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Jul 16, 2013 | Think sideways

One of the interesting things about moving to a different country is that you learn to accept “new” things as pretty much ordinary, and then you start dissecting why it is “new” to you and not new to all those who have grown up with that kind of life as standard.

One example I’ve noticed is the way the Swiss road system is designed in order to slow down traffic. The photo above is just outside where I live, and you can see that the two-way road is narrowed slightly into a one-lane stretch just big enough for one vehicle to pass through. Now the most common form of slowing down traffic that I’m familiar with is using speed bumps or speedometers, and I had never seen something along these lines. It’s particularly clever because it doesn’t harm the car or create an uncomfortable experience for the driver having to drive over a minor obstacle. In some countries these sort of extended pavements end up being great opportunities to create pedestrian crossings, too, because a car approaching it would have slowed down already.

It turns out there is a whole area that addresses this idea, called traffic calming, that makes for an interesting read. All this to say – there’s really no one way to solve a problem, and it’s a daily reminder for me to think about the different ways to tackle the same problem. Sometimes the solution is in a completely different plane!

Addendum: this post was also partially inspired by “In times of change, make tires“.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 at 4:44 pm, EST under the category of Articles. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.