Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Traffic Lights and Roundabouts in Langley

One of the interesting things that I’ve noticed in Langley is that people demand traffic lights in areas where they might not be warranted. There is a new set of lights at Old Yale Road and Fraser Highway in the City and other random lights on 16th Avenue in the Township. I was heading to the US with some friends the other day and we got talking about how the Township likes its random traffic lights, most of which were installed for political reasons.

The interesting thing about traffic lights is that when you signalize an intersection, you actually make it more dangerous. Peer-reviewed studies show that a safer form of intersection is actually the roundabout as it can decreases accident risk by 44%. Roundabouts also decrease GHG emissions. So the question is why are we still installing traffic lights left, right, and centre instead of installing roundabouts? In older parts of town where space is limited a signalize intersection makes sense, but installing traffic lights should be the last resort for any other intersection.

So next time someone demands a traffic light be installed, just remember that it will actually make things worse from a human health and safety standpoint.

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