Kicker – Muting Mumbai’s incessant honkers

NICK EICHER, HOST: Take a guess: Which major city holds the coveted title, horn-honking capital of the world? 

L.A.? New York City? Nope! It’s Mumbai, India. That’s at least according to the police

Mumbai’s finest posted a video to social media explaining the problem.

AUDIO: Here, people honk even when the signal is red. Maybe they think that by honking, they can make the signal turn green faster.

The noise pollution can be deafening. But police say they’ve figured out a way to “hit the mute button.”

Late last year, they tested out traffic lights that punish drivers for incessant honking. Here’s how it works: 

There are two digital screens below the traffic signal. One of them is a timer, counting down the seconds until the light turns green. The other screen shows the decibel level—how loud it is—at the intersection. And if it reaches 85 decibels, the timer resets, and the drivers have to wait out another red light.  

The display then posts the message “honk more, wait more.”

I love it. That idea had to be dreamed up by an economist: incentives! It’s always about the incentives.

In any event, it’s working, and the police plan to try it at 10 more locations next month.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) Traffic moves on a busy road in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, June 2, 2015. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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