naked street
n. A street that has no signs, road markings, or traffic lights.
Today, many European cities are doing away not only with traffic lights, but also sidewalks, curbs, signage and painted markings of any kind. The concept, known as naked streets, was pioneered by Dutch engineer Hans Monderman. One of the first municipalities to implement the system was Drachten, a small city with a population of 45,000 and a notoriously congested main intersection. The results have been lauded in progressive urban planning circles: the average car speed dropped, as did the number of accidents.
—Philip Preville, “All the Rage,” Toronto Life, June 01, 2008
John Adams, a transport expert at University College London, has compiled data from all over the world to show that laws making drivers wear seatbelts do not make roads safer; they move deaths from inside cars to outside them because they encourage bad driving. The number of young children killed on the roads has fallen in recent years, he notes—but mainly because they are rarely allowed out alone, so today's teenagers have less skill at navigating hazardous roads; and as a result, the number of teenagers killed in car accidents has jumped. He lauds the Dutch experiment in "naked streets" where most road signs and markings were removed to force travellers to keep their wits about them.
—“A hazardous comparison,” The Economist, March 01, 2008
2005 (earliest)
Road signs, barriers and even traffic lights could disappear from Britain's streets if an experiment on one of London's most famous thoroughfares is adopted around the country.
—Ben Webster, “Will the first naked street make drivers slow down?,” The Times (London), January 06, 2005
Filed Under