March 13, 2006


Ever have this thought: 9 minutes until my train arrives, I should have gone to CVS and bought XYZ because I had time afterall. Yet another version of the prisoner's dilemma. Maybe there is a Nobel Prize to be won, studying this problem.

If you want the prize you better act fast. WMATA is looking into installing electronic signs outside stations, says the Washington Post. Signs will be installed outside fare gates at two stations in three to six months to test the idea. It will cost about $200,000 to install flat-panel screens, instead of the bulky signs now in stations.

Metro managers originally dismissed the idea, saying if passengers knew their train was arriving in two minutes, they would hurtle through the station and potentially harm fellow riders. (I used to repeatedly stab myself with a fork, until my mom told me to stop because it was bad for me. Thanks for saving me from me, Metro managers!)

New WAMATA chief Dan Tangherlini see things differently from Metro managers. "I think if you give people information, you reduce the likelihood of them engaging in dangerous and antisocial behavior," he said. Plus, if a train is not coming soon, riders would have options --they can take a bus or a cab.

No word on which stations will be chosen. Wanna bet Dupont Circle?

pix by brownpau

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