Free to Choose

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September 2009 Blog Posts (12)

The C-word

As predicted, the Portishead lights-off trial has seen congestion disappear and courtesy thrive. Public spending cuts are usually linked to deprivation, but cutting counterproductive traffic controls would disadvantage no-one except traffic officials who have fed off our misery and will have richly earned their redundancy.

Added by Martin Cassini on September 19, 2009 at 11:00 — No Comments

Fatal crash at lights

If there had been no lights at the scene of this fatal crash, would the "accident" have taken place, or, in the absence of priority and lights, would people have been approaching carefully, interacting sociably, and filtering safely? Story here. [Back tab to return to site.]

Added by Martin Cassini on September 18, 2009 at 13:00 — No Comments

Communicating danger on the road

Man in a convertible sports car. Woman in a convertible driving the other way gesticulates and yells, PIG! He yells back, BITCH! Rounding the bend, he crashes into a HUGE PIG in the middle of the road.

Added by Martin Cassini on September 17, 2009 at 12:00 — No Comments

Portishead (Cabstand) traffic trial

Day 2. For motorists it's a dream. Chronic consecutive queueing has given way to sociable simultaneous filtering. The congestion conjured by traffic controls has vanished into thin air. "It's a million times better," said the owner of an estate agency on the junction. "Fabulous," said Olivia Jackson, a passer-by, echoing the views of many. But Ken Rossiter, partially sighted, said driver re-education should have preceded the trial. My sentiments too: I proposed an accompanying public awareness… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on September 15, 2009 at 20:00 — No Comments

Red light for red-light cameras?

A meta-analysis by the Institute of Transport Economics in Norway found that red-light cameras (RLCs) lead to an overall increase in accidents of about 15%. Rear-end collisions went up by about 40%, right angle collisions down by about 10%. It concludes: "RLCs may reduce crashes under some conditions, but on the whole they do not seem to be a successful safety measure."

Added by Martin Cassini on September 11, 2009 at 20:15 — No Comments

Down under going backwards

On traffic control, that is. When most sentient beings are at least starting to see the light about traffic lights and thinking about removing them, the villain of this piece wants more of the things! So last century.

Added by Martin Cassini on September 10, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

North Devon Journal

Below is a link to the latest of three mentions in the local press about my proposed lights-off trial for the potentially charming village of Braunton, near Barnstaple. The reporter quotes me accurately only in parts. So far, reader comments reveal old thinking from inside the box marked priority'. Article here. (Back tab to return.)

Added by Martin Cassini on September 5, 2009 at 22:30 — No Comments

Portishead JET

A pioneering lights-off trial is due to start on Monday, 7 September. It's lower key than Westminster's, but potentially influential. It's the Cabstand junction in Portishead: a double junction, consisting of two adjacent T-junctions, although one also has a petrol station entrance and exit. Currently there are four sets of lights, and separate red/green stages for pedestrians. We will monitor normal conditions, i.e. with lights, for a week, then the lights go off and we'll monitor the results… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on September 5, 2009 at 9:30 — No Comments


The Westminster lights v no lights trial is causing concern, e.g. Labour Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg: “The ‘experts’ say that removing traffic lights will speed up traffic. Well, that might be so, but how are pedestrians going to cross the road if the traffic is flowing without a break? These latest moves by Westminster Conservatives and Mayor Johnson are bad news for older people, young children, the disabled and parents with prams ... If the Council wants to experiment by scrapping traffic… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on September 5, 2009 at 9:00 — 1 Comment

Freedom and morality - a fraught or happy marriage?

In Thought for the Day, referring to City pay, Rev Dr Giles Fraser (former philosophy tutor at Wadham College, Oxford) said there is a tendency for freedom of the individual to be a cuckoo's licence to kick out other moral values; a moral dimension is needed to frame or refine it (words to that effect). So he sees a conflict between freedom and the common good. Applied to traffic, I see them as perfectly bedfellows. Freedom stimulates mutual tolerance. Self-interest…


Added by Martin Cassini on September 5, 2009 at 9:00 — No Comments

Engineering support

Looking something up, I re-read this letter by Keith Ray in response to my 2006 Telegraph piece, Rip Them Out - In the 1960s I studied engineering at Cambridge. A third-year project sought to improve traffic flow at the notorious Fen Causeway, Lensfield Road, Trumpington Street, Trumpington Road junction, a staggered crossroads producing severe congestion. The brightest young brains of the time never found a solution. A year after I graduated, there was a system failure and for several… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on September 1, 2009 at 14:30 — No Comments

Credit where it's not due?

The Sunday Times were going to do a piece on our JET (Junction Efficiency Trial), but they pulled it because the story was leaked to The Telegraph. The Telegraph piece says nothing about the origins of the trial, which followed intense lobbying by me. Westminster commissioned us (my traffic engineer partner and me) on 8 April. I was asked not to talk to the press, and things have been subject to numerous delays since. Strangely, TfL, who have continually blocked my proposals for a trial… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on September 1, 2009 at 11:30 — No Comments

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