Another town ditches traffic lights

As I’ve blogged about before, traffic engineers are starting to doubt the effectiveness of traffic lights. First, the town of Drachten in the Netherlands experienced great success with removing their traffic lights; now, Bohmte, Germany is doing the same thing:

From September 12, all traffic controls will disappear from
the center of the western town of Bohmte to try to reduce
accidents and make life easier for pedestrians.

In an area used by 13,500 cars every day, drivers and
pedestrians will enjoy equal right of way, Klaus Goedejohann,
the town’s mayor, told Reuters.

"Traffic will no longer be dominant," he said.

This is following on the success in Drachten:

Monderman’s ideas have already been implemented in the town
of Drachten in the north of the Netherlands, where all stop
lights, traffic signs, pavements, and street markings have

"It’s been very successful there," Goedejohann said, adding
that accidents in Drachten had been reduced significantly.

But then, of course, there are those who want to cling to the old ways, fearful of change and progress:

"Just because it worked in the Netherlands doesn’t mean it
will work here," said Werner Koeppe, a road specialist at
Berlin’s Technical Traffic Institute.

Gee, how often have we heard that before? And I’ll bet you anything that’s what the politicians here in America will say the same thing when it comes time to try the initiative here.

One more expression to watch out for whenever you hear a politician utter it–it’s almost never true. Yes, there are cultural differences, but human behavior isn’t that different.

1 thought on “Another town ditches traffic lights

  1. Check the shared-space account ( on youtube, some very good videos of the success of shared spaces in the Netherlands and the UK. Watch especially the two introduction videos recently added.

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