Monday, 25 April 2011

Apple for Tutor

AutoStrade remain an interesting phenomenon in Italy.  The motorway network is huge. It also remains a source of amusement, irritation and occasional incomprehension.

In one of the most beautiful countries on earth, with a great tradition of design, the motorways are  incredibly ugly and illogical. As soon as you cross the border, you have to pay a nominal two-euro fee for the first few miles. As soon as you reach Milan, you are repeatedly informed that the only way to Bologna is to stay in the outside (far left) lane. Until you have circumvented the whole of Milan only to discover that all three lanes of the motorway go to Bologna. Why are there no international agreements on signposting? And do the Italians really think it’s easy to read such a vast number of signs if you also have some in white on blue, some in white on green and the rest in black on white?
Then you discover that the whole length of motorway from Milan to Rimini has now been fitted with that wonderful invention “Tutor”, i.e., your average speed is metered all the way and your GPS tends to bleep continuously if you touch 130.

I have also discovered the disadvantages of such a speed-control system. One percent is content to pootle along at 100 in the inside lane. There are still some that try to race at 200 km/hr in the outside lane but 90% chugs along at 127 km/hr in the middle lane, with occasional attempts to overtake at 131 km/hr. So the inside lane is empty, the middle lane is always blocked and the outside lane is very dangerous with some cars trying to do 200 and others 130.

I couldn’t believe that was the intention of the project until we reached Bologna, where it became apparent that the inside lane was apparently permanently closed, to prevent people blocking the middle lane, I suppose, because now there wasn’t one.

I still wonder who those are that race at 200. Do they know the system doesn’t work? Are they police offers or Mafia who can bribe the Tutor?

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