Fredericton — Following a four-month study conducted by an out-of-province consulting firm, Fredericton city council has approved measures to move forward with a pilot project designed to help alleviate the city’s worsening traffic woes. Based on an infrastructure philosophy devised and implemented in the small Icelandic community of Árborg in the 1980s, this project, dubbed the “Honour System,” would allow motorists to react to things like crosswalks, traffic lights, and posted speed limits as they feel is most appropriate in a given situation.
“This is a great day for the city,” proclaimed Fredericton City Councilman Stephen Hodgens, who is leading the initiative. “Now motorists in Fredericton have the freedom to act in their own best interests, instead of having to worry about everyone around them, and together, we can make the streets safer and more convenient for all.”
Currently, Fredericton motorists are obligated to adhere to any and all official road signs and lane markings. This method, considered archaic by many, relies on a shared understanding of cryptic terms such as “yield” and “merge,” and does not account for most extenuating circumstances. Under the “Honour System,” in situations where a Fredericton driver deems it necessary, they can bypass other vehicles that are likely doing something much less important and are probably just in the way. These acts would be permissible and free from any and all consequences. This proactive approach to traffic management with the onus on individual to self-regulate may seem radical, but the study’s findings show that Fredericton drivers are ready to start putting their own traffic needs before the needs of others.
“If everyone is looking out for themselves, then everyone is looked after,” explained Councilman Hodgens. “Our city is full of forward-thinking people who have seen this coming for a long time and have been driving like this for a while. We anticipate the transition to be smooth and relatively problem-free.”
One of the many expected major benefits of this system would be the ability to shift the responsibility of enforcing road rules from the city police force to the individual, freeing up countless police resources.
“We’re really excited about this project,” said a spokesperson for the Fredericton City Police in a statement released on Facebook. “Nobody really wants to be up all hours of the night, driving around making sure that you people don’t kill each other. It’s just not a fun or interesting job at all.” They later went on to detail how more focus can now be put toward solving real problems such as stopping graffiti and the city’s rampant barbecue thefts.
A more detailed explanation of the new measures can be found on the City of Fredericton’s MySpace page. The “Honour System” is scheduled to be implemented in early 2015 and, if successful, will be expanded to Moncton and Saint John by 2016.