Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Arizona's Interstate 19 is the only highway in The United States utilizing the metric scale system

Bring up the metric scale system in The United States, and you may get stared at like a leper. It is practically an alien language, as the odd lack of fractions is reason for consternation among the populace. There have been numerous tries to raise metric scale awareness in these United States over the years, and never with much success. There is one highway that only uses the metric system though, Arizona’s Interstate 19. It’s a small stretch by numerous standards, connecting the Mexican border to Tuscon. That said, this may become a thing of the past. Individuals want to change the marks.

Arizona’s I-19

Interstate 19 is the only interstate highway that features metric units of distance, or kilometers. The highway isn’t a terribly long stretch though. It is only a four hour drive in total, running from Tuscon to Nogales. Because distances are in metric units, so are the exit numbers. Typically, exit numbers correlate with distance in miles. The marks are confusing people and as a result, as outlined by the New York Times, the state wants to replace or modify the signs at a cost of over $1 million. If it should happen, all road marks will need new exit numbers, and all businesses along the way will need new brochures, so those are who will actually pay the price. It can also confuse motorists from Mexico. The nation of Mexico uses the metric system.

Kilo bites

The system of measurement used in the United States is one of the many cultural holdovers from England. The American system and former British method aren’t entirely identical, of course. There were changes made. That said, English methods are where the root lies. Miles and pints and pounds all came from the English system. We aren’t alone, though. As outlined by Wikipedia, you will find two other nations that don’t use the metric scale system. Those other two holdouts would be Burma and Liberia. The last person to have the idea to convert the U.S. to the metric system, or try it, was Gerald Ford.

Extremely not likely

The signs on Interstate 19 will probably get modified in some way at some point, and it is not likely the United States will adopt the metric scale method any time soon. That said, metric scale measurement is still the language of science, so students can have to keep learning it.

Further reading

NY Times

nytimes.com/2010/09/15/us/15highway.html?_r=1 and ref=automobilesvv



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