India is infamous for its traffic as it is famous for its curry and cricket. Also, we Indians love honking for no apparent reason. As you can imagine, this creates a lot of noise.
Recently Mumbai Police conducted a social experiment to test whether they can curb unnecessary honking. All the details of this experiment are available in this short (ca.2 minutes long) YouTube video.
This is an excellent example following essential features of good design as per Donald Norman and practised by Equitus Engineering Limited:
- Constraint: Forcing a particular behaviour (stopping honking)
- Discoverability: Making it easy for users to find their way around a system (A decibel counter showing the decibel level)
- Feedback: The response the users receive when they interact with the system (when the noise exceeds a certain value, the timer resets and a message flashes)
Whilst this is a brilliant initiative that will ensure motorists don’t honk at traffic lights, the bigger problem of general road discipline remains a challenge/opportunity. Being a hopeless optimist, I see it as a difficult but not impossible thing to achieve.