The signal to noise ratio

Posted by chetan on February 01, 2008 in india, madras, travel

The traffic here is out of control, and, with the introduction of the 1 lakh car (which I think is fantastic, btw) it’s bound to get a lot worse, at least in the near term. For a while I thought a big part of the problem was the lack of traffic signals at most intersections and a complete lack of order on the road. The heterogeneous traffic mixed with the all out war mentality creates an extremely hostile environment.

It wasn’t until they put a signal at the [fairly minor] intersection near the office that I realized just how well “organized” this particular brand of chaos can work. Right away, about five minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening were added to my commute, just sitting in traffic. The very next day, the light changed to a flashing yellow (go slow!) with a traffic cop directing traffic. In the evening it seemed to be working normally but traffic was much more fluid. Ten minutes sitting still became roughly 5 minutes. Either people took a different route tonight or they just got used to the fact that, sometimes, you need to stop at an intersection.