Action-Packed Signs Could Mean Fewer Pedestrian Accidents

Marielle Mondon at Next City: “Action-packed road signs could mean less unfortunate action for pedestrians. More than a year after New York and San Francisco implemented Vision Zero campaigns to increase pedestrian safety, new research shows that warning signs depicting greater movement — think running stick figures, not walking ones — cause fewer pedestrian accidents.
“A sign that evokes more perceived movement increases the observer’s perception of risk, which in turn brings about earlier attention and earlier stopping,” said Ryan Elder, co-author of the new Journal of Consumer Research report. “If you want to grab attention, you need signs that are more dynamic.”

The real U.S. pedestrian sign on the left represents what almost seems to be a casual stroll, while the example on the far right amps up the speed of the walkers.

The study argues that drivers react faster to signs showing greater movement because the threat of a last-minute accident seems more real — and often, a quicker reaction, even by a few seconds, can make a major difference….
Another important point in a world where pedestrians can play games with walk signals: Elder’s suggestions seem more noteworthy than whimsical — and not necessarily a contribution to urban cutesification that annoys some city-dwellers….(More)”