Reading the way
The same goes for cities. Making cities smarter isn’t necessarily about adding to the amount of electronics around us, it can be about going back to basics and taking a fresh approach to an old problem.
Signage is an issue that has been around ever since cars stopped needing a man with a red flag running in front of them. And in the UK in the 1950’s the issue of readability at speed was solved with the introduction of the Motorway and Transport fonts. These fonts were specifically designed to be easy to read at high speed, but such was their clarity that they were used in all road signs. The US and Europe have other fonts which are covered in a previous article.
But one thing that was never considered back then was dyslexia. Until quite recently dyslexia wasn’t diagnosed and wasn’t considered to be a medical problem, rather putting the sufferer down to being stupid. But this inability to read and write effectively has another problem; it can slow down a driver’s reaction time. A small study
in 2005 showed that it can take a dyslexic 30% longer to react when driving, this is 20% slower than someone who’s had two pints of beer.
One potential solution to this problem could be this newly introduced font that can help dyslexics read. Dyslexie
has been designed to make it easier for dyslexics to differentiate between letters that otherwise look similar such as “bd” and “ij”, “vw”, “mnu” and “hn” etc as seen in this video
. Although not designed specifically for road signs, and you can download it for personal use from the website, it may well be an unexpected bonus to the 10 percent of people who have it.
This font may not have a battery that needs replacing, nor make static electronic humming sounds but it has the potential to change millions of people’s lives and it deserves some support.