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Exit Change

People don’t like change. Humans are creatures of habit. But sometimes, change is necessary.

A few months back, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced that they will be renumbering all of the exits on interstate highways. The exits will be going from the old numbered exits chronologically, to numbering them by mile marker.

As someone who grew up in Massachusetts, I thought all exits were numbered the same way. I know my exit as a kid in Salisbury was exit 60. I will always remember it as exit 60.

As I grew up and started traveling more, I saw that not everywhere numbers their exits this way. On a trip to see my grandfather in Nevada, I recall asking my dad why some of the exit numbers didn’t go in order. My dad told me that they numbered the exits based on the mile markers on the road. He went on to say that numbering them that way, makes it easier to know how far away exits are. That made a lot of sense to my small mind at the time.

In this non-drivers opinion, it is about time Massachusetts did this. Almost everywhere else but the northeast the exits are numbered like this. We in New England like to think we are wicked smaht, and do things better than everyone else. That’s just not the case on this one.

First things first, it just makes a lot more sense to number exits by mile. It’ll be a heck of a lot easier to find exits. If you’re at exit 10, you know it’s another 10 miles to exit 20. Simple and easy.

The next good thing that comes from this, is the ability to add new exits without renumbering everything or adding some letter next to the exit. I know there are a few exits that are less than a mile apart, and some letters will be needed, but there will be a lot less of that nonsense.

For once, the state has prepared for this. Going as far as creating a website to tell people about the new exits. If you’re wondering, you can look up what your website will be soon here:

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, a lot of people are going to be, or already are, disgruntled about this. No matter if it’s good or bad, people are going to resist change. But there is no legitimate argument that can be made against this.

People are really upset that they have to learn a few new numbers in their lives. Not sure about you, but it’s going to take me about a week to learn that exit 60 off I-95 is now going to be exit 90. It’s just a matter of looking at a sign and remembering where you live or work. It isn’t brain surgery.

Not for nothing, it isn’t like the state didn’t warn us. They’ve gave us plenty of time to prepare. Even going as far as to not do them all at the same time. They haven’t done it yet on I-95.

Here is what they should have done to make people accept it. Start by putting up both numbers on the sign. Have the old number be bigger and the new one be smaller. As the date of the change gets closer, the old numbers start to get smaller, and the new ones get bigger. Until eventually, the old numbers disappear and the new ones are there to stay.

I actually had someone say to me “what if I’m going somewhere new, how will I know?” Well it’s pretty simple chief, your GPS that is directing you will tell you where to get off the highway.

This all comes down to one thing, people pushing back against change because they hate change. They’ll cry and moan about it for the first few months, but then they’ll realize that it just makes more sense. And don’t worry, they’ll find something else to complain about when they’re getting off exit 81 in Byfield.

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