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Seeing red over unnecessary traffic signals

Urban planning's black eye

Editor's note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series. See Part 1.Last time we looked at why so many American traffic engineers continue to install vast and expensive signal arrays on virtually every urban intersection -- even those that are small and insignificant, and even though most of these signals work poorly at best.It's a pointless and wasteful practice, and doubly so in this era of tight civic budgets. But don't take my word for it -- ask the exceptionally clear-headed traffic department in Arlington, Va.: "Installed under inappropriate conditions, a traffic signal is ineffective, inefficient, and a potential danger to motorists and pedestrians. Signals that are installed when no legitimate need exists often generate an increase in vehicle stops, traffic delays, fuel consumption, traffic accidents, and motorist disrespect for other traffic signals." On its website, the Arizona Department of Transportation puts it even more bluntly: "Traffic signal...

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