SeSam.hu

SeSam is Péter Szilágyi, Engineering Manager at Ustream, residing in Budapest, Hungary. This is his playground.

They turned traffic lights off in this junction. You wouldn’t believe what happened next.

For reasons unknown the traffic lights at the crossing next to where I live stopped working for more than a month now. They’re just flashing amber all the time. It instantly reminded me of a social experiment I have read about a while ago where a city decided to turn traffic lights off and let cars navigate following the signs only. A quick search resulted in this video of a small town in England, Portishead, where a lights-off trial happened in 2009.

I regularly use this particular intersection of Népszínház and Nagy Fuvaros streets. As a pedestrian it is definitely faster for me to get across since cars give me the right of way with only very few exceptions. Seemingly traffic flows much better and everyone seems not only more careful but even more considerate towards the others. How much better the experience is is even more apparent in the off-peak hours when cars or pedestrians used to wait for no real reason other than the lights being red.

I doubt that this behaviour is intended, though, and I’m afraid after a while the lights will be fixed.