Fun and Games With Transportation

It’s Friday. It’s summer. Let’s face it, you shouldn’t be looking at a computer right now.

But since you are — maybe you’re at work or something crazy like that — we’ll give you some fun stuff from the Streetsblog Network today. Fun, with a little undertone of serious.

First, via Transit Miami, we present a video game for traffic engineers. Unfortunately, it sounds old-school in the worst sense of that term:

Picture_2.pngThe University of Minnesota’s  Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute has released a "Gridlock Buster" traffic game, which helps students understand the “fundamentals” of controlling gridlock. Says the Institute of its new product:

"’Gridlock Buster’ is a traffic control game that incorporates tools and ideas that traffic control engineers use in their everyday work. Players must pass a series of levels while acquiring specific skills for controlling the traffic and ensuring that delays don’t get out of hand. For example, a player might need to manage a high volume of traffic passing through an intersection, where long lines form if vehicles don’t get enough green-light time. The more drivers are delayed, the more frustrated they get — causing the game’s ‘frustration meter’ to rise. Sound effects and animation simulate cars honking and drivers’ fists shaking to illustrate the realistic results of backed-up traffic queues."

Of course,  the sole focus of this hyper-annoying and stressful game is to move as many cars as possible through the grid so that one may obtain an acceptable score and move to the next round — where one is expected to move even more cars through the grid. With no options to actually decrease the traffic with mobility options such as bicycle facilities, transit, or infill the blatantly exposed surface parking lots — a pockmark on any potentially walkable street — I am left
with one question: what’s so intelligent about that?

Next, for your viewing pleasure, Copenhagenize has brought together six videos promoting cycling from different cities: London, Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris, NYC and Gothenburg, Sweden. As Mikael notes in his post, in the immortal words of Sesame Street, "one of these things is not like the other." And — surprise! — it’s the one from the US. Apparently in Europe, they have this crazy idea about showing people having fun on bikes rather than immobilized and bloody in an ambulance.

You think they’re onto something? Could or should we ever see similar ads in big US cities? Or do you support the New York approach?

Plus, Grieve-Smith on Transportation challenges you to a little word game: If a trend away from car ownership shouldn’t be called "demotorization," what’s a better coinage?

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