Saturday, April 04, 2015

Going Your Way

I’m not one to typically wax enviously on the glories of the way that things are done in the People’s Republic of China. No Thomas Freidman I. However, there are some areas where one has to admit that they've got ideas that we would be wise to emulate.

One is the traffic signals that indicate the time the light will maintain its current status.

This lets drivers know how much longer they have before the green is gone and how longer they have to wait for the red to turn. At busier intersection, the pedestrian crossings also have status timers letting you know how much longer you have to wait and how much time you have to get to the other side once it's deemed "safe" to cross. 

Traffic in Chinese cities can be a nightmare and just walking about can make for a stressful stroll. Providing the status on traffic signals helps make the experiences at least a bit more manageable. 

Another advance that I've come to appreciate, especially as a foreign visitor, is the usually easy to locate street signs that are not only in Mandarin and English, but also indicate where you're at from a compass point perspective. 

While I have a fairly decent sense of direction for the most part, it does help on occasion to be reassured that you're actually headed in the direction you think you are. Especially when you're in a city where the usual landmarks and signs that help determine direction aren't always available. 

It would seem that both transportation advances are ones that would be rather easy to implement (at least for new signals and signs) and would bring clear benefits. Why can't we be more like China?