Public: Pedestrian Crossing
Inflatable Crossing Guard   (+11)  [vote for, against]
A combination party noisemaker and inflatable advertising man

While on the way to work today, I saw 2 crossing guards (elderly volunteers, bless'em) walk out into traffic waving flags to bring traffic to a stop so children could cross a busy road on the way to school. This is very effective as a human shape standing in front of cars is much more likely to stop traffic than just flashing lights etc.

Unfortunately, the human cost having of thousands of people, whether paid or volunteers, coming out of their homes twice a day in all kinds of weather to perform this service is obviously significant. They are also risking their necks by being the first ones to step into traffic. I propose designing a pneumatically powered device which, when a button is pressed, unrolls out into the street like a party noisemaker and pops up one of those ripstop nylon inflatable advertising human figures which wave about wildly. After the requisite amount of time passes, it deflates and rolls back up again into its box waiting for the next batch of pedestrians.

This wouldn't negate the requirement for human judgement and the decision-making skills needed to handle very young children or extremely busy highways, but would form the 2nd tier of pedestrian crossings which aren't able to get human crossing guards but should have more than just a flashing light system. The figures could be illuminated internally and, if you wish, could even make the party noisemaker noise while in operation. (Corporate sponsorship opportunities abound)
-- AusCan531, Mar 21 2012

I like. +
-- blissmiss, Mar 21 2012

I like it too, but I can't shake the feeling I've seen it in a movie or TV show.
-- Alterother, Mar 21 2012

The "Automatic Pilot" in Airplane ?

// skills needed to handle very young children //

Trebuchet ...
-- 8th of 7, Mar 21 2012

Whilst this is a great idea [+] don't you think eventually the wise-asses will start running them over?
-- xandram, Mar 21 2012

Not if they roll out a strip of tire spikes when deployed...
-- scad mientist, Mar 21 2012

Yeah, [8th], whenever I try to remember where I've seen it, that's what I keep getting stuck on.
-- Alterother, Mar 21 2012

//movie or TV show// "Cops": deployable spikes rolled across the road... I think; I'm not sure it was inflatable.
-- FlyingToaster, Mar 21 2012

No, I mean a gag much like the one in 'Airplane', only with an inflatable smiling-and-waving crosswalk guard. I _know_ I saw it somewhere, dammit! This is gonna drive me nuts.
-- Alterother, Mar 21 2012

//This is gonna drive me nuts.//. Just one of the services I offer! I agree with [xandram] that vandalism would be a big issue but I really like [scad mientist]'s idea of tire spikes.
-- AusCan531, Mar 21 2012

Yeah, STD grates at school crosswalks would really cut down on infractions.
-- Alterother, Mar 21 2012

Yes, you want to cut down on STD infractions while the students are formicating all over the road.
-- spidermother, Mar 22 2012

random, halfbakery