Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Driving Rules India-Style

In my previous article, I wrote a little bit about India and referred to the new super-cheap ($2500!) car from Tata motors. This reminded me of a rather hilarious and scary-as-hell YouTube video of traffic at an intersection in India. Please go ahead and watch it. It's intense.

(Pause while reader watches crazy video).

Ok, so why do I bring this up? What does this have to do with urban studies?

Well, obviously it's an amazing example of how it is indeed possible to have a functioning transportation network without the firm hand of the law AND without ingrained safety-minded behavior among drivers themselves. The astounding thing about this video is that there aren't any accidents during the whole thing. To be fair, accident (and fatalities resulting from them) are way higher in developing countries, India included. But still, this video should give you pause: It is possible to loosen restrictions on driving and still have a working system (crazy as it is).

In Holland, there are certain streets in which all forms of traffic are allowed, and no visual markers exist to delineate which portion of the street is available for which mode. Pedestrian, bikers (motorized and non), and cars all tool down the same street. Cars drive slow as hell, because there are people walking right in front of them. It's not exactly an efficient system from a driver's point of view, but accident rates are far lower and non-vehicular transportation modes are much more viable.


Blogger Generalissimo said...

Think about the poor soul -- bleeding in an ambulance en rout to the hospital -- stuck in that traffic. Elites in San Paolo and Moscow are making use of helicopters.

9:20 AM  
Blogger bonnie said...

My husband hates driving. I should show him this video so he can count his lucky stars!

2:16 AM  

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