Saturday, June 07, 2008

All Roads Lead to Roads

The recommendation of web addresses to driving commuters on billboards, electric signs, and bus advertisements has always struck me as a somewhat humorous thing to do, since writing down the actual URL would involve taking one's hands off the wheel in ways that threaten the public safety and well-functioning transportation that such official sites often advocate. I recently saw two such websites being promoted. The "Imagine" page of invites visitors to "Share your vision . . . Tell us what you Imagine" about public transportation. Unfortunately, it actually does little to solicit user-generated feedback beyond publishing short, selected snippets from their online surveys, although I was glad to see "subway to Santa Monica" among frequent user requests. The site also has a rudimentary Blogspot blog and a gallery of online videos in both English and Spanish that promote more public investment in transit. Watch The Road is even less interactive and does little that couldn't just be done on a billboard to promote a new law prohibiting driving while talking on cell phones that aren't hands free. Rather than solve the problems created by the economies of attention in our mobile mixed-reality environments, this new law deflects the focus of the public to more trivial issues about manual dexterity and the acquisition of pricey tools.

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