Posts Tagged ‘transit design

lithium | common sense

9, نوفمبر 2010

A Green Light for Common Sense

commentary by lithium | Rachel Wu, Geoffrey Rees, Caitlyn Simpson, Marlon Brazelton

the streets of Bohmte, Germany

In Bohmte, Germany, a new solution to traffic management is being tested. Instead of implementing more restrictions with more reinforcement, in this German town, the citizens decided to completely revamp the way traffic is directed. They are tearing up streets and sidewalks and creating a neutral space in which nearly all traffic regulations are removed; instead of barely following traffic regulations, people are having to rely on their common sense to get them around. There are only two basic rules of the road: the speed limit is 30 miles per hour, and everyone must yield to the right.

a police officer in Bohmte

This new practice has proven statistically to be effective, with the incidence of traffic accidents reducing up to 95% in an area. Even with its successes, however, the new laws have been criticized, often constructively. This traffic management is only effective in lower traffic areas; roads on which these principles apply must also be only of a certain length lest the drivers just choose to circumvent the area completely.


lithium was intrigued by this set of traffic regulations because of how relient the theory is on the inherent decency of people. Within this “common sense management”, several aspects of design can be derived and researched. For instance, the ambiguous design of the street and sidewalk has a multitude of design negotiations behind it.


pedestrian vs. vehicle traffic

modern vs. traditional city planning

being guided by common sense vs.  being guided by rules and regulations

taxonomic categories

community-centric design; organizational design; cooperative design; transit design