite ready to go to press on this yet, but Portishead, a council near Bristol, has agreed to a Junction Efficiency Trial starting on 17 August. We'll be monitoring before and after signals switch-off at a busy junction called Cabstand for an initial period of five weeks. They are not commissioning a public awareness campaign or promo, but that might follow later if the results are promising, in which case the lights are likely to remain permanently switched off. Also I'll be pushing for… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 27, 2009 at 0:00 — No Comments

Power cut knocks out central Ipswich

The power failure was caused by a fault on the overhead electricity network. "Despite the traffic lights being knocked out of action, vehicles were still moving around the town and there were no serious congestion problems caused by the power cut." What a surprise! Full story here. Back… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 24, 2009 at 22:00 — No Comments

WMD & D (2)

(Similar version published today by Newspress.) There are some fair comments in yesterday's report from the Transport Committee, and balanced comment in some of the reactions, but no-one else seems to be pointing out that many of our congestion (and road safety) problems are caused by the traffic control system itself. Until we've seen comprehensive reform, any talk of congestion charging is premature. It's obvious to everyone except the "experts" that most traffic lights are not only badly… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 24, 2009 at 19:00 — No Comments

Speed, videotape and lies

Below is a link to a presentation by Chad Dornsife about speed limits and the law. In his view, no speed limit is legally set. Improper practices and funds diverted from safety are costing lives. Millions are suffering financially from the abuse of police powers founded on improperly established limits. If the limits were prima facie and set properly, most speed traps wouldn't have any customers. In the start-up phase of its new freeway camera enforcement program, the state of Arizona… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 19, 2009 at 13:30 — No Comments

To warn or not to warn?

Regarding our JETs (Junction Efficiency Trials - awaiting the kiss of finance for lift-off), do we give the public advance notice of a traffic lights switch-off or not? The advantage of no advance warning is the possibility of a "purer" result, with behaviour uninfluenced, and a clear reading of how people interact without formal controls. Mind you, good results have been witnessed countless times when lights are out of action, indeed it's what started me off on this quest to change the system.… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 16, 2009 at 15:46 — No Comments


Next week I'm planning a bit of filming and updating of the video, The Case against Traffic Lights, for a council meeting in 10 days' time. One of the things I might try is crossing the road with a radio mic on so I can do a walking commentary. I'm sure that if drivers only had to worry about watching the road and other road-users, things would be fine. When they saw someone trying to cross, they would slow down or wave them on. But they are torn, between a system of control…


Added by Martin Cassini on July 16, 2009 at 12:30 — No Comments

Government greenwash?

There is some good material in the DfT's grossly overdue Greener Future charter, but reform in one vital segment is missing. The segment accounts for a king-sized slice of the carbon cake. It is responsible for waste on a prodigious scale, and is run by unelected, unaccountable technocrats. It criminalises the citizenry, and turns our public realm into a stage set for conflict. The segment that needs reform? The traffic control system itself. It is built on a fatal flaw - directional priority -… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 16, 2009 at 8:30 — No Comments

Emotional Design

In Emotional Design, Donald Norman writes: “The principles for designing pleasurable, effective interaction between people and products are the same ones that support pleasurable and effective interaction between individuals.” - Our road network expresses the precise opposite of emotion. The public realm is where human beings live and interact. It is the mark of a country's civilised values. Yet we have abandoned it to technocrats who, Dementor-like, destroy its soul. They turn it into a… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on July 13, 2009 at 9:30 — No Comments

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