Saturday, 6 April 2013

Countdown Lights

In enlightened countries where pedestrians are treated with just a teensy bit of respect, they have traffic lights that tell pedestrians how much longer they have to wait. We have all stood on the side of the street, silently cursing while repeatedly pressing the button and pleading to be given permission to cross. A wait of three minutes can seem like an eternity - because we don't know when it will end. It's like a mild form of psychological torture.

If you have real time information about how long it will be before the lights change (or indeed how long it will be before the next bus), the pain is usually alleviated.

This is what they look like:

(Borrowed - hopefully legally - from a post on Twitter by Brooklyn Spoke)

And this is what we have:

They are on King William Street (Pirie Street intersection) and North Terrace so far (or at least those are the ones I have seen).

There is a subtle yet crucial difference between the two. The overseas ones tell you how long it will be before you can cross. Ours don't give you that information. Instead they give you a countdown telling you how much time you have left to scurry across the road.

It's like a silent Sergeant Major barking orders at you to get out of the way.

Nice idea. Poorly executed.

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