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Stop Passing on the Left

Toronto Condo News
Publication date:
February 25, 2019
Article Summary: 

In February 2019, an article highlighted the evolving perspectives on urban etiquette related to escalator and road behavior, challenging traditional norms in transit systems. Historically, escalator etiquette encouraged standing on the right to allow others to pass on the left, a practice observed globally since escalators were introduced. However, cities like Nanjing, China, and London reconsidered this approach due to escalator wear patterns, with damage predominantly occurring on the right side. They now promote standing on both sides to potentially increase capacity by up to 30%.

Similarly, in traffic management, conventional wisdom dictates merging early to avoid congestion. Yet, research suggests late merging, where drivers use all available lanes until they converge, can reduce traffic by 40%. This approach contrasts with societal norms that view late merging as rude, leading to resistance from drivers.

Efforts by organizations like the Alberta Motor Vehicle Association (AMA) reflect a shift towards advocating for late merging to optimize road space and improve travel times, despite public perception.

These examples underscore a broader challenge in urban planning: reconciling traditional etiquette with efficiency-driven practices necessitated by urban growth. As cities become more congested, adapting to these changing norms may be essential for improving transit flow and urban efficiency, despite initial resistance based on perceived etiquette norms.


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Source Citation: 
Toronto Condo News
Stop Passing on the Left
February 25, 2019
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