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On the resilience of modern infrastructure in the UK

Yes it's snowed. And yes no buses or trains were running this morning as London ground to a halt prompting the usual complaints about how unprepared we are. I can work from anywhere so I wasn't particularly bothered, but it has been interesting today listening to different wild estimates for how much this has "cost the economy". The main thing I noticed when I ventured out, apart from an impressive snowman down the road, was how wonderfully quiet it was and how people seemed to be happier than usual and willing to talk to each other. A mass skive? Maybe. A mass chill-out more like.

To be fair - it doesn't do this often in London. I've only lived here ten years but I can only recall proper snow once - and it was nothing like today. Were the Gulf stream to shut down, which people were confidently predicting about three years ago, then we'd have a climate more like Canada and it would therefore be worth investing in more resilient transport arrangements. Snow chains. Skis. Etc. As it is we get pretty mild weather in the UK, so it's not really worth it.

However, you'd maybe expect web infrastructure to be more resilient. This morning I noticed I couldn't actually get information online from a number of sources. TFL and various rail operator web sites just crumbled under the spike of traffic. Just when we all needed them. Now that's something that is worth investing in. In fact this morning's mass outages seem to me to be far more embarrassing than the cancellation of the entire London bus operation.

The BBC wisely decided not to launch its new "improved" weather web site today. Apparently they'll do it later in the week.

Anyway, as they say on the weather forecast, wrap up warm.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 03 February, 2009, 08:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In Australia we would probably be glad to swap weather for a day or two. With some capital cities experiencing 45 degrees Celsius, train track bending and other overheated transport chaos, 45 Fahrenheit sounds just lovely.

The weather is one thing you just can't really budget for and it's fairly rare so I doubt we'll ever be prepared for it as a normal event, rather it should probably be something we should just try and enjoy. I did notice with pleasure that the children in London didn't seem to mind too much.