An idea to reduce unnecessary honking

Last summer, on a holiday, we spent some time lazily cycling along some minor roads in the island of the Bahamas. I asked my 9-year-old daughter if she could hear the constant sound of the ocean in the background, even though we couldn’t see it. “Oh?”, she said. “I thought it was traffic”. Then, after a moment, “actually yeah, I was wondering why there was no sound of horns!”

Cycling in the Bahamas
Cycling in the Bahamas

Honking! Loud, persistent and almost always unnecessary! One only needs to get out on any major road in Bangalore to be subject to the full effect of the cacophony.

Now picture this:

You take the company cab to and from your office everyday. You get into your cab and open up an app on your smartphone. Every time you hear your driver honking, you tap a button on your smart phone. Using the ‘Honk Tracking’ feature, you not only keep track of the number of times a horn is sounded but also where it is sounded. At the end of the trip, you end up with a visual representation of your cab’s honking. Over a period of one or more weeks, honking patterns of various cab drivers are captured and compared. Awards are instituted for cab drivers that have the fewest honks per kilometer!

 

HonkingVisualization
Horn usage visualization

Inspired by ‘Fun Theory’, which postulates that ‘fun’ is the easiest way to change behavior, this idea was developed through a collaboration of Positive Strokes, Appobile and the Bangalore Traffic Police and the result is the ‘Honk Tracking’ feature of the bSafe app.  The ‘bSafe’ app is now available for download.  In addition to ‘Honk Tracking’, it has other features to ensure passenger safety as well.

As with other Positive Strokes activities and events, we expect that bringing in gaming ideas to traffic monitoring will positively engage and impact individuals at a deeper level.   The influence will not only be on the drivers being monitored but also on the people who are monitoring driving behavior.

Here’s what you can do:

If you are a company that owns large vehicle fleets or engages a cab company to shuttle employees to and from work and you would like to nudge your employees towards social responsibility, contact us! We’re looking to engage with a few companies to validate the idea and make an example of how simple and fun it can be to change driving behavior quickly for the better.

It’ll be a fun engagement!  Not to mention the ample benefits less honking can have on drivers, passengers and other road users’ health and outlook.

 

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