Unless you work or live in some dreamy, rolling-countryside in a cottage like the one Cameron Diaz rents in The Holiday, chances are you can hear traffic honking outside your window right now.
It’s annoying. And loud. But nowhere else do car horns reach unimaginable decibels like in Mumbai—the honking capital of the world.
The noise pollution is making the city alarmingly unhealthy to live in. So to tackle this menace, Mumbai Traffic Police teamed up with FCB Interface to introduce a solution they call The Punishing Signal.
"Honking is bad habit and an act of traffic indiscipline," said Mr. Madhukar Pandey, Jt. Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mumbai Police. "Unfortunately, many Mumbaikars indulge in reckless honking. Honking causes noise pollution, hurts the eardrums, increases heart rate, creates traffic confusion and causes stress.
"Unnecessary honking is a menace which everyone recognizes but does little to curb. This small experiment is one of many attempts by Mumbai Police to create better road discipline in Mumbai. Hopefully, it will encourage Mumbaikars to honk less, and create a noise-free and stress-free commute."
Here’s how it works: Special decibel meters are connected to traffic signals across the island city. When the decibel exceeds a dangerous 85, the signal timer resets itself, forcing the people to wait longer.
Confused motorists are met with a sign that reads: "Honk more wait more."
Robby Mathew, chief creative officer, FCB Interface, said: "Sometimes, the stick works better than the carrot. And a signal that gave us a gentle rap on the knuckles for honking unnecessarily, seemed like a good idea to me."
Fred Levron, FCB Worldwide creative partner, added: "It’s mind-blowing to see how creativity can change behavior. We’re so proud to help our great client, The Mumbai Traffic Police, start a conversation on a massive social challenge. Shall we bring it to New York City now?"