06 October 2010

Ergonomic Crosswalks

Interesting idea that follows the desire lines of pedestrians. This Ergo Crosswalk is the brainchild of Korean designer Jae Min Lim. His idea was shortlisted at the Seoul Design Competition.

He suggests designing the stripes to follow the actual routes that people walk. Jae Min Lim on his design:

“When people cross roads, they tend to take the fastest shortcut. they sometimes do it intentionally, but mostly it is an unconscious act. this kind of action violates the traffic regulations and sometimes threatens the safety of the pedestrians. The ‘ergo crosswalk’ is a design that makes people follow the law, as well as consider their habits or unconscious actions. it will encourage pedestrians to follow the lines of the cross walk and protect them from any potential danger. If regulations cannot force people to follow the law, wouldn’t it be more reasonable to change the law and fulfill the main purpose of keeping the safety and convenience of the pedestrian...”

The stop lines for cars are pushed back to allow for a safe buffer zone. In addition, the design idea includes using not paint for the stripes but rather led lights that flash red or green. That last bit is a bit extreme. I doubt our cities need more flashy eye pollution, but that doesn't make the idea any less cool.

Here's more on Desire Lines relating to Copenhagen cyclists.

Via: Innovcity.fr & HowWeDrive.com


ndru said...

So in general he is proposing to make the zebra crossing wider and then cutting out a big portion to make a fancy curve. A bit over-designed for my taste. People will always cut corners and find the shortest way it's impossible to accommodate all such actions. Which is why simple common sense would suffice I think. Was that in Denmark that they were testing streets with no road-signs, lights markings? I think that's a much better idea.

Ingo said...

what happened to the old idea of turning the zebra 90 degrees? so that drivers see it as barrier and not as stream-guiding ("go faster")?

Kim said...

I love this idea, it changes the focus from the driver to the pedestrian, sadly that is the reason why it is unlikely to ever be implemented.

Ed said...

One criticism I have of this is that I feel it reinforces the notion that pedestrians should only be inside the lines of the crosswalk and drivers don't need to look for them anywhere else. I think of crosswalks differently - that pedestrians can and should walk anywhere on the street when traffic is stopped or not very heavy. The crosswalk is just a place that gives instructions to vehicles about where they have to stop at an intersection when the light is red. Think of the entire public street in urban areas being for pedestrians - street markings are just for cars.

Eatthecars said...

+1, Ed. Very well put.

Green Idea Factory said...

Don't get me wrong but there seems to be a bunch of nutty design-rather-than-transport motivated stuff coming from east Asia as of late.

Pedestrians and cyclists should never have to cross streets or turn in two movements.
This crossroads is lovely graphically. So what. There are crossroads in Berlin, London and San Francisco and other places which have had diagonal signaled-pathways... for years.

Zebras, Pelican crossings etc. are actually way more than half-empty rather than anything close to half-full. They are actually saying that most of the street is not for pedestrians. Phooey on that. I agree with Ed.

Another example.

Corey said...

It's disheartening that ideas like this are garnering so much attention when we already have simpler solutions. Another attempt to overcomplicate personal safety without changing anything about the existing system.

Nick said...

This is simply a bad case of over-engineering, like putting air bags in a car designed to travel at 250mph.

People cut corners at crosswalks not because they wish the crosswalks were shaped like fancy parabolic curves but because they don't follow lane markings like machines. People are only taking back an inch from the absolute freedom of movement we have already taken from them, the freedom to walk where they want when they please. This is design from a mind that can't comprehend being a human being at street level.

What's a better design? Take away the cross walk entirely and make the entire road surface into space for pedestrians. "Shared space", like the Dutch idea by Hans Monderman that ndru refers to is a real step forward. Solutions like this only add to the existing problem: our streets are dominated by machines, not people.