With the large volume of students crossing high traffic roads like Fifth and Forbes Ave. to walk to campus every day, safety at the crosswalks becomes an issue. These innate dangers are amplified by many students engaging in dangerous jaywalking in order to remain on time with their busy schedules.
We propose that this issue can be alleviated by providing pedestrians with more information at each crosswalk, and the more successful we are at relaying that information in a transparent way, the more likely that information will be used subconsciously as well. Since most of the crosswalks around campus already produce noise to indicate it is safe to cross, we decided to work with this existing technology.
We predict that if the beeping of the crosswalk was modified such that the rate of the beeps increased as the time left to cross diminished, this information could be used intuitively by pedestrians to gauge the amount of time they have to cross more accurately. Additionally, it seems likely that the increase in the rate of the beeps would subconsciously pressure pedestrians to speed up to match their strides with the beeps.
The biggest potential problem seems to be with the beeps themselves, as the noise could become very irritating. However, with sufficient experimentation it seems that this could be alleviated, and this experimentation could take place without actually implementing the system and implementing the system itself should be a low cost, high impact firmware fix that will subtly affect the lives of the thousands of people who use these heavily trafficked crossings weekly. Furthermore, this likely will not prevent people from crossing the streets away from the crosswalks, and there will likely still be people running across after the light has changed, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.
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