Street Signs Reimagined for the Digital Age

Traffic signals don't get updated very often. Occasionally, cities test out new walk signals or add extra safety measures for pedestrian crosswalks, but the tri-color traffic light hasn’t changed much since it was invented in the early 1920s. Moscow-based designer Evgeny Arinin took it upon himself to reimagine what traffic signals and signs could look like in the 21st century, as WIRED reports. His traffic light system is sleek and simple, using large LED displays and colored arrows to keep people safe while on the road. For instance, a four-way intersection would be visualized using a cross-shaped light, while an intersection where one road dead-ends into another perpendicular street would be visualized by a T shape. If you can turn left but not right, a green arrow would curve to the left side of the cross, but the right side would be blocked off in red. The system is minimalist: There are only arrows and straight lines of light. As has been the case since the 19th century, red means stop and green means go. Arinin hopes the lack of visual clutter will make signs intuitive and easy to read. According to Margaret Rhodes at WIRED, now is the perfect time for cities to rethink street signals. As driverless cars become more prevalent, traffic signals need to become easy for cameras to read. While humans can read a traditional street sign as well as these LED arrows, a computer might find it easier to focus on the simplicity of Arinin’s shapes. The edges of the screens in Arinin’s designs also have raised bumper edges to prevent people from getting confused as to which sign in the intersection is directing them—if it’s not a sign for your lane, you won’t be able to read it. To redesign every street sign in one country, much less the world, would be an enormous expense, and there are plenty of regulatory hurdles involved in designing traffic intersections. While the concept is a finalist in this year’s Lexus Design Awards, the lights may not be coming to a town near you anytime soon.
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Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed
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Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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The Best (and Worst) States for Summer Road Trips
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As we shared recently, the great American road trip is making a comeback, but some parts of the country are more suitable for hitting the open road than others. If you're interested in taking a road trip this summer but are stuck on figuring out the destination, WalletHub has got you covered: The financial advisory website analyzed factors like road conditions, gas prices, and concentration of activities to give you this map of the best states to explore by car.

Wyoming—home to the iconic road trip destination Yellowstone National Park—ranked No. 1 overall with a total score of 58.75 out of 100. It's followed by North Carolina in the No. 2 slot, Minnesota at No. 3, and Texas at No. 4. Coming in the last four slots are the three smallest states in America—Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut—and Hawaii, a state that's obviously difficult to reach by car.

But you shouldn't only look at the overall score if you're planning a road trip route: Some states that did poorly in one category excelled in others. California for example, came in 12th place overall, and ranked first when it came to activities and 41st in cost. So if you have an unlimited budget and want to fit as many fun stops into your vacation as possible, taking a trip up the West Coast may be the way to go. On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi is a good place to travel if you're conscious of spending, ranking second in costs, but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the quality of your trip, coming in 38th place for safety and 44th for activities.

Choosing the stops for your summer road trip is just the first step of the planning process. Once you have that covered, don't forget to pack these essentials.

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