Mr Lenthall on how best to keep traffic moving in Stevenage

Mr Lenthall reveals the reason for the high number of roundabouts in Stevenage, and how they rank against Traffic Lights

Stevenage Museum

Mr Lenthall reveals the reason for the high number of roundabouts in Stevenage, and how they rank against Traffic Lights

Transcript:

So Eric had formed this opinion quite early on, that the happy motorist was the motorist you kept on the move. Now we, this began to fit in, this fitted in very nicely with the understanding we later had of how people move around and their requirements, and it was confirmed in all sorts of ways.  I remember one very interesting conversation we had with a taxi driver, whose main occupation, living in Hertfordshire, was to take people to London airport.  We said to him “What’s your, your plan of action?  Do you go direct to London airport with your customers – because quite often they, they want to catch a particular plane, and there are congestion problems as you approach the airport – what do you do?” And he said, “No, the important criteria is to keep on the move. Doesn’t matter what speed you move at; as long as you keep moving, the customers are happy.”  So he said, “I have all sorts of routes which I know I can use according to the traffic conditions in order to keep moving.”  And we thought this, this was very very interesting. So Eric Claxton’s had this same concept; that you should keep the motorist on the move.  He felt very strongly that if the motorist is kept on the move, he or she doesn’t become agitated and agitation creates accidents. So he looked at the problem of major interchanges. How do you solve crossroad problems? And he felt that traffic lights was a bad solution because the traffic light deliberately interrupts the flow in one direction, and if you interrupt the flow, you frustrate your motorist, and a frustrated motorist is an angry motorist, and you get problems.  And he was sure that there was a better solution to this, and he was sure that the roundabout was a better solution to this. And so he pushed very hard for a town with no traffic lights, but only roundabouts at its major crossroads.

Lenthall 1986

This page was added on 21/10/2015.

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