Boffins to redesign streets for drunks
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Hazards like park benches will be removed in drunk-friendly streets Scientists have decided that redesigning streets to make them more user-friendly for drunks could help reduce conflict and violence.
After using computer simulations based on the Welsh to mimic the movements of people staggering home after a good night out, researchers came to the staggering realisation that drunk people trip over things.
Scientists went on to the streets of Cardiff to get information about drunken behaviour they could feed into their computer model,. breathalysing locals and studying their behaviour.
A quarter of the individuals encountered were found to be so drunk they were staggering.
Simulations were then run showing crowds in various states of inebriation trying to pass through a narrow alleyway to three different destinations.
When a fifth of the people were staggering, progress was reduced by 9%, while a whole crowd of drunks led to a 38% reduction in movement.
The scientists believe their findings have a direct association with the all too common phenomenon of fights breaking out at "chucking out time".
"Drunks become irritants because they slow people's progress towards their goal," said study leader Simon Moore, from the University of Cardiff, who presented the findings last week at the International Crime Science Conference in London. "They may then become targets of violence."
The researchers plan to investigate how moving street obstacles or increasing pedestrianisation might ease congestion around nightspots, New Scientist magazine reported.