Roads (Part 5)

Last week it was speed and this week its traffic.

As cars began getting faster and the traffic more intense, crossing the road safely became a bigger problem. The initial crossings were a parallel set of studs with two Belisha Beacons. As these were being ignored both by people and car drivers, a number of improvements were made. The Belishas started flashing and coloured stripes were introduced, leaving us with the black and white crossings we know today as Zebra Crossings.

If the number of people wanting to cross is so many that it holds the traffic up for to long or the traffic is moving to fast to make stepping onto a crossing safe. We put in a set of lights. At traffic light controlled junctions we can put in a pedestrian crossing phase. With the use of textured paving and buttons to press they become blind friendly.

As the roads became more congested it became necessary to control who had priority. For example, a busy road will always require a minor road off it, in order to give way.

Those of us who are a bit older will remember a policeman wearing white gloves, controlling the traffic. They were a good solution when the traffic only had certain peaks. The downside is, that if they were controlling traffic they were not available for other duties. However, nowadays this fine instrument of law enforcement has totally been replaced by roundabouts and or traffic lights and just like our good friend the Bobby they will keep going until something breaks or is worn out. But without human costs.

Stay tuned next week for the final instalment of How Our Roads Came to be.

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