Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Road Movies

I decided against slagging off the Carretera Arta once again. I decided against taking issue with the notion that is now an aid to traffic circulation. You’ve heard it before. So I decided instead to highlight the benefit, the possibility, the opportunity. Job creation for the police. That’s what it is. Aid to traffic circulation? There were police on point-duty at the roundabout at the top of the Greasy Mile this morning. That’s how much of an aid.

On Test Match Special yesterday Geoffrey Boycott was saying that the people who set the international cricket schedule love the sport, but they have never played it at a top level and don´t understand the sport at that level.

The people who have designed this road doubtless love roads. They love tarmac, white lines, roundabouts, traffic islands. They love data collection on traffic movement. They love operational research models of traffic movement. But have they ever driven on this road?

They can love Google Earth maps of the roads, their own personal road movies. But they don´t know the plot and the actors.

Within operational research there was a development some 30 odd years ago called soft systems methodology. Essentially, this was an extension of the consideration of the human element in systems. Behaviour, if you like. The people who love roads don´t seem to love behaviour. I’ll give an example. I nearly crossed a red at the Sa Pobla roundabout this morning. But I was doing what any driver does. Looking to the left to wait for the chance to go. I wasn´t looking skyward to the lights.

One of the additional problems of the road is that the crossings (and therefore the lights) are too close to the roundabouts. Their proximity does not take into account driver behaviour.

But I said I wasn’t going to slag the road off. So I won’t.

Apparently election fever has gripped the island (trust the good old “Bulletin”; never one to stint on the hyperbole). All I can say is that I must have hypothermia because I am neither gripped nor feverish.

“Street Life” was sung by Randy Crawford, and she recorded it with The Crusaders. Today's quiz: can anyone name any original members of The Crusaders? An hour’s point-duty at the top of the Greasy Mile to anyone who can.


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