Urban safety just got a little less woefully dull and a lot more entertaining for the residents of the Portuguese Capital Lisbon. Instead of being faced with a functional, albeit tedious, static ‘don’t walk’ man, pedestrians at this crossing the centre of the city were treated to a quirky surprise.
Their little inert man had been replaced by a highly amusing dancing one.
This interactive installation was designed to encourage locals to follow the rules, and wait until the traffic lights had made it safe to cross the street, before doing so.
Nifty trick you might think, but the whole thing reaches a new level of entertainment value when you consider that the little dancing man is no mere algorithm, but displaying the actual movements of other members of the public, who are dancing in front of motion sensor around the corner!
Take a little look at the video - which incidentally has been viewed over 6,000,000 times!
The Dancing Traffic Light!
The user controlled Traffic light that's brightening the day of pedestrians
As much fun as the whole concept might be, it serves a rather more serious purpose. Research (and common sense) will tell you that the most dangerous area for pedestrians in any city is at traffic crossings, simply because people fail to pay attention or misjudge a vehicle’s distance or speed. The dancing traffic light provides an incentive for people to wait until it is safe to cross, a theory which apparently holds up, since organisers observed an 80% increase in the number of people waiting for the little man to turn green.
One might lament the fact that people now need to be etertained by a set of flashing LEDs to stop from walking in front of moving traffic…but we aren't quite sceptical enough for that.
The installation was put together by Smart (as in Smart cars) as part of a genius marketing campaign ahead of the launch of new models of their compact city car.
We love it when people create projects which put playfulness novelty, fun and intrigue back into the urban spaces around us! If you do as well, you might want to check out some of these recent posts: