Lots of research supporting removing excess traffic signs

Chris Gilbert
Wednesday September 28, 2016 - 01:58:00 PM

 Re: “The city of Berkeley plans to remove a hundred or more stop signs as a "traffic calming" measure” 
There’s been lots of research about the disadvantages of too many stop and other traffic signs. The Netherlands and other countries have been at the forefront of getting rid of “excessive” signs. What researchers have found is that “[d]rivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously.”(1) ‘"When you don't exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users,'' he said. ''You automatically reduce your speed, you have contact with other people and you take greater care."’ (2) 

Personally, we see this every day where drivers speed through the yellow, and even just-turned-red, traffic lights going up Marin, counting on the delay before cross-traffic takes its turn. If there were no lights at all it would be hard to imagine anyone speeding through an intersection. While this is an extreme example, as a bike rider (I’m not sure how many readers of the Planet are regular bicyclists), it is painful to have to stop at every block on a relatively lightly trafficked street such as Milvia because of the excess of stop signs, mostly at intersections where all four directions have a stop sign.  

In fact, it’s gotten to the point that now at intersections its necessary to have additional signage saying that, in those rare places where there is not a four-way stop, the cross-traffic does not have a stop sign, so that stopped drivers don’t start through the intersection thinking that cross-traffic will stop. So more instructions are required once four-way stop intersections are in place. 


(1) http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/controlled-chaos-european-cities-do-away-with-traffic-signs-a-448747.html 

(2) http://www.dw.com/en/european-towns-remove-traffic-signs-to-make-streets-safer/a-2143663 

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