Thoughtless Acts

Submitted by zwasson on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:54

I've notice this phenomena quite often in Berkeley, but I was unable to get a picture.  If a pedestrian is in a hurry to cross the street, he/she may cross when no cars are coming even if the crosswalk sign is still red. However, this causes a chain reaction, resulting in many other pedestrians blindly following the original pedestrian across the street. These pedestrians tend to assume that it's safe to walk since someone else began crossing. Often they are buried in their phones, see the individual start crossing in their peripheral vision, and follow without checking to see if it's actually safe to cross. The result is 2-3 pedestrians, paying no attention to their surroundings, crossing while traffic is still passing through the intersection--a very dangerous thoughtless act.

We need to create additional stimuli to direct users to walk or wait at a crosswalk. Some crosswalks beep when it is clear to cross; however, this isn't very effective unless it is consistent across all crosswalks. If the consistency isn't there, pedestrians will never grow to rely on the sound as they do with the light. Since these users are generally too engrossed in their phones to notice their surroundings, a more technologically advanced method is to link with nearby crosswalks, allowing your phone to notify you when it is safe to cross.

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