Auckland Traffic Lights vs No Traffic Lights - Videos


Check out this comparison of how Auckland motorists coped without traffic lights last week when the power went out - and the next day when the lights were on.

The intersection was Union and Wellington where there are sometimes ramp signals in use - but on the last few occasions when power has failed, I’ve been amazed to see how humans cope well and even be kind enough to give way to others as well as manage getting about themselves without difficulty. In fact traffic feels as if it runs more smoothly without lights.

This split screen video shows the intersection on power cut afternoon, last Monday, and the same intersection at the same time the next day:

And here is the video of just the day the power was off last Monday at rush hour with no lights:

I wrote recently about how Auckland traffic lights are badly co-ordinated but that ARTA and the Auckland Traffic Management Unit have begun working with infrastructure consultancy firm GHD to create a regional route optimisation programme for Auckland.

It’s an interesting debate.

MORE: No street signs. No crosswalks. No accidents. Surprise: Making driving seem more dangerous could make it safer. (See Wired article)
European cities do away with traffic signs (See De Spiegel article)




  1. Su Yin says:

    I know this intersection well! It’s such a nightmare.

  2. Henderson Kid says:

    The way Westies drive out my way, they dont care whether there are traffic lights or not!

  3. Ingolfson says:

    Uhmmm, this instersection is the worst (or the best, depending on how you see it) possible example of discussing the advantages and disadvantages of traffic signals.

    That’s because the main queue here is created by the motorway on-ramp signals, which feeds all the way back into this one. So this cannot be compared with a normal inner city intersection.

    So why don’t I feel this is relevant? Because the motorway signals have a function that most people don’t realise - or don’t like. They are a safety valve to let the MOTORWAY keep flowing. When the motorway gets congested, additional flows on are limited, thus keeping speeds and movement up on the motorway, preventing (at least up to a certain point) it from reaching the tipping point, where a real traffic jam develops.

    Seeing that motorways are supposed to be longer-distance traffic, and seeing that the on-ramp signals have been shown to increase overall traffic capacity by 2-5% (!), they are doing their work.

    So while I am for less signals in town, this example is a bad one - yes, traffic at the intersection may flow better. But on the motorway, it gets worse.


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