German Town Gets Rid Of Stop Signs. Accidents Drop, Traffic Clears Up

November 17, 2013

It’s a concept called Shared Space. Sidewalks are removed to mimic a plaza with lines drawn to let people know where to walk. Traffic lights/signs are removed, and the only rules for drivers are: 1. don’t go too fast and 2. slower traffic stay to the right.

Many Earthlings would fear a chaotic result on roads with such few rules. But things have gone the opposite for the German city of Bohme. Areas in town where/when traffic would reliably cluster are now open, and accidents have fallen.

I’ve observed this idea of Shared Space for a few years. But here’s the Website that recently featured it:

And here’s a video story on Bohme:

Because of its success, other urban areas in Europe have implemented the idea: Frankfurt, Germany; Ostend, Belgium; and Ipswich, England. In the United States, small town Langley, Washington has worked to use these methods.

This idea of removing the regulations is politically charged in the U.S. There is constant debate about the need for more/less of it in areas of finance, business, education, health care, etc. At the crux of these debates is the question: How do humans respond when regulations are removed? The experiment of Shared Space seems to reveal that sometimes when they are, humans step up to assume the responsibility. As stated in the video, minus the stop signs and traffic lights drivers are now more alert.

It seems that determined by the response of the citizens is whether the rules were necessary. Sometimes laws help; sometimes they’re more of a hindrance to Earthling progress. Humans with differing ideologies will attest to either/or. It is important, I think, for humans to acknowledge that both sides have merit depending on the situation.



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