Mr Lenthall on testing theories of traffic control in Stevenage
“We found a high accident rate at the traffic signal interchange, and when we studied that further, it brought us back to this point that the, the only happy person on the move is the person who can move uninterruptedly.”
And we had a wonderful opportunity to test this. One of our main primary roads comes from the east of the town and goes to the industrial area in the west of the town – Six Hills Way – and at the time when we were doing this experimental work, this road had to cross the old A1, which at that time was the national highway. And then Ministry of Transport insisted on there being traffic lights at this important crossing of the nation’s highway with one of the town’s main streets. Just a little way to the east of that main crossing was another main crossroads where two of our main roads, town main roads crossed, and Eric had imposed a roundabout solution there. So we had a situation where we had very similar traffic flows on the two sets of crossroads. We were able to do an in-depth research exercise to see how the motorist behaved at these two interchanges. We found a high accident rate at the traffic signal interchange, and when we studied that further, it brought us back to this point that the, the only happy person on the move is the person who can move uninterruptedly. So in order to try and research this more fully, we filmed the two interchanges using our time lapse techniques, and the resultant films were quite astonishing. The free flow aspect of the roundabout compared to the stop-start of the traffic signals showed us exactly why one produced more accidents than the other, although the traffic lights were more popular with the motorist than the roundabout.