Thursday, September 16, 2010

Traffic Illusion

Vancouver is trying out the idea of using optical illusions instead of speed bumps to slow down traffic.


Good idea or bad idea? The commentator says: “It’s just kind of flattened out! Almost like it’s painted on the roadway! Wow!”

Via Best of YouTube

21 comments:

My Pen Name said...

i can't imagine its a good idea. a. if people become desensitized to them then they might blow through them like stop signs - only one time it might be not be an optical illusion. b. we still don't know what effect optical illusions have on our eyes- if drivers have to take time to reframe - or think reject visual information as un-true it can be disorienting.

Cool looking though :)

Terry said...

I completely agree with My Pen Name.

Irina said...

Not good. Different drivers can react differently, what if I get frightened and move to the side, lose control of the car?
Agree with above comments.

Diana said...

I think this is a really fascinating idea. I know that many people are concerned that drivers will react badly and endanger themselves or others, but it's just the same as approaching a jaywalker - you don't veer into oncoming traffic, you simply slow down.

As for those who think it will desensitize us to real children on the road, this illusion is VERY brief - it doesn't start out looking like a child nor does it end up looking like one either.
If one cannot tell the difference between an illusion painted on the ground, which only appears real for brief seconds, between an actual person who is moving and constantly 3D - then one does not have the depth perception required to drive and they should be taking the bus.

I really like this campaign and it disappoints me that others just think it's a killing danger.

huxtiblejones said...

Seems like a rather bad idea to me on two counts:

1) Drivers are likely to slam on their brakes at the first glimpse of these illusions and put drivers behind them in danger.

2) Once people become acclimated to seeing these illusions, they may suspect that real children in the street aren't real. In other words, these might desensitize drivers to the presence of real children.

r-dart said...

Hey, I live in Vancouver. I'm going to have to find out where this is and check it out.

I agree with Diana. The illusion is fleeting at best, but I think it works more as an emotional reminder for drivers to slow down in residential areas or school zones. A more realistic depiction of a child in the middle of the street will have more of an impact than a stick figure pictogram would.

Also, it has always irked me when announcers say things like, "Vancouver, Canada". That's the equivalent of saying, "Chicago, America".

Drashi said...

@r-dart
According to Google Maps, there's a Vancouver in Washington state, too. It's not too far from Vancouver, British Columbia (Relatively speaking. Vancouver, WA is near Portland, OR), so the distinction is probably an editorial decision to avoid any confusion.

Matt said...

Drashi, what r-dart is getting at is instead of saying Vancouver B.C. or British Columbia, the announcer says Vancouver Canada. Plus no one cares about Vancouver washington :P

Matt said...
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ivo.de.wispelaere said...

I think the newsreader did not understand that there is actually a flattened and distorted picture painted on the street.

To me it seems that the newsreader thinks that there is a normal painting, that gets flat when you drive over it (through some kind of wicked mechanic maybe)...

Munchanka said...

Terrible idea! People may slam on the breaks or swerve out of the way. It would make for a great practical joke, though, if you painted a bear on a country road.

Dit said...

Or maybe the newsreader thinks it's magic! She completely missed the point which James points out after the video in his post. "Almost like it's painted on the roadway!" Well, it is.
And I find "London, England" just as annoying as r-dart finds Vancouver, Canada. I know there are a number of small US towns called London but surely our London over here in England is a bit more significant.

Dan Gurney said...

Speed bumps make more sense to me. Or dips. Illusions like this will work only the first time you go through it, right?

Aerumnous said...
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Aerumnous said...

*Had to delete the previous post and fix a gazillion typos!

Hi, I've been reading your blog off and on for the past couple of years. It's very illuminating and amusing. I was thrilled to find it as I loved the Dinotopia books (and still do).

As for the optical illusion method - I don't think it's a good idea. While illusion is interesting in and of itself, I'd prefer it to stay on the sidewalk. There are better traffic calming measures already used. The first I'd heard of these was from an urban planning classmate who showed me the Canadian pothole optical illusions - I can't find those exact photos, but the link below has an impressive one: http://www.crankycreative.com/sandbox/blog/bid/20272/Canadian-Speed-Control-Illusions-Using-Repositionable-Graphics

The illusions might be fine on a road on which people already drive slowly, e.g. one shared with pedestrians, as a curiosity to be safely enjoyed.

Daroo said...

News spokes models... sheesh!

I'm interested in how you design that illusion...

T Arthur Smith said...

depending on the lay of the road, how soon you see the illusion, how much reaction time you have, and what the speed limit is, this could easily be a recipe for disaster. It's creating a dangerous situation, needlessly. If you don't see it till the last minute, you'll slam your brakes only to get rearended. You may veer off to hit a parked car, or lose control and hit the side of a house or tree. These drivers then have a valid reason to sue the government, not just for damages, but for trauma of worrying about killing a kid, for no reason. Plus, stupid teens will rush through these spots for the thrill of "killing a kid" only to hit someone for real. Honesty's the best policy. Place warning signs for stop signs ahead, as needed. Sane drivers understand you need to drive slowly in residential areas. And, if you're going to paint kids in the street, at least do it before the crosswalk, not after...

T Arthur Smith said...
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T Arthur Smith said...

A much better use of this concept would be to place entertaining jokes/comics on long highways to keep drivers amused and awake. Especially along the Great Plains, and in Mississippi. Driving the whole day without a single turn or landscape feature will put any driver to sleep.

MAQ911 said...

Not the first time anamorphosis has been used in a traffic setting. however this time it is a bad idea. It also doesn't work if you are driving in a truck or some other vehicle with a higher viewpoint. For the effect to actually work everyone must view the image from the same eye-level. I actually had to lower my seat to see the "little girl" in the video.

patdzon said...

I don't think so...Whoever thought of this just wanted to try this out for the sake of trying it out.