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Call To Eliminate All Traffic Signals and Signs 2007-01-10

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Discovery, Europe, Health, Intolerance.

In the late 1970s, Dutch traffic planner Mr.Hans Monderman experienced the kind of insight that gets people sent to an asylum.

‘Let’s eliminate all traffic signals and signs and remove the divisions between the road and sidewalk where cars and people interact. There will be fewer accidents and traffic flow will improve.’

Mr.Monderman’s approach seemed completely radical: roads that seem dangerous are safer than roads that seem safe. The concept was a smack in the face of convention.

[Picture of traffic signs]Accepted traffic planning methods date back to 1929, to Radburn, New Jersey, USA. The residential area was launched as ‘The Motor Town of the Future.’

It was, in effect, a study in near total human/traffic non-interaction. The reasoning was obvious: cars are big, fast and hard; people are slow, soft and fragile. Segregate the two and people can walk safely and cars can move quickly from A to B. The result became a model for road planners in all developed nations and a blueprint for the world.

The system had an unintended consequence: endless stop-and-go. Where drivers and pedestrians [eventually and inevitably] interact, they both face countless interruptions to their natural flow. They have to stop. Monderman’s counter theory: go slower to move faster. To help road users go with the flow, Monderman recommended bringing cars and people into greater proximity– without signs or signals. Monderman argued that human contact through the windshield creates a self-regulating and efficient traffic flow, as users negotiate with one another for right of way.

  • Monderman’s ideas were met with near biblical outrage.

The Dutchman persisted, until the Netherlands gave him permission to test his theories.

  • In several Dutch towns, engineers ripped out signs and signals, flattened sidewalks and created radical new road-flow patterns.

[Picture of Monderman scheme]The result: a statistically verified reduction in accidents and fatalities. Monderman’s success with ‘human contact flow’ has lead to changes in roadways throughout the European Union and the U.S.A.

The Senior Traffic Engineer at the Orlando community-planning firm of ‘Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart Inc’ Mr.Walter Kulash saw that outdated planning had created islands of inactivity in both suburbia and urbia.

At night, downtown areas are abandoned. During the day, outlying residential districts are desolate. People spend a lot of time driving from one to the other, usually negotiating traffic snarls.

Mr.Kulash believes in creating more efficient habitats, by manipulating street geometry and introducing mixed use of space. Working with planners intent on transforming West Palm Beach from a dead end darkworld to a 24-hour address, Mr.Kulash helped create a liveable town out of what used to be shops and parking spaces.

Developers have seen property values increase three and four-fold after Mr.Kulash’s interventions. His traffic-calming and urban design methods are helping create numerous ‘liveable traffic spaces’ across North America, where people work, live, shop, play AND drive.



1. How To Stop Traffic Jams & Save Lives « RT1 - 2007-01-28

[…] no one wants to admit it. A Dutchman actually stood up and said this –Hans Monderman (’Call To Eliminate All Traffic Signals and Signs‘ ). Monderman has successfully removed everything to create a safer, friendlier, happier and […]

2. Traffic Calming « Getting Worse - 2007-04-26

[…] solved by removing the restrictions instead of adding more restrictions, progress can be made. (see the work of Hans Monderman) […]

3. Leonard - 2008-01-12

Hans Monderman (November 19, 1945 – January 7, 2008) RIP – a true genius, perhaps one day the world will finally consign the 1963 Buchanan Report on Traffic in Towns to the rubbish bin — where it belongs, and we can start sharing spaces and living better and together as Hans thought we should.

4. Hans fan - 2008-06-24

NPR: Weekend Edition Saturday, January 19, 2008 · Bohmte, a small town in Germany, is implementing an unusual plan to decrease its traffic accident rate: Take a busy main street and strip it of road signs, curbs, sidewalks and stop lights — then mix up the cars and trucks with pedestrians and bicyclists.

5. Constant - 2010-04-09

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