Most of you are already aware that I have a certain nostalgia for my time in Paris, France (Exhibit A). What you may not know however (other than Andrea who witnesses my frustration while driving over and over again) is that one of the things that struck me the most during my few months abroad was something that I doubt finds its way into many guide books; France has an extremely efficient highway system.
For some anecdotal evidence let me add that while driving from Paris to Pamplona, Spain, the following quickly became apparent about French highways:
- The left lane is only for passing
- The horn is there to remind drivers of this fact
- Large trucks (update: aka 18 wheelers) have a lower speed limit
- Therefore large trucks only drive in the right lane
- This really makes for a more pleasurable driving experience; and
- Socialism results in $25 tolls on a public highway
That is until this morning when I stumbled upon the following from Unfair Park:
For the last four years, the Texas Department of Transportation and the North Central Texas Council of Governments have been restricting big rigs from driving in the left lane along small sections of I-20 and I-30. And they're delighted with the results of the pilot program: Dan Kessler, NTCOG assistant director, will tell the Dallas City Council's Transportation and Environment Committee this afternoon that the restrictions have reduced the number of crashes, increased travel speed and cut down on pollution. Which is why they're recommending, come spring 2010 (or "ozone season"), expanding the restrictions along I-20, I-30 and I-45 south of downtown Dallas (Page 11 of the briefing has the map).I'd be interested to see if any other cities have already adopted this approach, and if so, what the results have been in terms of highway safety.