‘Strong Towns’ founder Charles Marohn explains the significance of this sign, using a tragic anecdote from the a small U.S. town.




In this broadside, no words will be minced. Fortunately, his indictment does not generally apply to transportation engineers in Vancouver and many municipalities in Metro – and certainly among many if not most of the younger members of the profession.


  1. Good article. Interesting debate in the comments too from an old style engineer defending the profession and others wanting change.

    I think we should somehow inform people when they’re driving into a city, that they have left a freeway and should now drive differently.

  2. I’ve heard criticism from designers and landscape architects that traffic engineers would not design roads this way if they had any empathy. They’re of course only half right. Traffic Engineers do in fact have loads of empathy – for motorists and the ‘problems’ of driving. Engineers truly feel the pain of the beleaguered driver who has to slow down – or stop! – and the congestion this produces. It’s an injustice to them. It’s strange to behold, but it happens even here in Vancouver.

    1. Yes, driving once was not as easy to do as it is now. Most of that has been the design of the motor vehicle infrastructure. It’s resulted in driving becoming such a common way to move oneself. This has given us all a lot of benefits.
      Now that people are looking for more alternatives and travel choices, we need to put the same amount of advanced design work into our transit system, walking infrastructure and cycling infrastructure to make them a slick and easy as driving on a well designed highway is.

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