Since nobody really likes having to wait, crossing streets despite a red traffic light is one of the greatest dangers for pedestrians living in cities. Car manufacturer “smart” therefore developed a new solution as part of an urban experiment: the dancing traffic light figure. Placed in a mobile space set up within the city, passers-by were invited to dance to music, which was also transmitted to a nearby traffic light, and thus slipped into the role of the red traffic light figure. People’s dance moves were transmitted in real time to the figure and thereby turned the waiting phase at the red light into an entertaining eye-catcher. The music stopped when the pedestrian light turned green and turned on again as soon as the light turned red again – with the traffic light figure starting to dance with the same movements as the person dancing to the music in the mobile space. The effect of the experiment: instead of waiting at the traffic light impatiently and without paying attention, or even crossing despite the red light, 81 per cent of people waited and watched the figure.
Daimler AG, smart/MM, Böblingen
Ton Hollander, Jan Harbeck, Lukas Liske, Daniel Schweinzer
The solution of the dancing traffic light figure to the problem that nothing is more boring for pedestrians than having to wait for a traffic light to turn green, and thus being exposed to weather conditions and car exhaust gases, is highly innovative. Moreover, the idea of the interactive motion graphics not only makes waiting in front of a traffic light surprisingly fun but also demonstrably safer. In a congenial way, the work thus results in a real benefit.
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