Car and Pedestrian Project

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== == INDIVIDUAL V. MACHINE == ==

(formerly, a.k.a., “Car and Pedestrian Project”)

Basic Introduction

Pedestrians on streets can be frustrating for drivers! Conversely, drivers can frustrate pedestrians! Have you encountered problems as a driver or as a pedestrian? What about as a biker? Let’s foster empathy among the groups who share the road, starting with an informative wiki as the foundation for disseminating my message, and supplemented by stickers and online polls, with a website & other creative media that is evolving over time. Suggestions for developing this idea - i.e., interesting links, comments, ways to convey my message, etc. are welcome! Input requested & appreciated!


My name is Alison, and as a Cambridge, MA resident, I've noticed a troublesome issue on the roads - generally, pedestrians, drivers, and bikers are distinct groups who show little respect--and often flagrant disrespect--for each other. My final CyberOne project developed from my observations and experiences as a driver, walker, and biker. Thanks for visiting this wiki page - Please feel free to contribute, and help make a difference both in cyberspace (by spreading the word) and on the roads (by following the rules of the road). Check out my podcast on the issue: Individual v. Machine mp3

Upon Further Reflection

Actually, the title, “Individual v. Machine,” implies so much more than a simple project. I discuss the pedestrian-car-bike debate in its splendor. However, that is not the end…rather, that is the beginning. My ultimate, long term goal is encourage people to take a personal journey as they engage in this wiki experience—to re-evaluate themselves, to take a hard look at their identities and their place in our tech-savvy world. My project has evolved to become a fairly sophisticated presentation; I have been developing this project while reviewing our CyberOne course content. There are so many issues for contemplation…the learning will continue indefinitely. Thus far, it has been a mind-boggling, eye-opening experience for me; I hope to share this with you. And one of the most critical points to realize is that the journey is far from over. So, while content on this site specifically pertain to the car-pedestrian-biker issue, I invite you to visit my parallel wiki site, Individual v. Machine...From a CyberOne Perspective. I divided the content in this way in order to prevent my work from becoming unwieldy or unmanageable. So, get the facts on the basic issue on this page. Then, link to the other wiki page for deeper contemplation, critical analysis, and self-reflection. But only continue if you're prepared to challenge the status quo, and evaluate yourself, your ability to empathize, and if you're willing to think outside the box...

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

1) Because 93.75% of all adults are drivers, pedestrians, and/or bicyclists; and 2) the dangers are real, so 3) there is a significant chance that this issue will affect you or someone you know.

Some National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) 2003 Pedestrian Safety Facts:

• 4,749 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes

• 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes

• On average, a pedestrian is killed almost every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes

NHTSA 2003 Pedalcyclist Safety Facts include:

• 622 pedalcyclists were killed in traffic crashes

• 46,000 pedalcyclists were injured in traffic crashes

• 23% of all pedalcyclists killed were under age 16

Other Statistics:

Check out this 1999 Boston study on Pedestrian & Driver Behavior.

Here's a Portland Pedestrian & Driver Fact Sheet. (Portland was the second city in the U.S. and the third in North America to organize pedestrian advocacy, & it was the first city in the U.S. to undertake a comprehensive Pedestrian Master Plan).

VIDEO FOOTAGE:

(These will grab your attention! But watch out, some are a bit graphic. (Not Seinfeld)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL7YCPGxZ-0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4tOvkvCvwQ

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/traffic.html utopian traffic

http://www/youtube.com/watch?v=J1FOBq2YlkI

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lAtugaCD0rw

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,448747,00.html

Real-life Frogger

Seinfeld Episode [1]: George crosses the road with a Frogger machine, while playing the game in real life.


VOTE AND CHECK OUT THESE POLLS:

For whom do you feel the most empathy?

Which city is the worst?

Tell us how you really feel!


