SIGN really for airplanes and pedestrian safety? Controversial “art mural” in DeFuniak Springs

SIGN really for airplanes and pedestrian safety? Controversial “art mural” in DeFuniak Springs

Photo: Flickr JR P as seen in Only in Your State Florida

“DeFuniak Springs officials say they want the city to be a destination spot for tourists. One way of doing this is by promoting the arts.

‘It’s been a bit of a collaborative effort between Main Street and the city, and also with the Tree and Beautification Board,’ said City Beautification & Tree Board Chair Kim Wennerberg. ‘We’re all trying to work together to make downtown more interesting and more of a destination…’

However, one street painting in particular continues to be controversial.

The project was intended to be more than art, though. City officials said this street mural was part of a safety project, intended to slow drivers down.

It has caused controversy because many say they don’t like it.

Wennerberg said the city had the board conduct a survey on the street painting. More than 750 people participated in the survey. Wennerberg said the majority of the reactions have been negative.

‘Even the mural here, I know there’s been a lot of opposition about it in whether they like it or not, but, you know, if you go overhead and with a lot of people flying over, they know where DeFuniak is,’ said local Greg Brack.

The future of the street painting remains unclear.”

— Marissa Roman, Only in Your State Florida

Read entire article

“U study finds signs displaying highway death tolls lead to more crashes”

“U study finds signs displaying highway death tolls lead to more crashes”

Downloadable graphic from study

Read the entire original STUDY here

“Many departments of transportation across the United States use roadside electronic message boards to inform drivers how many people have died in traffic crashes for the year.

The idea behind the low-cost attention-grabbing strategy is to get motorists to slow down and drive safely.

Photo: Jonathan Hall, University of Toronto

But results from a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto published last month in the journal Science found the hard-hitting messages are having an unintended effect: They lead to more crashes.

‘Good intentions do not always lead to good outcomes,’ said Joshua Madsen, an assistant professor at the U’s Carlson School of Management. ‘There is something to suggest it’s backfiring.’

Madsen and Jonathan Hall of the University of Toronto looked at Texas where highway death tolls are advertised one week a month. The researchers collected crash data for 2 1⁄2 years before the sign campaign started in August 2012 and compared the data with the five years that followed.

They found crashes increased 4.5% in the 10 miles immediately after drivers passed a sign during weeks when the grim numbers were posted versus the other weeks of the month when the death count was not. Crashes increased each month as the death toll rose, with the most wrecks occurring in January when the grand total from the previous year was displayed, the study said.

The safety messages contributed to an additional 2,600 crashes — most involving multiple vehicles —and 16 deaths per year in Texas, costing $377 million annually, the study said.

‘Our hypothesis is that people get lost in thought and focus on something other than what they need to focus on,’ Madsen said. The sobering numbers can steal a driver’s attention and adversely impact their ability to respond to changing traffic conditions, Madsen said. ‘It has the ability to distract,’ he said.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has displayed fatality numbers only three times since 2017, said Kristine Hernandez, coordinator of the Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths program, which seeks initiatives to eliminate traffic fatalities.

‘We have chosen not to post the fatality number, mostly out of respect for the victims’ family,’ she said. ‘Most people have no idea what the numbers have been, what’s ‘reasonable,’ or what constitutes a need for them to change their behavior…'”

— Tim Harlow, Star Tribune

Read entire article

“Walton County OKs local funding for Inlet Beach pedestrian underpass.”

“Walton County OKs local funding for Inlet Beach pedestrian underpass.”

Photo: Northwest Florida Daily News
“Walton County commissioners took another step this week toward making a pedestrian underpass at U.S. Highway 98 and County Road 30-A a reality

In a unanimous Tuesday vote, commissioners authorized Chairman Bill Chapman to sign documents conveying $1.25 million in county funding for its share of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)-led project. The project has an estimated price tag of $6 million, including landscaping, sidewalk installation and other work.

Providing the county portion of the funding for the project is a prerequisite for construction to begin on the pedestrian underpass, for which design work began in 2018.

The project is being installed to improve both pedestrian and vehicular safety in the area. Currently, people living or vacationing on the south side of U.S. Highway 98 at County Road 30A in Inlet Beach must cross the busy four-lane U.S. 98 to get to shops and restaurants on the north side of the highway… Under the agreement, Walton County is responsible for lighting, landscaping and painting of the underpass, with FDOT being responsible for maintenance of the structure itself…

According to Commissioner George Anderson, in whose district part of the project is located, the local arts community has expressed interest in being involved with decoratively painting the underpass…”

— Jim Thompson, Northwest Florida Daily News
Read entire article

“Standing Electric Scooters: Study Shows How You Can Get Injured”

“Standing Electric Scooters: Study Shows How You Can Get Injured”

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images in Forbes
“Love hurts. So can crashing while riding on a standing electric scooter. Or being hit by such a scooter. Or tripping over such a scooter.

While many people seem to love cruising along on these scooters, a study just published in JAMA Network Open showed how such accidents could wheelie, wheelie hurt and raised questions about whether the risk of riding such scooters is being taken seriously enough…

To ride such a contraption, all you have to do is use a smartphone app to unlock the scooter, stand on the narrow platform, engage the handlebars, and begin scooting along at speeds that can go up to 15 miles per hour. After finishing your ride, shedding the scooter is simpler that getting rid of disposable underwear. You can just drop the scooter off at your destination, regardless of where that may be…

Gee whiz, what could possibly go wrong when people are riding among pedestrians on motorized scooters without wearing helmets or following traffic laws?”

— Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes
Read entire article

Digital Billboard Safety: New research included in Verdian Group Compendium

Verdian group has just published an up-to-date Compendium of billboard traffic safety research which includes information on 22 studies conducted worldwide between 2008-2018.

The most recent study from Belgium (2018) adds to the growing body of evidence that roadside digital billboards do distract motorists from the task of driving.

Download Compendium via Scenic America

Visit Verdian Group