We live in a society where more is generally considered better. We want improved fuel economy from our cars, more data from our phones and a better picture from TVs. But when it comes to engineering some roads, giving drivers more room might not actually be an advantage. There's some evidence that switching from the current 12-foot standard for lanes to 10-foot-wide lanes for urban streets could boost safety. The change might potentially mean around 900 fewer fatal crashes each year.

An article on CityLab, a site that brings scientific thinking to the questions of urban life, investigates the current state of traffic engineering for lane width, and the author lays down a compelling argument about making things narrower. Two-feet might not sound like a lot, but when multiplied over the whole roadway, you end up with quite a bit of extra real estate to play with.

The piece explains some of the reasons that 12-foot lanes are the standard in the first place and then breaks each of those arguments down to show that they might be a fallacy. If nothing else, the story makes you think more about traffic engineering than you probably have in years. Read the whole story for yourself, here.


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