How cities are ensuring road users get seen (and heard)
As darkness falls an hour earlier across (most of) the country (stay strong, Saskatchewan), road users are on heightened alert. Here are some of the ways cities and city-dwellers are ensuring people see each other, especially after the clocks rolled back.
TRICKED OUT TRUCKS
San Francisco just unveiled so-called Vision Zero ire trucks, according to Streetsblog. Designed alongside pedestrian and cycling advocates, the trucks are 25 cm shorter than traditional ones, come equipped with cameras and screens to give drivers a 360-view around them, and have recessed panels to avoid snagging people on hose nozzles.
To help cyclists command more of a presence on Mexico City streets, design interns Thomas Hoogewerf and Judit Parés developed a series of DIY pedal-powered music boxes. Unlike the shrill DING DING of a bike bell, the instruments create “friendly, rhythmic sound, creating a pleasant soundscape” wherever the cyclist goes. Plans and designs for the boxes are available online from their design irm, José de la O.
Paint on asphalt is so 20th century. A British architecture irm recently unveiled a crosswalk for the modern era: a sensor- illed LED panel that uses machine learning to adapt to di erent road users at di erent times. A prototype was installed on a London TV set to test it out. Among the innovations: warning lights for pedestrians buried in their phones, blind spot warnings for trucks to watch for cyclists, and wider walkways for busier times of day.
The City of Calgary has a plan to increase crosswalk visibility on the cheap. At sites that don’t warrant $30,000 for lights, the city out itted sign posts with $30 plastic tubes in re lective colours. The project is going well and city o icials hope to spread the homegrown solution to other cities.
FLAG IT DOWN
Little buckets of luorescent hand-held lags adorn more than 150 crosswalks across Halifax. Critics say they create a false sense of security, while advocates applaud the e ort to promote visibility. Last spring, city sta recommended removing the lags after a study of 50 intersections showed that only 8 in 100 walkers used them. Instead, council voted to collect more robust data about crosswalk safety and visibility. The results are due in December.