Can Turning Off Traffic Lights Reduce Congestion?

By Stephen Markley  on September 2, 2009

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/765x765/10/-1926303969-1425510057710. The city of London is about to embark upon an experiment: It will try to ease congestion issues by turning off traffic lights and letting drivers fend for themselves.

The Westminster City Council, in conjunction with the organization Transport for London, will shut off the traffic lights at a Westminster intersection for a two-week period. It will use closed-circuit cameras and license-plate recognition technology to monitor the response of traffic.

Sure, it sounds nuts, but towns in Holland, Denmark and Belgium all have had what they call “naked streets” for years now. The idea is that when you remove the crutch of traffic signals, drivers tend to be more alert, courteous and safe in their maneuvers. For instance, the town of Drachten, Holland, saw accidents at one intersection fall from 36 over a four-year period to just two in the two years since the lights were removed.

London, however, will be the first major city to attempt a naked street. The city could turn off up to 20% of its 400-plus traffic lights if the experiment proves successful, according to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

What do you think? Would you feel safe driving in a city or town with streets free of traffic lights?

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