Canadian authorities to try 3D image of child to slow drivers

Sep 07, 2010 by Lin Edwards report

(PhysOrg.com) -- An optical illusion is about to be trialed in West Vancouver, Canada, starting September 7, to try to jolt reckless drivers into slowing down.

The illusion of a young girl chasing a ball will be on 22nd Street in a school zone by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) Traffic Safety Foundation, the District of West Vancouver, and safety advocacy group Preventable.

David Dunne, of BCAA, said the idea of the experiment is to remind motorists to expect the unexpected while on the road. The image is painted on the road and elongated to make it appear three-dimensional when viewed from an approaching car.

From the far distance the image will look like just a mark on the road, but the image of the girl and ball will appear to rise up from the road when the car is 30 meters away. At shorter distances, the image recedes again. If drivers are traveling at the posted speed of 30 km/h, they will be able to stop in time when they realize they are seeing an image of a child on the road.

The optical illusion campaign will cost $15,000 and will be installed close to École Pauline Johnson Elementary School, and will remain in place for a week. There will also be a sign alerting drivers to a program in place ahead, saying “You’re probably not expecting kids to run into the road.” Police will also be patrolling the area.

Mr Dunne said September and October see the most child fatalities on the roads, and parents are often the most reckless and inattentive of drivers. Traditional safety methods have failed to get the message across, and it is hoped the experiment will surprise drivers and remind them they need to slow down and drive with caution, especially near schools. He also said pedestrians need to be alert and not assume they are safe just because they are on a marked crossing. “Everyone has to expect the unexpected,” he said.

Manager of roads and transportation, Mr Brent Dozzi, said it has always been a challenge to try to get drivers to slow down, and static signs do not work because they become part of the landscape. He said drivers should always be driving defensively, as though a child could run out onto the road at any moment.

Concerns have been raised that the image could surprise inattentive drivers too much, causing them to slam on the brakes and perhaps be rear-ended or even swerve into real children walking nearby, not realizing the girl on the road is an illusion, but Mark Jan Vrem of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) said the ICBC supports anything that slows and encourages them to stay alert, and believes the project is a great idea.

David Dunne said the design is a static image, and added that “if a driver can’t respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn’t be driving." Principal of the École Pauline Johnson school, David Langmuir, also backs the plan, although he was initially skeptical, saying the image becomes clear only gradually and is most realistic at 30 meters, “but then the realism of that image declines rapidly” as the driver approaches it.

The image will be removed after a week, and feedback from police, parents and traffic engineers will be studied to determine if the experiment made any improvement to driver behavior.

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User comments : 32

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DamienS
4.3 / 5 (10) Sep 07, 2010
Traditional safety methods have failed to get the message across

As will this, just like all the other gimmicks. People will get used to the illusion and disregard it, which could make things far worse if a real pedestrian is ignored as an 'illusion'.

The only thing which could work is a radar based car sensor which detects obstacles ahead and either issues an audible warning and/or applies the brakes (like the radar based cruise control units on some cars).
Blakut
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 07, 2010
Great. Get drivers to get used to running kids over with their car.
sams
Sep 07, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
nuge
4.3 / 5 (7) Sep 07, 2010
What if they swerve to miss it and hit a real kid?
ShotmanMaslo
Sep 07, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 07, 2010
This is going to get very dangerous very quickly.
TAz00
4 / 5 (4) Sep 07, 2010
Holy crap

Not to mention the pileups when people emergency break (only happens the first time they pass, wierd, people learning ? lol)
otto1932
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 07, 2010
More fodder for lawyers.

Lawyers should be banned from running for office as lawmakers and should never have a hand in making laws. Heck, we SHOULD have, and will have, computers doing what lawyers and judges do. Justice should be blind.

'In the place of Justice, wickedness was there' - ecc3
rgwalther
3 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2010
Cool, but why not just use road retarders?

There are quite enough 'retards' on the road already. I eagerly await automated driving in high traffic areas and for all trucks.
Festina
5 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2010
Don't build highways near to schools.
The smaller the road, the slower people will drive.
ArtflDgr
3 / 5 (4) Sep 07, 2010
stupid idea, as the response may be somewhat random...

anyone realize that this social engineering is basically experimenting on the populace, no different than mengele, who didnt ask permission either.
Vlasev
4 / 5 (4) Sep 07, 2010
It's ridiculous!!! The first thing in my mind was the same as you guys mentioned:
- What if people get used with running over children???
While it might prove helpful for a while, I do think it's a very bad idea in the long run.

What about illusion induced accidents: stopping when nobody behind expects you to do so, passing through the opposite lane, etc.
ArtflDgr
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 07, 2010
ANd wait.. the defense for running over a child..

"I thought the girl was one of those stupid paintings"

finitesolutions
not rated yet Sep 07, 2010
Probably the painting of an animal ( dog , cat ) will work better. What about the painting of a mail box?
NotAsleep
5 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2010
Drivers shouldn't get used to it, they're only doing it for a week.

i.e. they're spending $15K on something that will only be there for a week, not to mention putting the artist in danger while painting it and putting the clean up crew in danger while removing it. Oh, the irony if the artist got run over...
Alphakronik
5 / 5 (4) Sep 07, 2010
How about this, teaching your children not to cross when cars are present?

