Friday, January 20, 2023

Rome Journal: ATAC

There’s a genius behind a scrim, a Wizard who creates the bus routes of Rome. Unlike New York, which exists on a grid, Rome has all kinds of cul-de-sacs and winding roads deriving from ancient paths like the Via Aurelia (constructed in 241 B.C by Gaius Aurelius Cotta) and The Via Appia Antica. You might require an artificial intelligence to understand the complexity but many of the stops like those of the vaporetto in Venice have been around far longer than the computer. If you want an analogy, you might describe Rome’s bus lines as neurons crossing the distance between synapses in the brain, with the more intricate routes branching out like dendrites and axons. There are some major buses lines like the 44 and the 75 which are tantamount to international flights that go between major hubs, in this case the Piazza Venezia, and the train station at Termini, but there are l00s of other lines, the moons orbiting planets, in far away galaxies. The 118 and the 870, for instance, bring passengers up, down and  around the Janiculum Hill. Remember those old movies in which operators personally took calls and plugged them into a central switchboard. Google Maps has succeeded in taming the unruly giant known as the ATAC. Your device will tell you that the bus in question is due in ten minutes or arriving ten minutes late and you can also look up at the electronic ETA sign now installed at every stop. Satellite systems which create maps from thousands of miles away, are wonder drugs--particularly for Roman straphangers whose perception of transit might once have been similar to the sighting of the Madonna  by two saintly children  in La Dolce Vita.

read "Rome Journal: The 75" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Freeway of Love" by Aretha Franklin

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.