Monthly Archives: June 2012

Harry Potter on common law

In The Strange Case of the Law (BBC2), criminal defence barrister, Harry Potter (who keeps his wig in a Quality Street tin), says that English common law was “this country’s greatest gift to the world”.  Our traffic control system looked that … Continue reading

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Pedestrian safety v traffic flow?

A letter in today’s Telegraph says pedestrian safety is more important than traffic flow, and longer green time is the only way to improve pedestrian safety. No. Equality is a panacea: with equal rights and responsibilities, road-users coexist as equals. In the intrinsically safe framework created … Continue reading

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Designing for danger

Traffic officers run a system that’s intrinsically dangerous, then devise expensive controls to mitigate the danger. But inevitably they fail, because all they are doing is treating the symptoms of the problem they created in the first place. If they dealt with … Continue reading

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Catch-22

The scientific method requires proof by experimentation. How do you prove that equality-based self-control is safer and more efficient than formal control, when the highway authorities who can give permission for meaningful experiments refuse it? They have a vested interest in the … Continue reading

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Traffic control causes congestion

Monmouth. A40 southbound approaching the A466 (Wye Valley/Tintern Abbey route). Got caught there in diabolical congestion five years ago. Heading north to Ross-on-Wye last Friday, we saw the same half-mile 3-lane tailback and were reminded of it. Luckily we returned early Sunday … Continue reading

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Designing for danger

The priority-based system is designed for danger (unequal rights, conflicting speeds, distracting signals, etc), then traffic officers devise increasingly expensive systems (more of the above, pedestrian countdown, etc)  to mitigate the danger they themselves have cooked up. You can of course design … Continue reading

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Brassed off

Today I was timing the traffic lights in Braunton (near Barnstaple) where I still have plans despite a refusal from Devon Highways to agree a lights-off trial. (The trial is to prove the obvious: that we’re better off under self-control, … Continue reading

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Equality = no austerity

Does Will Hutton have a tendency to exaggerate bad news? In this piece, he quotes economics professor, Yanis Varoufakis: “There is zero chance of austerity working. It’s like thinking you can escape gravity by waving your arms up and down.” … Continue reading

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Wind or traffic lights?

Proposed cuts to windfarm subsidies are rattling recipients, and challenging government claims to be “the greenest ever”. No less a seer than James Lovelock rubbished the claims made for wind power. I’m blue from saying it, but not only can … Continue reading

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