Bad Design #45 – hurry up already

Why do we get so impatient with pedestrians when we are driving? What impact does waiting an extra 20 seconds have on our lives…really.

Nothing!

Absolutely nothing. So as drivers we should be more patient, but we are not. Why not? Because humans are illogical, that’s why. It’s the reason we have so many rules and laws to “control” us, because if we didn’t, the fools among us, and believe me there are plenty of them, would kill us all.

In the above photo, you see a typical traffic crossing situation. Pedestrians waited for the little green man to turn green, and the drivers waited for their red lights to turn green as well.

The problem at most traffic lights, is that the vehicle light turns green at the same time that the pedestrian light turns green. Meaning that slow pedestrians and fast vehicles both have the same amount of time to progress through the intersection.

That doesn’t make sense…

 

Not only does it not make sense, but it breeds impatience and leads to dangerous situations. As seen in above photo, drivers look for any opening, even if pedestrians are still crossing, and zoom by. Too close for comfort on many occasions. So yes, the impatient driver is the illogical fool in this situation, but he does not have to be. As the entire situation could be avoided by redesigning how cars and vehicles interact at intersections. It could be as simple as allocating every user, ie pedestrians and vehicles, their own time to cross such that they do not cross at the same time. I know some intersections have been programmed this way, but they never allow sufficient time. What is an extra 20 seconds…really. Nothing. We waste more time watching cat videos (or maybe that’s just me).

We are not going to get rid of the fools any time soon, so let’s just design things better.

 

If you are interested, I wrote another article on the relationship between people and cars, When did cars get priority over people?

 

Share this post
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail