Home > transport > Things that go bump in the night (and day)

Things that go bump in the night (and day)

Ever driven over a manhole cover and regretted it, when your car feels like it might do a Raikkonen impression (see 1:00 into the video)? Why is it that the road contractors can’t align the road surface to the level of the cover… it can’t be rocket science, can it?

Then there’s the patchwork quilt left behind by roadworks. I’m sure you can give your favourite examples of these.

And you’d be in good company. The boys of F1 say that the Singapore circuit is the bumpiest in the whole season. After strenuous efforts have been made to get the track surface compliant with international standards, our mighty road builders have brought us yet another Number One… that is, #1 roughest circuit in the world. A race watcher might be excused for thinking that there was a mobile sparkler show on. Let’s see if we can have fewer carbonfibre accretions to the road surface this year.

You don't want to hit any of these

You don't want to hit any of these (http://www.flickr.com/photos/xiaming/1957615628/)

Meanwhile you, the mere taxpaying motorist, get a heapin’ helpin’ o’hurt every time you drive. Particularly on those low profile tyres so beloved of the people who don’t know how to go round corners properly.

This is a classic agency problem. Those who dole out the money, aka the agents, ain’t checking to see if it has been spent according to the wishes of the financiers (you, me and the millions of other road users). The financiers (you, me etc) don’t get to choose the agents nor set the conditions by which the performance of the contractors should be assessed.

You should be getting better value after paying among the highest road tax rates in the world. I mean, if you got a contractor in to do the floor of your house and he left it as unsmooth as the typical stretch of road, you wouldn’t pay him for such subprime work, would you?

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