|The humble stop sign: It costs about one-tenth|
of the usual monstrous array of traffic signals.
and is safer to boot.
Reintroducing TWSC would obviate countless complicated signal arrays installed at intersections with minimal cross traffic. Although this notion might strike terror into huge signal manufacturers such as Siemens, even the Transportation Engineering Institute concedes that TWSC “can accommodate low traffic volumes with much less delay than traffic signals.”
Moreover, when traffic is too heavy for TWSC, there’s still a simpler solution than planting yet more signals. This one, too, is familiar--all-way stop control, or AWSC. It’s the standard fallback arrangement when traffic signals break down: Temporary stop signs are placed on each corner of the intersection. Now, if you’ve ever noticed that traffic seems to flow more smoothly when the signals are broken than when they’re working, it’s not your imagination--the Transportation Engineering Institute confirms that “AWSC treats the cross street movements more favorably, without the wasted time associated with traffic signals.”
Implementing TWSC or AWSC is cheaper by several magnitudes than installing a traffic signal, which nowadays costs between $80,000-$100,000 or more depending on bells and whistles such as crosswalk signals and the like. Add to this the perpetual expense of maintenance and the cost of electricity to power signals 24 hours a day, and you’re talking about a serious drain on taxpayer dollars.
|A lovely traffic roundabout near my home in|
Berkeley, California, which very neatly handles
an intersection of six busy streets.
So much for the myths that keep us in thrall to signaldom. Given that America is already overrun with countless unnecessary signals, it’s reasonable to ask who really benefits from their continuing proliferation. Too often the answer is: Not you.