High-speed threats in a shared public space

High-speed threats in a shared public space
Scene from a remixed illustration, showing a city scene with people where streets are replaced by an abyss.

In this illustration, streets in a city scene are replaced by an abyss. There are people on the sidewalk, standing and walking, one holding a small child by the hand. One person is crossing the abyss on a plank, indicating a cross-walk.

Illustration by Karl Jilg

The illustration was commissioned for a report on Swedish traffic safety in 2017. Envisioned and produced by artist Karl Jilg, the idea is to create awareness of the dangers of speed (kinetic energy) by showing this instead as potential drop height (positional energy). Humans have a hard time understanding risk of speed but understand risks of height more easily.

I remixed Jilg's original image in 2019 below by adding more detail to the scene. I have added obstacles that pedestrians have to struggle with today (carelessly parked electric scooters). There are also two individuals added, highlighting that space is shared with people with mobility and visual constraints.

Remixed version of image with details added by Per Axbom

As a visual aid these images help bring attention to the care that needs to be taken when allowing more obstacles in the relatively small space allocated for pedestrians. In the future, this shared space needs to be reimagined to bring about a more equitable, and safer, environment.