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NYC Transportation Dept Uses QR Code Haikus in Safety Education Campaign


The New York City Department of Transportation has taken its safety education campaign to a whole new level by combining three elements that do not often come together: QR codes, haikus, and graphics. The campaign is called “Curbside Haiku.”

More specifically, DOT has installed signage with graphics, each accompanied by a quick response code. The QR code takes scanners to an obliquely explanatory haiku – which is a short form of poetry consisting of only 17 syllables. Each haiku delivers a message aimed at raising safety awareness among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

The Curbside Haiku is a set of 12 eye-catching designs done by graphic artist Johm Morse. A total of 144 Curbside Haiku signs, which take on the style of traditional road safety signage, have been installed throughout the city. The signs are specifically placed on eye level in accident-prone locations, near schools and cultural institutions.

In some locations, the haikus have been embedded in QR codes and can be read using a smartphone with a QR code reader app. In other locations, however, the signs come in pairs, with the graphics and the accompanying haiku text.

While the DOT’s effort at coming up with a creative, artistic and tech-savvy safety awareness campaign is commendable, people are divided. Some view it as nothing but a vanity campaign, saying that incorporating QR codes and poetry is useless and a total waste of money, as motorists and cyclists should not even consider taking out their phones to scan the codes or pondering on the haikus while they are driving. These people even go as far as saying this can only promote more cases of street accidents and injuries as the signs take people’s attention off the road.

Meanwhile, there are also those who think that the new signs make the safety message interactive and fun for people. They are those who believe that adding novelty and a whole new twist to safety reminders will bring the message back to people’s attention.

How about you? Do you think that the DOT’s Curbside Haikus will bring about positive results?

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