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Roadscapes Wednesday: Where Did The Rules Of The Road Come From

The right of way concept is perhaps the most fundamental building block of modern traffic control. It’s hard to imagine how any of us would get from point “A” to point “B” without a system of rules telling us when to yield so others may go on ahead of them. And it seems natural to us that some of these rules should be communicated by signs and symbols on the pavement or roadside.

For most of human history, though, that idea made no sense at all. In fact, before the rise of the automobile, the worlds highways were practically empty of laws telling us how to move. The idea that you have a right to move forward at one point in the road and a duty to stop at another was all but unheard of.

This video presents the historical context for the rise of the right of way concept and is based on research by UC Berkeley Collaborative Science Center for Road Safety (CSCRS) Fellow Eva Vaillancourt.  Enjoy this video from the City Beautiful YouTube channel below!

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