Take a look at the following road layout. Can you spot what’s wrong with it?
As this photo was taken at Media City, Manchester, UK, what’s clearly wrong with this is the entrance and exit are on the completely wrong sides! In the UK, it is the law to drive on the left side of the road. Needless to say, when turning into this car park, absolutely everyone drives in using the left side of the road. This is because the brain has built up an existing schema or map of how to drive and what to expect so it takes shortcuts where it can to avoid unnecessary processing. When we’re used to driving on the left side and entering car parks on the left side, we don’t look for or consciously notice road signs that might tell us something different. So the Stop road marking (which is upside down anyway to the driver so would be too difficult to read) and the arrow pointing to the right wouldn’t be noticed by the driver.
Surprisingly, Media City is a very new development so this car park was only created a maximum of a year ago. It’s slightly ironic when you consider that Media City is the new home of the BBC who place high importance on accessibility.
This car park has all the makings of an accident just waiting to happen.
There is also another thing wrong with the design of this car park that isn’t shown in the photo. Basically, this car park is right outside the Booths supermarket. So, if you are specifically coming to Media City to shop at Booths and you see this large enticing car park right in front of the store with an obvious road leading to it you will turn into it as it’s the only visible road into the car park. This road actually is one way, and it’s an exit road not an entrance road! So if you drive down this road you are going the wrong way! They’ve actually designed it as a one way system that involves driving quite a distance past Booths then taking two left turns. It’s completely unintuitive to drive past the store and the car park, which is why so many people make the unintentional mistake of using this road as the main entrance to the Booths car park.