Saturday, June 28, 2014

Paging Walter Block: Who Needs Government Traffic Lights?

Meskel Square, is the nerve center of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. According to the youtube summary, it is often the site chosen by the Ethiopians for festivals and celebrations but it also is a chaotic crossroads where thousandsof vehicles cross daily.

Also, checkout the people crossing the intersection, without walk signs.

Walter Block is author of The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors.


  1. I remember seeing a great example of this in England, where a terrible intersection had its lights go out, and traffic flow improved. The city engineers decided to perform an experiment, and kept the lights off...

  2. It would be interesting to know how many deaths and injuries occur at this intersection.

    1. From someone I know who lives there, the road death rate in Ethiopia is very high. However I don't know if that is biased by poor road and vehicle conditions through much of the country or is a city driven figure.

      What I have learned in 20+ years of study on the topic of driving is there are two ways that seem to work really well. One is no control at all, Hans Monderman style for dense traffic on urban and suburban local roads. The other is self-organized, self-disciplined driving which really makes limited access highways work extremely well. (think German Autobahn) Both of course require proper road design and education/experience of the drivers.

      I suppose the common thread in both is treating people as intelligent adults. What doesn't work is dumbing things down and using force to bring about compliance on some things but not others.

    2. JimmyJM- have you read about the experiments in UK and NE and others that showed that shutting off traffic lights, removing stop/yield signs, FORCING people to stop, look around, and then cautiously proceed through the intersection?

      Today, most car accident bullshit is caused by idiots refusing to take responsibility, ignorance of the "Rules of the Road" and a legal system that protects them, not you.