I recently posted an example of a particularly complex parking sign, and encouraged people to try to determine if you were allowed to park to the right at 1:00pm on non-event days.
The answer is “no”, as it is a Bus Zone, but confusingly the second section from the bottom of the sign is redundant.
The mental effort required to solve this puzzle is remarkably large. One person, in commenting against the original post, suggested that it would be funny to have a hidden camera recording people’s faces as they try to solve this council induced logic problem.
This issue is not new. Nikki Synlianteng has an excellent web site called To Park Or Not To Park. Nikki created a timeline-like representation of parking signs.
There have been rollouts and trials around the world, including one in Brisbane.
Some colleagues challenged me if it was possible to convert the complex ‘traditional’ sign into this new format. Clearly it could be done, but on the surface it may be a bit difficult.
An example of the format of her work
Each column in the new format represents a “state”; i.e. weekend/weekday for example.
In our case we have four states:
This could potentially create 16 columns which would be just as confusing – but we can boil it down a bit.
To start with, we draw up a truth table of all of the states against the time of day, then with some Karnaugh simplification the number of unique columns reduced down to 5. Then with some optimisations afforded by the graphics of Nikki Synlianteng, the column count came down to 4.
I think most people would be able to solve this very quickly. The case in point of the original question; "Can you park to the right on non-event days at 1:00pm?" Clearly the answer is an immediate "no".
Some have suggested that we go to electronic parking signs using e-ink or similar. Sydney have examples of this. Depending on how it is implemented, this may lead to other problems as it may not allow the driver to ask questions like "can I park here tomorrow" or "how much longer can I park here for".
Graphical representations of parking signs is a great example where the field of user experience and design (UI/UX) can really help out in the smart cities space.
...but please, no one ask me to repeat this exercise for this sign:
Culver City says g’day mate! pic.twitter.com/pomr3eDKr3
— Messiah Carey (@bjs_moonlight) August 12, 2018