Taken in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, this video of Meskel Square is both terrifying and, oddly, reassuring- especially when you notice that the myriad cars, buses, and bikes of Addis Ababa seem to be getting through the major intersection without the inefficiency and frustration so common with the stop-and-go traffic patterns of the urban intersections Americans are probably most familiar with.

All of which begs the question: do urban planners overthink traffic flow?

Traffic planning is usually considered a key part of urban planning, but intersections like the one shown in the above video, which seems to be a free-for-all for drivers who just give way when they see another car coming, exist all over the world. And, usually, they kinda (sorta) work. Granted, they don’t seem to account for bicyclist safety or, frankly, any other kind of safety, but I’d be curious to see how much fuel/emissions are saved by simply avoiding that “full stop” at a red light/stop sign. Would a chaotic snarl like this be better or worse than, for example, a roundabout?

I, for one, couldn’t tell you- but I’d love to hear what you think about the pros/cons of different intersection designs and their impact on urban traffic. Let us know what you think the comments section, below. Enjoy!

 

Source | Video: the Telegraph (UK).