Christian Long

Gary Lauder: A New Traffic Sign

In TED Talks on April 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Extra credit reflection by HAGEN F.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Gary Lauder: A New Traffic Sign

Being a relatively new driver, this video’s title was intriguing for me. Having just recently taken a driver’s test, I was interested to see what new sign might be employed on the roads. Anyone who wants to see how his or her drive home might be a little bit faster and less of a hassle should watch this video.

What Lauder proposes that we do is create a more effective traffic that cuts unnecessary costs of the daily stop signs and stoplights.

The inefficiency of stop signs and stoplights brings a lot of unnecessary cost to Americans and her drivers. Not only does the delay of stop signs slightly annoy us, but if you take I to account the slight cost of stop signs and stoplights, it can really add up. Roundabouts are less costly and allow for the continuation of traffic. Continuing traffic does not allow for acceleration, which saves gas and time. Roundabouts are the best ways to supplant everyday stop signs and stoplights, but they are costly and space consuming. The long-term costs of stop signs and stoplights on the drivers and cars, outweighs the initial coast of roundabouts. Roundabouts cannot always fit in a certain area and may be too space consuming. To make roadway travel better and more efficient, there must be a new type of road sign.

Lauder’s idea is to create a “take turns” sign that would allow for more ease to drivers on the busy roads. The “take turns” sign allows the busy, more traversed road to continue with traffic until the small road, that provides access to the busy road, has a car. Then the busy road would stop and the cars waiting on the access road would enter onto the street. This would be better because instead of forcing cars on the busy road to stop no matter if there is a car on the access road, those cars on the busy road could continue to go. Little things like the “take turns” sign would cut slight cost and time expenses, and make the roadway less of a stop-and-go kind of roadway.

There are some negative aspects to the introduction of the taking turns sign.

The first would be that if a “take turns” sign was to be used for a four-way intersection, then each road would think that they had the right-of-way. Every four-way intersection would have to have no blind spots so that cars coming from the north direction to the intersection could see if other cars were coming from the east or west direction. If either car could not see the other car coming form their side direction, then they would think that no car is coming and would continue to the intersection without slowing down. Then either an accident or loud screeching of breaks would have to occur. Thus the “taking turns” sign would be less of an advantage. Roundabouts decrease the number of accidents, but their design allows for a better vantage point of cars already in the circular roadway. Another, less serious, negative to the take turns sign would be if drivers on the busy road were unwilling to stop and let the car on the smaller road access the busy road. This is not such a terrible negative because sooner or later some kind soul would stop and let the other car enter on to the busy road. People on the less traversed road may be stuck at that intersection for a less then ideal amount of time.

In the end, the positive aspects of the “taking turns” sign outweigh the negative aspects.

Creating the taking turn intersections would be cheap and require very little labor, in contrast, adding the more efficient roundabouts would be costly, time-consuming, and cause detours and hassle for day-to-day commuters. Adding taking turns signs would decrease cost of gas and loss of time and create a more efficient roadway system for Americans.

  1. This is a very good summary of my presentation. One fact that my time constraint did not allow me to include was that there should only be at most 2 Take Turns signs at an intersection, and they need to be on the same road. The supplemental info document that his here: gives that and other info.



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