A concept has been proposed by a man named Gary Lauder, that combines two familiar roadside icons, and suggests improved traffic flow and fuel economy. On today's roads, a stop sign means stop always, and and yield sign means stop if necessary. Gary pictures intersections of the future that can behave either way.

Stops signs are a waste of our gas and our time, according to Lauder. He's done the math to show that all of this stopping adds up to big chunks of cash in a year's time. He also has a potential solution: the "stield sign".  Wait, or is it the "yop sign"?

Take a 4-way stop, for example. When traffic is backed up, driving etiquette says we alternate, giving equal priority to traffic coming from all directions. When there is no traffic, however, the law abiding citizen must still come to a complete stop (and in theory, wait for no one). Although it may seem negligible, the process of slowing a car to a stop, and then accelerating it back to its previous speed wastes fuel in comparison to slow, cautious, rolling stop. He estimates that an intersection that requires 3000 cars a day to come to a complete stop would waste an extra $51,363 per year, per sign in fuel costs alone.

Gary's fix comes in the form of an oddly-shaped sign. Chop a stop sign and a yield sign in half, add the top of the stop sign to the bottom of the yield sign and you've got... well... call it what you want I guess. It's more of a conditional stop. If there's no traffic, treat it like a yield sign. There's no need to come to a complete stop and waste gas getting back up to speed. In the presence of traffic, treat it like a stop sign, take your turn, and move on.

It seems like a safe, logical way to avoid unnecessary stop-and-go. Obviously, the plan is dependent on the government's involvement, which is still unknown. Well, there is one other thing - the assumption that drivers can learn how to properly navigate intersections equipped with the new signs. I've seen plenty of evidence that lots of drivers are still struggling to understand the concept of a standard stop sign.

[Wired]