Friday, 25 April 2008

Not the brightest bulb in the robot

One thing that I've found particularly stupid/annoying about the constant "load shedding" power cuts (which have started up again full swing, after a brief period of full electricity) is the traffic. Absolutely no effort is made to keep the traffic lights active when a particular area gets shed, or indeed to make any acknowledgment of traffic difficulties at all. While slightly annoying, this is not really a problem at small intersections - of course you just treat a burned out light as a stop sign. Where it becomes an issue is at MAJOR intersections, with multiple entry points, in an already poorly designed set of roads. And by major, I mean the actual HIGHWAY right next to my house. It's an intersection of one huge traffic artery and a minor traffic artery, and when the power goes out, that's it. I've been remarkably impressed with the restraint that people show, but it backs traffic up something awful (especially at rush hour, which is when they have decided to shed the load in that area). Not to mention, I'm very curious about how much traffic accidents have increased due to this.

The thing that really boggles my mind is just that it's not like this is just a traffic light being burnt out - loading shedding is constantly happening all over the country, so for example, in Cape Town, at any particular time, there is one area where the lights are all out for two hours at a time. The whole thing is just crazy to me.

By the way, for those Americans who don't understand the title of this post, "robot" is how they say "traffic light" here. Too bad they aren't as cool as the Jetsons...

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