During this Summers never-ending scourge of ‘Economic Stimulus” roadwork, it’s been satisfying to at least see some new signs of social-awareness springing up on our ravaged road-spaces. Out of all the surprisingly positive side effects to the chaos that surrounds us all on our roads, one of the most thought-provoking examples is a temporary pilot project that was run in Vancouver BC. This ‘Social Science’ experiment took visual communications, driver awareness, and personal responsibility to a whole new level by creating 3D optical illusions that tapped into people’s involuntary reflexes, and primal responses to try and curb traffic safety issues. In what promises to be a useful study in developing new traffic safety methods, this homegrown project is definitely a first here in Canada, and could possibly lead to new methods for the rest of the entire world to emulate as well!
But why all the newfound interest in using pavement surfaces for visual communications? After all the recent infrastructure projects (water, gas, etc) that seem to leave the final re-paving as nothing more than a token gesture, or delayed afterthought, have effectively riddled our roads with countless deeply sagging pavement patches, or jarring bumps and humps that are literally accidents waiting to happen. So, maybe it’s just our basic instincts kicking in here and compelling us to warn each other of dangerous road conditions, as an act of collective self-preservation…Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before our roads become cluttered with too much information as well?
So, for whatever the reasons, people are giving some serious thought to their cityscape and personal safety. Giving rise to all sorts of notable examples of people reclaiming their city streets with peaceful, beautiful, and socially aware acts of vandalism.
This one project in particular though is actually enjoying official sanction by the government, and stands head and shoulders above he rest for it’s 3-dimensional artistic merit, and strong messages of road safety and social responsibility. Some images just speak for themselves, and this one is brought you by the British Columbia Automobile Association’s BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and Preventable.ca and can be seen on 22nd street in West Vancouver, north of Inglewood Avenue.
To learn what this experimental pilot project is saying about Driver’s behavior…
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Learning from Living Proof
Some might call this sort of thing ‘shock advertising” or worse. yet, this optical illusion wasn’t just installed to startle Driver’s the first few times they see it. This installation is actually meant to gauge people’s reactions to warnings over time, and determine if Drivers will simply become accustomed (inured?) to seeing realistic images of danger, and just eventually tune them out. Interestingly, this image is a decal that can be easily removed, and placed elsewhere to limit anticipation, and heighten surprise among local drivers. The objective is to remind people to keep their minds on the road around schools to begin with, and if successful could lead to other similar messages elsewhere. Basically, this is a living experiment in human nature, that we hope will say something positive about us…What do you think?
If you’d like to consider some of the other re-assuring indications that Humanity isn’t in fact going to hell in a hand-basket, then you might like to also take a look at these other signs of progress and evolution…