Organically Negotiated Intersections of Dhaka

Everyone in the streets of Dhaka is in constant negotiations. 

It is observed better when there is no traffic police or signal at an intersection. I call this “organic negotiation” a miracle—how thousands of people cross these intersections without incidents! No rule, no discipline, it still works just on human negotiations; probably it works more efficiently than signals, that would make full stops of three sides at a time. 

This organically negotiated intersections work up to a certain level of traffic, after it crosses that threshold, it falls apart, and leads to gridlocks. The traffic polices on duty here are around, they are nearby, observing the trends, there is also a sergeant nearby, stopping and ticketing for illegal u-turns and parkings. They will intervene in the intersection and start signalling when they see the organic negotiation is not working anymore. During these organic hours, they take a break, have their lunch or a cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching the organic negotiation model as the ideal! I am just leaving it as a thought to those who think an automated signalling is the only solution. It is proven in practice, theories and simulations that traditional signals can be inefficient.

Probably the most effective way of taking advantage of the organic negotiation would be, if all vehicles would have been autonomous, and a unified connected algorithm would do the negotiation at the intersections, no one ever would have to make a full stop for a signal.

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