Thursday, December 23, 2004

How to Make Things Safer? Remove Warnings

Counter-intuitive, but it makes sense.
Wired magazine ran an interesting featurette last month about a fellow called Hans Monderman, who’s been a highway engineer in northern Holland for the last three decades. A year or two back, he had an epiphany. As Wired’s Tom McNichol puts it, ‘Build roads that seem dangerous, and they’ll be safer.’

In other words, all the junk on the streets — signs for everything every five yards, yellow lines, pedestrian crossings, stop lights, crash barriers, bike lanes — by giving the illusion of security actually makes driving more dangerous. The town of Christianfield in Denmark embraced the Monderman philosophy, removed all the traffic signs and signals from its most dangerous intersection, and thereby cut the number of serious accidents down to zero. These days, when you tootle towards the junction, there are no instructions from the transport department to tell you what to do; you have to figure it out for yourself, so you approach it cautiously and with an eye on what the other chaps in the vicinity are up to.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?