Friday, December 22, 2006

I was an unfortunate casualty of this particular "incentive" months ago, where the unveiling caused a 4 hour pileup of confused traffic along the busy I-5 corridor.

The backstory... Dots are appearing on highways, big white dots spaced precisely so you know that you're following at a safe distance. Doesn't work on congested roads, though, because it's like adding two times the amount of traffic by making spacing mandatory, not to mention the fact that leaving any extraneous distance between you and the car in front guarantees you'll be cut off virtually nonstop as other drivers try to get ahead. But onward the incentive soldiers... despite being a textbook "booksmart" solution that just doesn't fly in the real world.

Here's the story...

BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) - Pac-Man is back. Only this time, he's bigger - and he's gobbling up dots on Highway 55.

Large white dots painted on the highway to deter motorists from tailgating have been joined by a giant, yellow image of the video game icon.

"I drove that road the other day and drivers were bunched up to figure out what it was," said an amused Gary Miller, the Wright County sheriff.

The oversized Pac-Man has been on the highway for about a month, and the artist or artists behind it have been back to touch it up at least once.

"It's kind of comical," said county highway engineer Wayne Fingalson. "Somebody really did a good job of meticulously putting that (Pac-Man) in the dots."

But Tom Dumont, the area traffic engineer for the Department of Transportation, wasn't happy with the addition to the US$15,000 project.

"I'd hate to say positive things because I don't want to encourage people to try to paint something on a busy highway. But at least it's made the project a little more noteworthy," Dumont said.

The more than two-metre-diameter dots are about 68 metres apart - the distance officials say is needed for a vehicle travelling at 90 kilometres an hour to stop in three seconds without hitting the vehicle in front of it. Road signs tell drivers to keep two dots apart.

Patricia Hackman, who teaches driving classes at Buffalo High School, said: "I don't know where Pac-Man came from, but anything we can do to bring more attention to traffic safety, I'm all for it."

Wokka - Wokka

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home