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Removing Signals and Signs from Intersections Just Might Make Us Safer

The Shared Spaces theory has started to catch on in Europe, but will Americans ever buy it?
relates to Removing Signals and Signs from Intersections Just Might Make Us Safer
Gary Toth

Two years ago, Gary Toth and several other staffers from the Project for Public Spaces traveled to the Netherlands to look at intersections. A handful of towns there have embraced a radical idea, originally the brainchild of the late Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman: Remove all the traffic lights, signs, curbs and lane markings from roads, and people will share them more effectively.

Drivers, bikers and pedestrians will make eye contact with one another. They’ll cooperate. They’ll move through public space with a greater sense of its communal utility. In Europe, the result has proven to be safer and more efficient – and more social – for everyone involved.