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Upon observation of the very busy Forbes and Morewood Avenue crosswalk and intersection, we noticed that many people jaywalk in potentially dangerous situations. We realized that many jaywalkers are oblivious to the fact that they are, in fact, jaywalking, and many more don’t realize that jaywalking is illegal and dangerous for both the pedestrian and drivers nearby. Because of this, we would like to implement a system that draws attention to the dangers of jaywalking.

To do so, we will place motion and weight sensors in the crosswalk, especially next to the curb, that will sense the weight distribution of a person walking against the traffic (as opposed to the weight distribution of a car) when it is not time to cross. If a person jaywalks, a loud beeping noise from speakers placed in the curb, and a small vibration from the ground that corresponds to the beeping will draw their attention to their feet, make them rethink jaywalking, and keep them safe (compare this to a car beeping at you to put on your seatbelt).

The loud noise and small vibrations will bring a jaywalker’s attention to an action that can often be taken for granted - taking a step. This will cause the jaywalker to realize that he or she is putting him- or herself and nearby drivers in danger and will hopefully will deter the pedestrian from future jaywalking.

To allow the device to evolve and increase in effectiveness, we will be implementing video cameras near the Walk/Don’t Walk signs that will record the reactions of potential jaywalkers. During the experimental phase, we will test various frequencies and patterns of “beeping” sounds and analyze the results to see which will be most effective in drawing the attention of the jaywalker and keeping them from further jaywalking activities. Another feature of the implementation that we plan to test is including a flashing light that flashes with the beeping sound. That way, we hope to capture the attention of a pedestrian that is wearing headphones, or is hard of hearing. We also plan to include signs indicating that a pedestrian should expect sound, flashing light, and vibrations in the ground when jaywalking. This hopefully will deter some jaywalking in the first place, but also will give a jaywalker an idea of what is happening.

Before implementing the system, we plan to install the camera so that we can observe the intersection environment and find out information such as when there is the most traffic in the intersection, or the most jaywalking taking place. We will then implement this system and, through statistical analysis of accidents before and after installation of the system, we will see how effective it has been in keeping pedestrians safe. We also plan to use this statistical analysis to see what combination of the sound, flashing light, and vibrations is most effective in preventing jaywalking. We would like to pinpoint the combination that most effectively engages the jaywalker.

Our hope is that these startling effects will cause a jaywalker to immediately jump back onto the curb, but we acknowledge that this may not always be the case. One may run across quickly to try to avoid the effects as much as possible. What would you do in that situation? Would you step back to the curb, run across, or simply ignore the sounds and vibrations?

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