A road-safety expert at the University of Calgary has released a study on how roadside memorials – the clusters of flowers, crosses, and photos that mark sudden tragic death in accidents – affect traffic.
Richard Tay set up fake memorials at four intersections with red-light cameras in Calgary, then monitored how the memorials affected traffic.
Prof. Tay, who holds the Alberta Motor Association Chair in Road Safety at the Schulich School of Engineering, found that about 17 per cent fewer drivers ran red lights at the target intersections over the six weeks of the test than in the previous six weeks.
“In terms of safety, these things have a positive benefit,” he said in an interview yesterday. “They give us a safety message to drive more cautiously.”
One of the big problems that churches face is the decreased sense that people have in their own mortality. The church has tried to deal with this issue by emphasising the temporal benefits of faith and other devices, but people will behave differently if a) they really know they’re not going to be here forever and b) that knowledge is buttressed by the knowledge of the relationship between what goes on here and what happens on the other side.
Obviously the study only deals with (a), but that’s an improvement over the usual oblivion people have to the fact that earthly life is finite.