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In Asia I observed that they worked well to improve flow on congested roads. The argument I was given is that the older traffic lights were poorly maintained, and the govt could not be relied upon to handle congestion that inevitably set in when one broke down. Moreover, people's conventions about lights were dependent on whether police were observed.

I'm surprised that this is showing up in Europe though.

"Interestingly (or strangely?), the article explains that the system works because it heightens danger on the road by removing the sense of safety one gets with traffic lights, thereby disciplining drivers more."

Tullock have a similar idea, regarding seat belts, doesn't he?

Yes, and he said we should put a dagger in the steering wheel. But I am not sure roundabouts really remove the sense of safety that one has with traffic lights; they just slow down people because the road pattern changes.

Roundabouts are very common in Europe nowadays. They indeed make traffic smoother and slower, so they are used heavily in residential areas. The cost of building them is lower than building a new traffic light system (even that non-intelligent one).

However, it is true that roundabouts are not always an improvement for traffic flow. If the traffic gets really heavy, then roundabouts might get more congested.

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