Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quick Fixes

Any ideas on fixing pothole problems always grabs my attention. Anyone who has spent time in the 80s and 90s in Kolkata when the metro project was gestating knows a few things about potholes. Tyler Cowen cites the example of a German municipality short on funds, selling the rights to fixing pot-holes to the public in return for the ability to put a text of their choice on the pothole they fixed.

At first that seems like a good idea - except for the visual pollution of unco-ordinated text all over the road. A small price to pay if the alternative was for someone to break a limb or two stumbling into a pothole in the dark not to mention the wear and tear on vehicles and the bone rattling experience of being a aboard one of them. To me, just about anything that fixes a pothole seems like a wonderful idea.

Then I read the comments on the article. By when I was done, I wasn't sure if unfixed potholes were quite as terrible a thing as I had thought. The creative thinking in some of the ideas on how to game the pot-hole fixing scheme was quite amazing.

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