John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
The makers of this gyrating Do Not Cross signal say it reduces jaywalking by 81 percent.
The automaker Smart (of teensy e-car fame) claims it has found a way to make 81 percent of pedestrians obey traffic signals. The trick: Make the "Do Not Cross" man gyrate, swing, and pump his arms like he was auditioning for Saturday Night Fever.
The company carried out the experiment in public safety this summer in Lisbon. They first erected a mini-theater in a public square that allowed one person in at a time. Once inside, people were blasted with music and encouraged to cut their best rug. Motion-capturing cameras then translated their frenetic dancing in real time to the crosswalk signal, bringing amusement to many... save for this elderly, bemused gent:
New things can be hard to accept, I guess. Take a look (and if you're curious about the tech behind this, here's a making-of video):