The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Why the world needs a lot more traffic lights

While roads are everywhere in the world, we can’t say the same of traffic lights. This leads to chaotic intersections, car crashes and lost productivity as driver sit in traffic. We don’t even need hulking robots or fancy signals to fix this problem, basic traffic lights would do. Here are some wild videos of what life is like with few or no traffic lights.

Watch these pedestrians and cyclists attempt to weave through buses and cars in China:

Around much of the world the “safety in numbers” rule is in full effect. Watch how these cars bunch together to make turns in India:

Here’s a video from a massive intersection in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. This looks more dangerous than it is because the footage is speeded up, but it’s still remarkable given the number of lanes:

Here’s an intersection without traffic lights in Vietnam:

In the developing world there are more deaths from traffic fatalities than HIV/AIDS, and the number is forecasted to triple by the year 2030. Witness the chaos in an intersection such as this one in Vietnam and you’ll understand why.

The traffic light was a brilliant innovation about a century ago. It’s time we use them on a grander scale.