Spectrum: Texting While Walking a High Risk to Pedestrians

Harvesting tornado energy, Kickstarter cities

by / February 15, 2013

Distracted Pedestrians 

Nearly one-third of Seattle pedestrians observed during a recent study by Injury Prevention were distracted by a social or technological activity while crossing the street. Texting was associated with highest risk, according to researchers, who said pedestrians spotted texting were four times likelier to display an unsafe behavior than undistracted pedestrians. The study observed roughly 1,100 Seattle residents using some of the city’s busiest crosswalks. 

What are they doing?

  • Listening to music
  • Texting
  • Talking on their phone
  • Dealing with a child or pet
  • Talking to someone else

Some unsafe behaviors:

  • Disobeying traffic lights
  • Not looking both ways before crossing
  • Crossing mid-intersection

Kickstarter Cities

Have a project idea and need financial backing? 

Destination: Kickstarter.com. Last year, 18,109 projects received a combined dollar amount of more than $319 million. Here are a couple of U.S. cities that got a slice of the pie.

Athens, Ga., got a love shack! A national art competition called You, Me & the Bus invited participants to dream up cool designs for bus shelters in Athens. The 2008 winner was the Love Shack Bus Stop (inspired by The B-52s song Love Shack), but construction stalled because of lack of funding. Thanks to Kickstarter, the project was completed in 2012, giving bus passengers a place for huggin’ and a kissin’ — or at least wait for their ride.


Chattanooga, Tenn., became the first city to have its own typeface. Called Chatype, the designers hope the font will be used to brand Chattanooga’s roads, recycle bins, destinations and more.

Harvesting Tornado Energy

Picasso wasn’t referring to tornadoes when he made this statement, but the case could be made for an invention that creates tornadoes and harnesses that energy to generate electricity. The process, known as the atmospheric vortex engine (AVE), works by capturing energy that’s produced when heat is carried upward by convection in the air (a.k.a. an artificial mini tornado). The AVE could increase the power output of a thermal power plant by converting its waste heat into energy.  Source: vortexengine.ca 

Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.

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