In his column on US metric conversion, Uncle Cecil says that we may be slowly sneaking up on adoption. I feel compelled to report that there is some backsliding as well.
For some years, CalTrans (California’s Department of Transportation) had Standard Plans and Standard Specifications that used the metric system only. Cities and Counties, who often piggy-back their standards by adopting the CalTrans standards except for a collection of exceptions, got around shifting to metrics by specifying an older version of the CalTrans specs.
Years later, CalTrans acknowledged that the metric thing wasn’t happening fast and went back to dual specs, with metric and English versions of each plan and specification. Cities and Counties could again use the latest version, deleting the metric half. Now the latest CalTrans specs (May 2006) has gone back to the English system only.
The metric system may be sneaking in slowly, but it isn’t sneaking in on California highways.