There is a stretch of highway through the Ozark Mountains where being data-driven is a hazard.
Heading from Springfield, Missouri, to Clarksville, Arkansas, navigation apps recommend the Arkansas 43. While this can be the fastest route, the GPS’s algorithm does not concern itself with factors important to truckers carrying a heavy load, such as the 43’s 1,300-foot elevation drop over four miles with two sharp turns. The road once hosted few 18-wheelers, but the last two and half years have seen a noticeable increase in truck traffic—and wrecks. Locals who have watched accidents increase think it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt, or worse.
Truckers familiar with the region know that Highway 7 is a safer route. However, the algorithm creating the route recommendation does not. Lacking broader insight, the GPS only considers factors programmed to be important. Ultimately, the algorithm paints an incomplete or distorted picture …