TED's Great Traffic Idea

The TED website features a baker's dozen short videos culled from last month's Long Beach conference.

Of particular interest is, "Gary Lauder's New Traffic Sign: Take Turns." Here, the venture capitalist and public intellectual slyly advocates for a new style of street sign that's neither "yield" nor "stop."

Sound inconsequential? Lauder's brief powerpoint and speech calculates an estimated $2 million economic loss for just one existing three-way intersection. This bill includes gas, car wear-and-tear, and lost productivity while idling. Lauder points out that buying the adjacent property and cutting down the shrubbery would be cheaper.

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Lauder's larger point is that intersections with stop signs can be dangerous, costly, polluting, and inefficient. He's a big fan of roundabouts -- which are more prevalent internationally, he reminds. And stateside, he's in favor of the creating and distribution of fresh guideposts shaped somewhat like a "T," and declaring, "Take Turns."

"What the world needs now," Lauder told the TED crowd, "is a new type of sign."

Photo Credit: The image accompanying this post was taken by Flickr user Harold Laudeus. It was used under Creative Commons license.

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