Two extraordinary ways to make traffic in the city a little safer
We already have a lot of technological developments around cars and other motor based road users. However, technologies designed to make traffic safer for pedestrians and cyclists are not that common, but they are upcoming!
The dancing traffic light
Smart, the manufacturer of the Smart cars, introduced the dancing traffic light. Set up as a marketing campaign, the introduction of these clever lights actually did lead towards a safer city. Their test results showed that the innovation dropped Jaywalking, crossing the street recklessly, by 81 percent where the Dancing Traffic Lights were installed. This campaign was part of their WhatAreYouFOR campaign, to push for innovations that will make cities safer in a non-conventional way.
So how does this dancing traffic light works? First Smart installed motion capturing cameras in a disco booth, away from the place where the traffic lights were located. These motion capturing cameras translated real-time movements from volunteer dancers, who could dance in their own private mini-disco. These movements were translated onto the ‘Do Not Cross’ sticky figure onto the traffic light. Instead of a boring red man standing still in the traffic light box, the LED traffic light show a red sticky figure doing all kinds of crazy dance moves that the volunteers came up with. What happened next is that people are entertained while waiting. Restless pedestrians were way more likely to wait instead of crossing the street, which is of course much safer then Jaywalking.
Another non- conventional idea is the cyclist airbag. It will definitely look better on you then cyclist helmet, however, it’s probably a little too expensive for students.
This cyclist airbag is a design of the Swedish Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, under the brand name Hövding. We all know that it’s better to protect your head while on your bike, but we are all not quite behaving like it (unless the people that don’t really care about how their hair looks afterwards). Another reason to come up with this idea is the conflicting data about how effective helmets actually are. With these arguments the two students created a fashionably looking scarf with an airbag inside for their thesis and eventually made it into a real product that is now sold in many countries. In tests from a Swedish insurance company, Hovding was shown to be at least three times better at absorbing shocks (at 24 km per hour) than conventional helmets. Hovding’s weakest point is probably that it can’t protect riders from “direct hits” like street signs or a stationary car, an issue that hasn’t prevented the company from winning Europe’s CE conformity label.
So, both are two extraordinary ways of making city traffic a little safer, but they are definitely not the only ones. I’m curious if you know any more non-conventional and technological ideas for pedestrians or cyclists!