Okay, before I get off on my tangent, I’d like to say that the traffic signal light stack (for lack of a better term, known to me – green light, yellow light, red light) needs a pedestrian walk light. Why? I walk everywhere around town, and even though I try to be a law abiding citizen (at least with regard to street crossing) and use crosswalks and cross signals, cars constantly intrude on my personal space (read that as: try to run me over). Why? Because they’re too busy looking for cross traffic and looking at the traffic lights to see or hear the crosswalk signal (which is visually located for the pedestrian, not the driver). In spite of the fact that the walk signals and signs are only useful for avoiding a ticket for jaywalking, I still use them. Anyway, to the tangent:
The mechanics/mechanical nature of everything we interact with in our day to day lives is uninspiring, impersonal. Take crosswalk signals for example (great segue above, don’t you think?). Here in my town they sound off when it’s time to cross the street (for the visually impaired). It starts with a steady, annoying tone, then, as time begins to run out (ladies and gentlemen, start your engines), it begins to beep. While this is fairly efficient and works, wouldn’t it be fun if it let you know that it was about to let you cross? Wouldn’t it be exciting to hear the seconds counting down to the end of the crossing permission? What about a random sound at the beginning or end of the cross signal? How about a Samuel L. Jackson message motivating you to get across the walk (I think that would be awesome and can imagine it even now – something to the effect of: I know your @#&! is not still crossing the road!)?
I think a town that personalized their crosswalks would draw attention and tourism. Tourism means money, so expect this in your town soon!