The Social Sciences
Assignment- how the relationships between people and traffic are ordered. In this assignment I will try to compare and contrast two views of how the relationship between people and traffic is ordered. The relationship between people and traffic is then examined in chapter 7 of making social lives. I will be comparing and contrasting the differences and similarities between road traffic engineers Colin Buchanan; and Hans Monderman. Colin Buchanan was commissioned by the UK government in 1961 to start work on the report! Traffic in towns for the Ministry of transport [chapter 7 p. 27] the report was aimed to produce a new design for urban space in order to engineer the efficient distribution and access of a large numbers of vehicles” to a large number of buildings. Achieving a satisfactory standard in our environment for life in towns. [Chapter 7 P. 327] Buchanan had visions of more towns to be organised to the flow of traffic and more roads to be built. The Department of Transport reports between the Second World War and 1969 the Numbers of cars on the roads quadrupled: this meant that not only needed more roads needed to be built but also a new way for towns to live with cars. Chapter 7 p. 326 Silva 2009 Cited Ministry of transport 1963]. The future of choking road congestion was feared unless the rapid rise in demand for car travel was matched by an increased supply of roads. Buchanan’s concept was built on the explicit principle of segregation, reading from chapter 7 Ordering social life the case of road traffic making social lives: sometimes the strict separation of vehicles and people: cars were afforded their own generously proportioned network and pedestrians were safely tucked away in residential blocks often terminating enquired cul-de-sacs. Silva, Cited Buchanan 2009 p. 329 chapter 7] the whole subject of traffic in towns… Is capable of being put on a rational and quantitative basis. Guesswork and intuition can be largely eliminated: given the necessary information, many aspects or precisely culpable: and there is scope for techniques which will greatly ease the burden of decision between alternative courses of action. Now let’s examine another road traffic engineer and compare this to the Buchannan report. Hans Monderman a road traffic engineer from the
Netherlands had different ideas on how to organise traffic and people. Mondermans theory was the removal of all traffic obstacles road signs: traffic lights: and use the spaces left for humans to share the space with motorists. In evidence in 1989 the councillors of Drachten voted to remove every single traffic light and abolish road signs and warning signs. [P. 334 Silva 2009 chapter 7] his concept was that when all traffic obstacles were removed, the space left was to be shared by drivers and pedestrians.
His theory was to narrow the roads and also put features alongside them. He planted trees and flowers and also Fountains, this was to discourage drivers from speeding the psychology of it was that they would slow down while driving past these features. Drachten is the town of 43,000 people in the Netherlands Monderman shared space approach was known as the Drachten experiment. [Silva2009, cited councillor Koop kerkestra p. 334]. The head of traffic policy at the town hall of Drachten, “the lights were causing problems; people were for ever waiting to get across junctions.
We also had more than 140 casualties a year. It was difficult to know what to do, and we certainly didn’t want to ban cars as we loved cars here in Drachten. Fortunately I met traffic engineer who had an unconventional solution. [P. 334 chapter 7 Silva, 2009] cited Monderman]. If you treat drivers like zombies they will behave like zombies: explains Monderman in other words, motorists or taught to blindly follow instructions, they stop thinking for themselves, and accidents follow.
The above are a few briefs on traffic engineers Hans Monderman and Colin Buchannan who were both tasked with very difficult assignments and both had completely different views on how to manage the traffic flow, although Buchannan was much earlier than Monderman in years, both had quite revolutionary ideas of their times. Trying to compere the similarities between Monderman and Buchanan is not an easy task to undertake, firstly they were both road traffic engineers which are important I guess, and they were both commissioned by governments even though Mondermans commission was through local government.
They were both commissioned to create the use of better space and a way to ease the flow of traffic in towns. They both looked at traffic and humans and how each played a role in creating a design for traffic to move more easily. This was also due to the similarity in statistics of ever increasing car owners on the roads, and I suppose a reason to prevent accidents in the future. What are the differences in both these engineers’ “ideas” plans and concepts of how to manage road traffic between humans and cars? Firstly Buchanan segregated humans from road traffic and built towns on the edges of motorways.
