Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Traffic-light societies

Traffic lightThere is something especially dehumanizing about traffic lights. Our pleasurable driving experience is stopped by a lifeless light mounted on a metal pole.

Even at 3am, we must do what the light commands. If a traffic cop was there, he'd wave us through. He has some sense of justice and common sense. But traffic lights are dumb and allow for no exceptions.

Not surprisingly, people in large towns and cities drive aggressively to avoid the humiliation of the traffic light. So, if driver A is trying to pull out of a Loblaws parking lot, there is a good chance that drivers B, C, D, E, F, G and H will not let in driver A.

Contrast this will smaller towns without traffic lights and where drivers must rely on the kindness of other drivers. There are no traffic lights when you pull away from, say, an IHOP restaurant in small town America. Yet, a drivers will always let you merge into traffic.

Is it because small town drivers are nice and big city drivers are mean?

No.

People act in their best interest. In big cities, their best interest is to screw other drivers. In small towns, their best interest is to help other drivers.

I read about initiatives in Portland and Minneapolis to install smart traffic light systems that manage traffic by sensing the number of cars on a road and changing lights accordingly.

But in a city like Montreal with its myopic city managers, I doubt we'll ever get such a system. After all, we don't even have properly illuminated (or painted!) crosswalks.

It's so sad.

8 comments:

lecentre said...

I don't see how it's in the best interests of big city drivers to screw other drivers, and for small town drivers to help others. Shouldn't it be in everyone's interest to be civil.
Otherwise, I agree with you about our city drivers being crazy. I was walking home today, and three cars all burnt one yellow.
FYI to those fools: yellow means slow down. Mellow yellow.

Freefry30 said...

Forget yellow. People are just going through red lights now. When the light turns green, I always count to three and then look both ways before moving my vehicule through the intersection. I hope it's not dark when I do this as I may confuse an "adventurous" pedestrian.

(Erstwhile Transport Minister Serge Menard once replied with that word when asked about Montreal pedestrians.)

David

crammer said...

what are traffic lights?

Anonymous said...

Traffic lights are places where your mum and sisters work to get some extra cash

Anonymous said...

Well your mum was actually at my place earning cash last night. Didn't need traffic lights...

Anonymous said...

I told her the light was red..... but she insisted its was green for go!

Anonymous said...

Crammer's mum and sisters were there. I pimped them out.

Anonymous said...

You pimped them out to me and they were shit as! Its was all Red for STOP!

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