Monday, December 3, 2007

Rural road use

This article offers an interesting vignette of the interaction of rural and urban, urban use of the rural, and ways contemporary economic development fails to account for rural impacts. The article discusses the impact of GPS navigation devices on some small communities in the English countryside where the shortest route may not make for the best. The article mentions that the Village of Barrow Gurney, with a population of fewer than one thousand, hosts 15,000 vehicles a day, many commercial trucks following GPS-designed routes. While the village is situated along a road connecting two larger trucking routes, the streets was laid before automobiles became the dominant form of transportation and a designed much more narrowly than many drivers anticipate. As the article points out, this has caused some unintended consequences: hitting fences, smashing car mirrors, and even lifting the roof off of one house. The local community wants off the GPS maps, but the companies in charge won't budge.

1 comment:

Lisa R. Pruitt said...

I had a similar experience using a GPS device in England last summer; at times it would have taken me seemingly across pastures and down what appeared to be driveways -- apparently b/c these were the shortest distances between two points. I might add that I've had similar experiences in northern California, as once when I was trying to extricate myself from a traffic jam near Daffodil Hill, in Amador County.

Speaking of Amador County, what a relief for the communities of Sutter Creek, Drytown, and Amador City when the Hwy 49 bypass opened this summer, sparing them the heavy traffic the old gold rush towns have been weathering for years.