The Parallax Brief


Unrepentant Subjectivity on Economics, Politics, Defence, Foreign Policy, and Russia

Can Lasers Rescue Moscow’s Pedestrians?

Traffic in Moscow is appalling. Jams clog every main road during rush hour like fatty deposits in a 60-a-day smoker’s arteries. Famously, traffic from one of Moscow’s main airports, Sheremetyevo, is so bad that the car journey from terminal to city centre can take anywhere from forty minutes to eternity.

All this is true, and widely reported, but a worse problem, in the Parallax Brief’s view, is the average Moscow driver’s complete disregard for any traffic law. Not only does this mean that unnecessary jams are caused by drivers’ refusal to follow rules in place to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, but it makes crossing roads incredibly dangerous for pedestrians.

For instance, just the other day the Parallax Brief was crossing at a pedestrian crossing when the light was on green (red for the cars), only to reach the middle of the road and find cars whizzing infront and behind him at about 60 mph, accompanied by much angry horn honking. The Parallax Brief would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the drivers for putting their cars at risk by foolishly expecting them to stop at a red light, because the fact of the matter is that in Moscow zebra crossings are completely ignored and traffic lights at pedestrian crossings are treated as a kind of ‘suggested guideline’, rather than sacrosanct.

This, as any Moscow resident will be aware, creates a certain frisson every time a busy junction is crossed, and while this may be good for thrill seeking adrenaline junkies, the Parallax Brief is of a more sedate disposition and would prefer something to be done.

Perhaps Korean designer Hanyoung Lee has the solution: lasers that will vaporise offending drivers. Well, not really. The concept involves a (non-lethal) red ‘laser wall’ which will project the silhouettes of pedestrians and make drivers more aware of both the red light and where their space ends and the pedestrian space starts.

Of course, the Parallax Brief would prefer something that could atomize transgressing cars, but this is a fabulous concept nonetheless.

Filed under: Russia, , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. darussophile says:

    I know zebra crossings are usually ignored, but not red lights. In my experience.

    • parallaxbrief says:

      Well, mostly they are — but! I’ve noticed that what really stops cars isn’t really the red light, but cars coming from the other direction as part of crossroads or junction.

      For instance, on my walk to work every day, I have to cross the spaghetti junction that is Taganskaya Ploschad (Takanka Square). There, the cars continue through pouring through the lights long after they’ve turned red, and only stop when the cars start approaching from another direction. The lights at the pedestrian only crossing are often ignored, something that has happened to me a few times.

      Perhaps it’s just me, though?

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