Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Traffic this!

I've mentioned some of the problems of Third World vehicle traffic in a few articles, but words can't adequately convey the enormity of the problem.  It's a mindset, more than anything else - a mindset that is fatalistic, unconcerned about others, determined to get where one's going no matter who or what might be in the way, and probably a suicidal impulse or two thrown in!

I found these two video clips on YouTube today, showing traffic in an Indian city.  One is from some distance away, the other is much closer to a different intersection.  Just watch the behavior of the drivers and pedestrians (particularly the auto-rickshaw drivers in their three-wheeled scooter-based tuk-tuks), and you'll see what I mean.  Full-screen viewing is recommended.

Note, too, the chalked blocks on the road in the second video clip, marked off by entrepreneurs to designate the parts of the road where they've decided to set up their chairs - traffic be damned!



Rich said...

The thing that gets me is the horns. I'd be stark raving made in an hour ... and this is coming from a guy who lived in Manhattan for a decade.

skidmark said...

So you have never watched traffic in Paris, or Rome (just to name my favorites), or in the parking lot when the game is over?

Contrast with the traffic leaving the parking lot when a gun show closes. Maybe there is something to that "An armed society is a polite society"?

stay safe.

Old NFO said...

Yep, the horns, the HORNS... And the Tuk-Tuks... NEVER again!

Anonymous said...

aghh.... I've always thought that a most elegant example of 'law abiding' is the lone vehicle obediently stopping at the stop sign, at an intersection in the middle of nowhere, with miles of visibility, at 3am, with no other traffic in sight.

Dominique said...

There's an artist on DeviantArt who has done a variety of comics on traffic in her country. When the only rules of the road are those of physics, things get interesting.

It's called Driving in Lebanon and the artist in Majnouna. Link is here - http://majnouna.deviantart.com/gallery/8060855

Chris said...

No wonder they can't make the traffic move efficiently: the idjits are driving on the wrong side of the road! ;-)

Seriously, though, the problem is one of trust. If the society, as a whole, has little certainty that the majority of drivers (or economic actors) will behave in a way that minimizes "friction", this is what you get. A vehicular tragedy of the commons, with everyone out to get all he can with no regard for anyone else.

By friction, I am referring to the inefficiencies caused by individuals acting in ways that impede the completion of an action.
So this can apply to the traffic, in which no one is willing to cede right of way for fear of being cut off for a long period of time; in economic activity, if each economic transaction must be preceded by either research of haggling to ensure that the seller is not ripping off the buyer, the economy suffers.