Towns were built such as Milton Keynes and many other places with never ending cul de sacs and housing estates which were hard to get to even using the sign posts as it all looked the same. This isolated the towns from the spacious road networks, resulting in later years ever more traffic lights: calming zones and such like. However Monderman wanted to share this space left behind after the removal of traffic lights and all road signs with pedestrian’s ”cyclists” and car drivers. Arguments. Buchanan based is road hierarchy on segregating people in towns from traffic?
Did this mean primary roads and street roads were placed before motorways? Which streets and roads were best placed to distribute the traffic flow, do Buchanan’s plans still work in today’s modern society, and it seems ever more increasing traffic! We need ever more modern day thinking and new approaches. Buchanan based his road flows from towns: thus the use of the space with segregation from people means many town roads and street roads were cut off from the motorways. Was there enough space left for what we see today in the likes of bus lanes, cycle lanes, did Buchanan foresee this.
If he did surely the roads he planned and then subsequently built would be a lot wider. Today we are left with limited amount of space! If you drive down a normal high Street in any town today: you will see that traffic is very crowded and congested, there will be a limited amount of space for cars and vans taxis etc. You will notice that the inside lanes are used specifically for public transport busses. I would certainly argue that the Buchanan report had many flaws using anecdotal evidence put before me. I say anecdotal as I have no evidence to look at as I have to use what is in front of me for this assignment.
Now let me turn to Hans Monderman and his vision of the shared space approach. This is very interesting as he relies solely on interaction of the person or persons driving vehicles, with pedestrians: or cyclists. Since all the obstacles of traffic lights and even road kerbs have been removed, this leads all participants having to acknowledge each other and prejudge one another’s next movement. This idea seems like what you see on the TV, in places such as India Pakistan and Asia, which all traffic is moving fast around town centre junctions, which seems quite chaotic to one’s first instinct.
They all in fact seem in a frightful hurry and one has no data to rely on? About how many accidents or crashes they may be in places like this. I don’t quite know if this is the same as Hans’s Mondermans shared space theory, but that’s all I’ve got to go on in my argument. What was it Monderman said concerning the use of traffic lights in town centres, with drivers having to obey the instructions given by a set of lights, if you treat people like zombies they will act like zombies [ Silva2009, cited Monderman p. 34] in that this idea is similar to the behavioural social scientist Foucault. Who when studying people and their behaviours: he wrote? People come to see themselves as engaged in “normal” ways of thinking and behaving through socialisation processes in the family, schools, workplace or public space. In turn, they can contrast themselves with the “deviant” or abnormal ‘people who lack self-control or self-discipline [and therefore behave badly]. [P. 321, 2009]. This is very interesting as he is thinking the same as Monderman in the use of people and their control.
Conclusion. Both Buchannan and Monderman were modern day thinkers of engineering and planning road traffic, both had relative success in their tasks and both used people and segregation from cars. Monderman with! Buchannan without! Both ideas are very interesting, although I think Buchannan’s is out-dated by now: but he played a major role in United Kingdom’s traffic engineering. Hans Mondermans idea is really fascinating though and I wonder “greatly” if it is working and how many other nations will take up this idea. References. Silva.
Elizabeth,  Making social lives. United Kingdom the Open University. Milton Keynes. Silva. Elizabeth,  making social order, 7 3 pp. 326-328,United Kingdom the Open University. Milton Keynes Silva, Elizabeth,  Making social order, Silva cited Buchanan p. 326 7, United Kingdom the Open University. Milton Keynes Silva, Elizabeth,  making social order 7 Silva cited Koop Kerkestra-Monderman p. 334 Making social order. United kingdom the Open University Milton Keynes. The Open University cited Foucault,  pp-319-322. 7, 2. 2. he social sciences and social order. United Kingdom, the Open University Milton Keynes. Self-reflection, although I have a fair way to go yet I am starting to grasp the basics of social science and how they work and order things, this assignment was my most focused yet and although it is frustrating not being able to find other sources for my work especially on the results of how Monderman and Buchannan’s theories have worked out since they started I think my work could be even better in the future. Word count 1696 including references and self-reflection.