Surprise. Useful to sell stuff indeed, but the power of Pow! is equally as effective in other, more socially-relevant arenas as well, most notably our dangerous roads. Wrote about this in the Pow! book (excerpt below), but I was delighted to see that the spirit of Shock-to-Slow continues which is very different from "Shock-to-Stop," which we highlighted yesterday). This from Adam Tuss at WTOP, a Washington, DC radio station:
The Virginia Department of Transportation says it's part of a safety campaign to get drivers to slow down in a high pedestrian and bicycle area.
"It is a low cost strategy to get motorists to slow down as they approach the bike trail and pedestrian path," says VDOT's Mike Salmon. "While at first motorists may be a little disoriented, the main point is to get them to pay attention and slow down through that area."
VDOT says similar programs have been successful in the United Kingdom and Australia. The transportation agency will study the zig-zagging lines for a year and see if they actually reduce speeds.
Here's the excerpt that inspired this post, and my continual interest in seeing Surprise used as a do-good device:
To shock the system and force drivers to reduce their speeds through a busy intersection in Cambridge, Mass., city officials called on artist Wen-ti Tsen, who came up with a 20-foot circular mural painted directly on the asphalt. The out-of-context-ness Surprised drivers into slowing down, if only to appreciate the work.
“I know I slow down,” said Lillian Hsu of the Cambridge Arts Council. “There’s something in the road, so there’s a moment of confusion and you slow down. Then you see it’s flat and you drive over it.”
Taken one step further, flat plastic optical illusions of pyramid-shaped 3D speed bumps were laid down in the middle of high-trafficked roads in Philadelphia and Phoenix.
“At a mere $60 to $80 each, they cost a fraction of real speed bumps (which can run $1,000 to $1,500) and require little maintenance,” said Richard Simon, deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Highway Safety Administration.
The moral of the story, and of this post?
SLOW DOWN, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!