Sometimes when there not a single car anywhere in sight, the red light seems like a tyrant bullying you to wait for no reason. Should we become slaves of such idiot machines? But this too is changing as the controllers of traffic lights are being programmed with sensors to make the green light come on faster when there is a dearth of traffic. The lights give the drivers a false sense of security and they speed up their vehicles through the green light. This is dangerous on sparse traffic conditions as there may be a driver on the cross road who impatiently jumps the red light and causes an accident Driveway bollards.
Traffic lights could be oppressive in crowded conditions as well. In very crowded areas like a hustling and bustling city centre, the traffic is always slow and the traffic lights are a real nuisance. The lights hinder traffic more than facilitate it. Traffic planners are realizing that it may be better to restore the traffic management to humans. In some traffic conditions the eye contact between the drivers and the pedestrians may be a better way of giving way to one another. This is proved in the Dutch town of Drachten where in 2004, the road signs and traffic lights were taken down as a part of ‘Naked Street’ experiment. Natural cautious negotiation between the motorists, cyclists and the walkers govern the streets and the number of accidents has reduced remarkably!
The new awakening has found its roots in England too! The council of Kensington and Chelsea was the first to remove traffic lights to forge modern ‘shared streetscapes’ where eye contact between motorists and simple common sense can do away with a ‘clutter’ of bollards and barriers, traffic lights, street signs, and speed cameras. The council has succeeded in turning the Exhibition Road into an open ‘naked street’ for cars and pedestrians by ‘decluttering’ of the Kensington High Street. They have pulled down the railings, removed the curbs and signs. They have however added bicycle islands and mini-roundabouts. The result is vastly reduced accidents! It shows that there is a built in regulator within us.
But for most of the roads with moderate traffic and without many pedestrians, the traffic lights will reign for a long time to come. The red light tells you to stop. It is the simplest form of instruction. I wish there were many more red lights in other forms of human activity. I wish there was a red light to signal a stop to those who have had a drink too many!
Do you have a red light which shines when you are doing something wrong? If you open your heart and search for it, you may find the red light of your conscience to guide you! It is such a good feeling to find that there is a decision signal on the journey of our life! And to me the good old red and green lights are more than just traffic controllers. They help you to find more within you. They are a blessing in disguise for a warm and secure wellness of our being!