Saturday, September 15, 2007

Libertarian Europe

What do you know!?

[The town of Bohmte in the German state of Lower Saxony] is getting rid of its road signs in a bid to cut accidents...According to the concept, road users have to negotiate their behavior with each other, rather than have it prescribed by rules -- the idea being that people will pay more attention to what other road users are doing and hence cause fewer accidents.

I'd heard of this concept before. It's developed by the Dutch traffic expert Hans Monderman, and Mark Steyn refers to it in America Alone (p186-7) as part of his argument against relying on the Authorities for our major (or any) decisions. In this specific passage, he's contrasting the reactions of the passengers on United Flight 93 and those of the other victims, who followed the rules laid down by the state.

The biggest surprise for me in this news about Bohmte is that the project is supported and part-financed by the European Union. It's already been adopted by Drachten in the Netherlands, and in Christianfield in Denmark, and other towns are looking into it. I wonder what the volume limits are - I would expect pretty severe and that there's little chance of it being implemented in this crowded corner of our crowded island.

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