Clear Signals Make It Easier to Do the Right Things

I saw the best sign last week.

We were on vacation in Florida when I spotted the sign (yes, geek alert…she takes pictures of signs while on vacation…).

If you own an electric vehicle (EV) or follow the technology, you might be aware that sometimes EV drivers have challenges accessing public charging stations because non-electric vehicles are parked in front of the chargers. (In the EV world this is called being ICEd—an internal combustion engine (ICE) is in your way.) In some regions of the country ICEing seems to be the latest exemplification of ongoing culture wars—a Tesla versus pickup truck battle. The issue is significant enough that there are webpages devoted to parking protocols.

Most often, though, getting ICEd isn’t about partisanship—it is about poor communications. When the signage is unclear and a good parking spot seems open most drivers will take the spot. The best way to prevent ICEing is clear signage.

And that’s why I really liked the sign I saw at a park in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first line is clear—NO PARKING. It’s coupled with cross-hatching on the pavement—a clear signal to park elsewhere. And then the sign offers a single exception: Except When Charging. So not only is it clear that I shouldn’t park there if I don’t need to charge, it’s also clear that I should move my car when I’m done charging. This is much clearer than signs that say “Reserved for EVs” or “EV Charging”. There’s nothing about NO PARKING that is open to interpretation. The sign eliminates any potential for confusion.

At Cool Choices we talk a lot about how important it is to make the right choices EASY for people and this sign is a great example of how clear framing simplifies things. The sign, coupled with the cross-hatch paint on the spots, makes clear that this isn’t a regular parking spot. A driver who’s thinking about 15 other things while looking for a spot (that is, a regular person like you or me, every day of the week) will see the sign and typically opt to park elsewhere. Which means the charging station is accessible to EV drivers who need it.

Hundreds of communities around the US have committed to reduce their carbon emissions. As local leaders implement strategies to facilitate those reductions it’s important to remember EASY. The best strategies make it easy for people to do the right things.

To learn more about the power of EASY, check out our on-demand webinars or reach out to us for more information.

Comments are closed.