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An Attempt to Create Empathy in Drivers

10:22 AM EST on February 11, 2009

One of the issues that continually bedevils the members of the Streetsblog Network is how to get drivers to slow down and pay attention.

bostonglobe.jpgPhoto by Michele McDonald of the Boston Globe via How We Drive.

Tom Vanderbilt, author of the book Traffic and keeper of the How We Drive blog, writes about one such effort in the community of Needham, MA. As the Boston Globe reports, Needham is posting signs in school zones that feature a child's drawings and hand-written plea to "Slow Down!!! You May Hurt the Future."

Vanderbilt has this to say:

Part of me can’t help but to look at those “child-like” signs, meant to engender feelings of empathy for the nearby children, and think they almost say more about the drivers. We often hear about how children are “unpredictable” and do things like cross at inappropriate moments, butto look at the behavior of drivers through these school areas it is they who seem to be behaving without the appropriate amount of control and risk-awareness.

Do you think signs like the ones in Needham might trigger better behavior in otherwise apathetic drivers? Or do you agree with one of Vanderbilt's commenters, who wrote: "These signs are more effective at appealing to people’s better natures, but not everyone HAS a better nature. We need bollards here in Mass."

Also today on the network: Transportation for America has a handy table comparing the House and Senate transportation stimulus proposals; Hub and Spokes reports on how stimulus funds might pay for transit operating costs in the Twin Cities; and The Overhead Wire has some thoughts on Obama's sprawl pronouncement, which got the network so excited yesterday.

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