Most traffic lights are only noticed for their color, not the images that might be displayed on them. Many pedestrians and drivers are more concerned about getting from point A to point B and view them without thinking, only paying attention when it is time to go or stop. However, pedestrians in Vienna are doing a double take as the traffic lights change color, realizing that a minor change is making an major impact on how they view the signals. Instead of saying stop and go, or displaying a picture of a little man or woman, the lights have begun to show same-sex couples on the displays.
USA Today reported that the main reason that Vienna changed the icons on the lights was to ensure that pedestrians and drivers look twice at the lights, rather than subliminally stop and go without much thought. The project seems to be working, as the national media has taken notice and is spreading the word. To signal for a pedestrian to stop, male and female same sex couples are shown standing side by side and holding each other’s hands. When the light turns green, the couple is still holding hands, but in a walking pose with a heart above their heads.
Andreas Baur is a press officer for Vienna, and he shared that the ideology behind the same sex traffic lights was to bring about awareness.
“The campaign is mainly targeted at raising awareness for traffic safety.”
Metro U.K. reported on the event and shared that a spokeswomen within Vienna’s lighting department hopes the “gay friendly” traffic lights will go a long way toward improving traffic safety as pedestrians take their time to look at the lights and think about what they are doing, as well as look at their surroundings when they cross the streets.
Vienna is also the host to the 2015 Eurovision song contest, and they hope that the same sex traffic lights will show their acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle and recognize the city as being “open-minded.”
In addition to the attempt to support couples of all types, the Vienna government felt that the boring old gender neutral traffic lights were simply too bland. A spokesperson also stated that if Vienna wins the Eurovision trophy, there is a chance that it may make its way onto the traffic lights, as well.
What are your thoughts on the same-sex traffic lights, are they a great idea or a possible dangerous distraction?
[Photo Courtesy: Metro U.K.]