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Fighting TrafficThe Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City$
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Peter D. Norton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262141000

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262141000.001.0001

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Police Traffic Regulation: Ex Chao Ordo

Police Traffic Regulation: Ex Chao Ordo

(p.47) 2 Police Traffic Regulation: Ex Chao Ordo
Fighting Traffic

Peter D. Norton

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses how initial traffic casualties influenced police traffic regulation, and how police authorities in response struggled to restore order on the streets. One individual that people looked to for answers on police traffic regulation was William Phelps Eno, a New York aristocrat turned gentleman traffic reformer. The motto of Eno’s campaign was “Ex Chao Ordo” or order from chaos. His mission to search for order in the city streets took on a scientific approach. A journalist called Eno’s work, “The Science of Street Traffic”, despite there not being based on any empirical data in it. He based his findings more on common sense. In 1903 he formulated the “Rules for Driving” which were really no more than a codification of custom. Signaling was conducted via trial and error.

Keywords:   police traffic regulation, William Phelps Eno, Ex Chao Ordo, Science of Street Traffic, Rules for Driving, signaling

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