The Traffic Girls of Pyongyang

The capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang (pop. 3,255,388) is one of the most mysterious cities in the world.  This is due to the fact that the Communist rulers of North Korea control the country and city with an iron-fisted resolve.  No foreign tourists or journalists, and very few diplomats from other countries.  Only 6-8 countries have missions staffed with diplomats in Pyongyang.

But one truth has been established about the day-to-day activities on the streets of Pyongyang.  The Traffic Girls of Pyongyang.

In these pictures the main characteristic is the lack of traffic.  Especially relative to western and other Asian societies.  There is virtually no traffic.  North Korea is an economic basket case.  So only government elites and upper bureaucrats get to drive cars.

Therefore the Traffic Girls must not get overly stressed out.

The giant monstrosity in the background of this picture is the Ryugyong Hotel.  A 105 floor skyscraper that began construction in 1987.  Construction was halted for many years but resumed in 2009, but was stopped again in 2014. Nothing has been done since.

 

 

 

 Introduced in 2009, some intersections are equipped with traffic control podiums.
Podium features:
– umbrella for shade and rain
– heated pad in base for keeping feet warm
– light for illumination of traffic controller
– reflective paint for visibility

Some basic information on the Traffic Girls.

There are slightly more than 50 posts in Pyongyang.

Each post is assigned six traffic controllers, with the post staffed from 7:00AM to 10:00 PM.

The post’s six traffic police are split into 2 groups which rotate duty.

Each group shift is 2-3 hours. A traffic controller is on duty for 30 minutes at a time, relieved every 30 minutes.

They work 6 days a week, with Sundays off. They also may have to work holidays.

Intersection control
The basic rules are:
If traffic officer is facing you or has back to you, stop do not proceed – cross traffic has right-of-way.
When traffic officer raises baton, a right-of-way change is imminent.
Baton held out indicates a turn through intersection is permitted.

Requirements to be a Pyongyang Traffic Girl:
– unmarried
– attractive
– healthy
– between the ages of 16 – 26
– at least 1.65 meters (5’4″) tall
– high school graduate

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