Thursday, April 11, 2013

Changing Norms

As we have been many times in the past, we were caught in traffic on two separate occasions last weekend, once on Rockville Pike, once on I-95. Both delays were occasioned by lane closures, which always present a dilemma to the motorist: speed up in the lane to be closed and incur the wrath of good citizens; or be a good citizen and suffer avoidable delay.

In a very good talk, which focuses, among other things, on how the role of randomness is sadly lacking in sports analysis, Rory Sutherland shows how Minnesota overcame this problem by labelling the situation a "zipper merge," so that everyone would instantly understand that the proper behavior was to drive as far forward as possible in both lanes and then take turns going forward.

All we need is everybody to understand the nature of the situation and the proper response. I am looking forward to first mover advantage on the Interstate.

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