Thursday, August 02, 2007

End congestion on our roads!

I live in a fairly good sized city and have to deal with traffic jams on a daily basis. That's when I started looking for the root cause of traffic congestion. After studying the situation for a few months it became apparent that, once again, government regulation is to blame.

Local governments across the country have, over time, installed a myriad of traffic controls such as traffic signals, stop signs, yield signs, one way signs and the occasional police officer directing traffic. These traffic controls are akin to price controls. They don't work. Price controls lead to shortages, traffic controls lead to congestion.

Instead of having a nanny state that tries to "protect" you, we would be better served with a market approach to navigating our roads. Allowing individuals to take personal responsibility over traffic decisions will lead to efficiency as people will naturally choose the fastest and safest method to arrive at their destination.

For instance, how many times have you been stuck at a red light while there is no cross traffic? Why are we leaving the decision to cross the intersection to some colored lights? Let's let the individual decide.

Or how many times have you been on the highway when the "northbound" lanes are jammed up and the "southbound" lanes are wide open? Wouldn't it make more sense for the individual to decide which lane should go in what direction rather than some arbitrary rule posted on a sign?

A market based approach would also lead to underperformers being taken out of the marketplace. This will lead to fewer vehicles on the road and will further ease traffic congestion.

It seems ridiculous that we ever implemented traffic controls when you put serious thought into it. But when you are raised with something, no matter how nonsensical, it often takes a long time to realize that there is a better way.

So, it's time to start petitioning your mayors to start removing all traffic controls. They are worse than useless; they are taking up our valuable time!


At 8/06/2007 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like having to pull over everytime a pesky fire truck or ambulance wants to pass. I'll just bet all the fines I've paid -- for not pulling over -- go right into the accounts of our crooked politicians and overpaid firemen.

At 8/06/2007 10:28 PM, Blogger Kirk said...

Anonymous: That's why those services are public. So, politicians can line their pockets. If fire and ambulance were privatized you wouldn't have to pull over and the companies would still get their workers to the scene much faster and at a greatly reduced cost. Once we introduce competition, the companies may even pay you to put out your fire or perform your heart transplant while en-route to the hospital.

At 8/11/2007 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8/16/2007 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

私は残念である。 私は去る。

At 8/18/2007 11:21 AM, Blogger Kirk said...

Anonymous: Your terrorist threats don't frighten me. Stick to your local Iranian sites.


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