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Pac-Man: Guerrilla art or social engineering?

Both, as it turns out. Guerrilla artists in Wright County, Minnesota, have painted a huge Pac-Man on Highway 55, as well as a series of seven-foot dots for it to gobble up. The hand-painted character (which is about a month old, but has been touched up several times) comes with accompanying signs–and a message: The […]

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Both, as it turns out. Guerrilla artists in Wright County, Minnesota, have painted a huge Pac-Man on Highway 55, as well as a series of seven-foot dots for it to gobble up. The hand-painted character (which is about a month old, but has been touched up several times) comes with accompanying signs–and a message:

The 7-foot dots are 225 feet apart, the distance needed at the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, to stop in three seconds without rear-ending the vehicle ahead. Accompanying signs tell drivers to keep two dots apart in the stretch, traveled by an average of 16,000 vehicles a day.

Project traffic data collected on three July weekdays by the state Office of Traffic Safety showed that the dots had slowed drivers by almost a third of a second, to 2.6 seconds between vehicles monitored halfway through the two-mile section of dots.

And the space between vehicles increased by nearly 23 feet compared with gap data collected before the dots were added in June. Average speeds at the dots midpoint decreased about a mile per hour to 58.6 and remained about that speed a mile after the dots ended.

That makes more sense: A reader writes in to correct me: the Minnesota highway department created the spots, but the Pac-Man was added later. Even better!

Earlier: Walker groundskeeper plays Pac-Man.