BBC Future

60 Second Idea

‘Ration use of car horns’

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.

This week, IBM's Jeff Jonas imagines a way to ration the use of car horns.

“Automobile horns are obnoxious – it is noise pollution. I say you only get a few honks a month and after that there is a surcharge.  You are going to have to pay for it if you want to use the horn more than that.

Here is how it is going to work: As all these new cars come out and more and more of them are going to be connected to the net – and it is going to be cheap and easy to put a sensor on your horn, counting each and every time you toot the thing.

Then some big database in the sky is going to collect all of this data – these statistics – and start charging people accordingly.

This is going to make the world a better place. Why? It is going to reduce noise pollution. It is also likely to reduce the incidence of road rage because there is going to be less provocation.

And then there is a bonus of course: this big database in the sky. You could listen to others honking at you if you put the right sensors in the car and this could be compiled to find out which drivers are the most dangerous and also probably the most irritating.”

You can listen to Dr Jonas discuss his idea in more detail on the BBC World Service programme The Forum, where you can also download more sixty second ideas.

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