Re. Gene Maskulak's letter Colour-code roundabout (Sept. 23)
I know traffic engineering may seem simple. There must be many people who think so, judging by the number of traffic-related letters written to this section. We really have so many experts in our community.
Unfortunately, traffic engineering is a complex, often contradictory field and a completely thankless job.
We should begin by paying our traffic engineers a bit of respect before criticizing them, like having a well-researched position. The “colour-coded” system is sadly not practical, because we have quite a large percentage of our population with colour-vision-deficiency, approximately one in 12 men and one in 200 women. according to colourblindawareness.org.
Its worth noting that men make up the majority of drivers, too. An 8% chance of a male driver confusing/misunderstanding an interchange is just too high.
The real solution, boring as it is, is driver’s education. We currently outsource this to millions of un-trained Canadian parents, and I think that ought to change. With proper education, we could use symbols (like the rest of the world) instead of text to indicate navigation instructions to drivers.
It’s remarkable just how much plain text we have on road signs in North America, and this is just lazy design. Text requires extra brain-power to interpret, whereas symbols allow the driver to receive instructions without the reading-lag.
I’m fairly anti-car, and I think even the most pro-car people out there would agree that the quality of other people’s driving these days is questionable at best.
The flip side of adopting symbols of course is that many people already driving might not understand them. I promise that it’s not that hard to learn and maybe this points to a broader issue about our level of driving education.
At the risk of being publicly crucified, (there is also) a need to send “Boomers” back to driving school. I’m looking at you mom and dad.