NYC Crosswalk Buttons Don't Do Anything

Years ago, I worked on the New York City Vehicular Traffic Control System (VTCS), the system that controls several thousand computerized traffic signal throughout the five boroughs. Slashdot had an article today about a NY Times article that says few of the crosswalk buttons actually work.

It's not the first time I've read a Times article related in some way to that system. We made the paper a few times during system deployment, when traffic got snarled throughout the city. What proud feelings we had, knowing what an effect our work had on the lives of millions of people.

If I was malicious and uncaring, I could tell everyone about a lot of other aspects of the traffic system that may not work as some people would expect, or about some of the politics surrounding design and deployment (hint: the traffic system exists primarily as a source of unionized jobs; helping people move around the City is just a side-effect). But that would eliminate work for Times reporters, so I'll just leave them guessing.

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