4 1 min 10 yrs

This is a great example of spontaneous order. In Portishead, near Bristol, people assumed that government planning is necessary to ward off anarchy on the roads. But take away the government control and it’s quite remarkable how much better things are –

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  1. Interesting video.

    There has always been this type of courtesy / common sense at traffic circles (roundabouts ) or other loosely regulated intersections.

    Maybe there should be more expeiments like this.

  2. I’d not flog the tired ” government ” horse yet again here.

    There are a number of private highways in the world. They all have traffic control I would think.

    As do many large private parking lots, shipping docks etc, private local roads at airports and big resorts. They have stop and yield signs, and some have traffic lights too. We’ve all seen these controls, which the private operator expects to be obeyed.

    This is a human behavior issue, and you cede the argument when you drag the all purpose govt boogeyman into it.

  3. Well of course it works on a bright, dry sunny day, but wait until winter when it’s dark at 5pm, foggy or driving rain.
    See if it works then….

  4. Interesting alright, but hard to believe it would work at all junctions. Maybe it would if junctions were redesigned, but how many times have you come to a junction that is more chaotic than usual, only to get to the front and find the lights aren’t working?

    For example there is a junction in a village near us which is a crossroads (with lights), and at rush hour all four approaches are backed up, and there are cars (and sometimes buses and trucks) wanting to turn left and right or go straight through at all the approaches. To top it off, two of the junction approaches are at a bit of an offset so that two of the corners are blind, and cars turning right tend to cut the corners. *With* the lights, it’s bedlam, and I can’t imagine taking the lights away would improve matters. But it would be interesting to see the experiment.

    Traffic is a problem that defies intuition anyway. Also for every example of spontaneous order there’s umpteen examples of spontaneous jams where the traffic ought to flow freely. Sometimes something as simple as a car changing lanes on a motorway can result in a jam that intuition says shouldn’t happen at all, yet persists for hours.

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