Tiny metric exclave in Arizona in the US stays metric, for now

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That was a close call. A tiny part of the US that turned metric in the 1970s but wasn't lucky enough to see the rest of the country convert along with it will continue to see its road signs displayed in metric (kph vs. mph) as infrastructure funds have been deemed more useful elsewhere.

What makes this story especially interesting though is that there's a sentimental reason for this as well: many people in the area are used to seeing signs with kph on them, seeing it as something that makes the region distinct from others. This example is a good way to debunk the claim that the metric system is cold and unnatural.

There is also a practical reason as well: businesses have been using metric for a long time there in order to tell motorists where they are located, and converting to miles would involve having to redo them.

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