ARTICLES:

(And note, sadly, that these stories are quite recent, and most are local. Imagine how many more there are…)

Randolph Hit And Run Suspect In Custody

Teen Driver Charged In Wayland Boy's Death

Man Struck Twice, Killed While Crossing Street

Car pedestrian accident leaves one dead

Man, hit in crosswalk Nov. 4, 2006 dies

Schoolbus driver cited after boy, 12, is hit in crosswalk

Parents of girls hit in crosswalk sue driver

Woman hit in crosswalk is in critical condition


GAMES:

Exciting, fun Scratch games courtesy of CyberOne classmates:

Danger Cat Takes on the World by David

Driving by Ankur Garg

Racing by Logan Schiff

(Download the Scratch program [here: http://scratch.mit.edu/beta/])

Other nifty games:

Digital Space Commons Projects Buddy Street Crossing


VENTING CORNER:

Add your expressive comments here, w/ or w/out your name!


WAYS TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT:

• Some kind of object you can pass around, like a giant finger to point at the sign, or a sign that drivers can flash to say NO I'M GOING or YES I STOP.

• Add your idea for stickers to the Car/Pedestrian/Bike Stickers link-- bumper stickers for cars, smaller stickers for pedestrians and bikers. Coming soon to the Boston area!

• Creating a real life frogger video with someone in a frog suit trying to cross the street – but variations on this theme have been posted on youtube already. (Refer to “Video Footage”, above).

• Posting flyers with Pedestrian v. Car web address at some of the problem intersections – or at any intersection. (Be on the lookout!!)


Comments & Suggestions:

The CyberOne class had a dynamic discussion on this topic on Tues. 11/28. Check out the video here.

Also, a brief video discussion of pedestrian project/request for help can be found on the Week 12 course wiki page

Look! Relevant wiki pages: crosswalk-related pictures;

Pedestrian Info

Pedestrian Crossing

Other sites: Education and Enforcement at walkinginfo.org

The University of Auckland, New Zealand, Dept. of Psychology, conducted a week-long study in May, 2004. At the specific intersection studied, 32% of pedestrians crossed in an unsafe manner. PDF file.

Fun Facts:

  • Did you know that "Ampelmännchen" is the symbolic person shown on pedestrian traffic lights at crossings in Germany? The East Berlin Ampelmannchen was created in 1961 by traffic psychologist Karl Peglau. He theorised that people would respond better to the traffic signals if they were presented by a friendly character, instead of meaningless coloured lights. The spring in his step is reminiscent of typical communist imagery of the enthusiastic worker advancing to a utopian socialist future. However, Peglau is said to have feared initially that the design might be rejected because of its "bourgeois" hat.

In 2004, a female counterpart, the Ampelweibchen, appeared in Zwickau. It can now also be found in Dresden. See Ampelmännchen, From Wikipedia for details!

  • Did you know that traffic signal phase changes are based on one of three systems: pre-timed, semi-actuated, and fully-actuated. The simplest control system uses a timer; each phase of the signal lasts for a specific duration before the next phase occurs; this pattern repeats itself regardless of traffic. More sophisticated control systems use electronic sensor loops buried in the pavement to detect the presence of traffic waiting at the light. A timer is frequently used as a backup in case the sensors fail; an additional problem with sensor-based systems is that they may fail to detect vehicles such as motorcycles or bicycles and cause them to wait forever (or at least until a detectable vehicle also comes to wait for the light). The sensor loops typically work in the same fashion as metal detectors; small vehicles or those with low metal content may fail to be detected. The most sophisticated type of traffic signals are centrally controlled by monitors or by computers to allow them to be coordinated in real time to deal with changing traffic patterns. Video cameras, or sensors buried in the pavement can be used to monitor traffic patterns across a city. Non-actuated sensors occasionally impede traffic by detecting a lull and turning red just as cars arrive from the previous light. The most high-end systems use dozens of sensors and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per intersection, but can very finely control traffic levels. [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_light Traffic Light].
  • Did you know that it is commonplace to alter the control strategy of a traffic light based on the time of day and day of the week, or for other special circumstances?
  • A member of the humorous British website B3ta, known as "Koit", created a series of GIF animations exploring the (often explosive) relationship between the red and green men featured on a UK pedestrian crossing sign. These animations are now featured on their own website Traffic Light Wars.

Additional Resources

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Web site: Provides information on issues and research related to improving pedestrian and bicyclist (pedalcyclist) safety.