Insane, right?
labtvonline
not rated yet Sep 07, 2010
I feel like it would a much better idea to use a true 3D digital projection, eventually, with the technology that will soon be available. That way it can be turned off and on when needed in correlation to the drivers speed. I'm curious to see if this trial is actually effective with simple paint on the ground. I saw a video the other day that shows this type of 3D projection technology in use, in real time. I'll post a link if you would like to see it for yourself.

http://www.ndep.u...nference

Parsec
4.2 / 5 (6) Sep 07, 2010
stupid idea, as the response may be somewhat random...

anyone realize that this social engineering is basically experimenting on the populace, no different than mengele, who didnt ask permission either.

Hard to get a grip on the moral equivalence of a sign painted on the road and a medical doctor torturing people to death to measure pain responses.

There is no comparison at all. The forum rules prevent me from expressing my utter disgust and disdain for anyone that suggests there is.
DamienS
5 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2010
I feel like it would a much better idea to use a true 3D digital projection, eventually, with the technology that will soon be available.

No, it's the same deal. One should not be intentionally presenting false information to drivers, as conditioning will make it ineffective and lead to more accidents, not less. If you're going to use safety aids, then they should be provided in the context of accurate situational awareness, not fake information.
Deadbolt
5 / 5 (1) Sep 07, 2010
Yes, what a fantastic way of causing drivers to freak out, lose control of the vehicle, and run over a real child.
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2010
This is without doubt one of the most IDIOTIC ideas I've heard in a long time on several different levels...most of which have already been discussed.

I just hope that the "authorities" responsible for this particular brand of idiocy will be held fully responsible for said idiocy when someone gets injured or God forbid killed.
Nyloc
5 / 5 (1) Sep 08, 2010
Current roadway signage is in the "dark ages" ... literally.

With solar-power, LED lights, and proximity detectors, the technology is in place to update Playground and School Zone signs so that they automatically activate on schedule and when danger is imminent.

Bumps, narrowing, obstacles and illusions aren't the answer. Adding safety hazards to get people to slow down only makes roads more dangerous.

I have seen a few signs with modern tech, but none for this purpose. It's time to update our roads with modern signage!
flying_finn
not rated yet Sep 08, 2010
Great idea! Hopefully will this will get the same response on the road as it has in this article!
nuge
5 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2010
^^ Generating rage that needn't have been? Is that a good thing on the roads?
random
not rated yet Sep 08, 2010
I, for one, think its great that someone finally found a practical application for optical illusions. It may not be perfect but at least it's a step in the right direction.
tigeral
5 / 5 (1) Sep 08, 2010
Absolutely idiotic and dangerous, to trick and confuse drivers with bizarre optical illusions.This is typical of the nonsense that motorists are subjected to these days. BCAA should be ashamed for supporting this lunacy; distracting drivers with magic illusions contributes to traffic safety? I seriously doubt it. David Dunne should be fired.
preventableblogger
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 09, 2010
Robert the blogger for Preventable.ca here. Thanks for all the attention, comments, and feedback on this campaign so far. For clarification on how the road installation works, please checkout our latest post - http://ht.ly/2BYTv
DaveGee
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2010
Wow... it's all been said but to recap... Person hits and kills a person in a parking lot while attempting to avoid a fake child... Person crashes into a support column while trying to avoid... Person has a heart-attack and dies shortly after being 'tricked' by a optical illusion safety system.

How about this... just drop bowling balls or lit M80s onto the roofs of cars that appear to be driven in an unsafe fashion. Low tech sure... but it'll accomplish the same thing!

Now what *I'd* like to know is what are some of the concepts they considered but dismissed as possibly unsafe or a tad 'too risky'.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2010
Now what *I'd* like to know is what are some of the concepts they considered but dismissed as possibly unsafe or a tad 'too risky'.
The popup cement dog was ruled out when PETA got all huffy about it.

The autoshotgun turrets were recalled when the instructions specified buckshot instead of rubber solid slugs.

And don't forget the land sharks...

Robert the blogger for Preventable.ca here. Thanks for all the attention, comments, and feedback on this campaign so far. For clarification on how the road installation works, please checkout our latest post -
You have to be the most poorly coded ad bot I've ever seen.

"Thanks for all the comments"? Every one say sthe same thing..."idiotic".
DaveGee
5 / 5 (2) Sep 10, 2010
David Dunne said the design is a static image, and added that “if a driver can’t respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn’t be driving."


I have to also ask this... HOW? exactly, does one 'appropriately respond' to a static painting of a woman and child on the parking lot blacktop?
DaveGee
not rated yet Sep 10, 2010
And don't forget the land sharks...


Don't you mean... "Candy-Gram'?
bottomlesssoul
not rated yet Sep 12, 2010
Wow, the messages here are really negative about this experiment. It's like the idea of almost hitting a young girl is too repulsive to consider, so ignore it and go one as usual.

Usual hasn't been working very well. I personally have been hit 5 times by drivers who "oops, just didn't see you".

Maybe if everyone was afraid to drive they would drive more carefully. Though I would rather people drive slowly and carefully and be happy about it.
random
5 / 5 (2) Sep 13, 2010
I personally have been hit 5 times by drivers who "oops, just didn't see you".


Wow, 5 times? I'm sorry, but maybe you need to be more careful.
Javinator
not rated yet Sep 13, 2010
Wow, 5 times? I'm sorry, but maybe you need to be more careful.


That made me laugh.

Police will also be patrolling the area.


Why not have the police start giving out tickets strictly if they're there anyways?

There's a small town I live near whose speed limit is 60kmh. A lot of people in the area speed outside of the town (it's a pretty normal thing around here for people to go 10-20 kmh over the limit), but it's pretty well known that anything around 65kmh is getting you a ticket in this town. Sure everyone complains that "the cops are dicks" there, but it definitely made everyone slow down.