At the intersection of cars, tech, and noise

Bill Ford, is the universe trying to tell you something?

World Listening Day 2016 | On July 1, I received an email from Ford Social that announced a kind of "tie in" with Ford and national parks that immediately brought a smile to my face. And it made me wonder - do you suppose the universe could be trying to tell Ford something?

Or perhaps trying to tell Bill Ford 1 2 3 4 something?

You have to admit, the signs are there - and when the universe is trying to tell you something, they say that there are three things you should do if you are ready to receive the message.

Pay attention.

What Ford Social - and Ford Motor Company - seem to have missed is the fact that the National Park Service has been working on soundscape awareness and protection for some time now. And included in that effort is a campaign encouraging people - including car owners - to minimize their noise footprint - including specifically not using audible door locking technology.

Don't ignore the obvious.

The Ford Vietnam anti-honking campaign encourages us to think before we honk and frames non-emergency horn honking as the anti-social sound that it is. How can the same company that seeks to reduce horn honking in one culture continue to manufacture cars with multiple non-emergency uses for the horn in another culture? Which is it? Is it harmful and anti-social, or is it socially acceptable?

Listen to your heart.

On which side of this debate do you see yourself? On which side do you want to be?

The cool nerds' side? The idealistic, quixotic, miles ahead of the pack environmentally side?

Or the side of those who don't care if they wake people up?

How does the concept of lock alert horns waking people up square with your environmental values and ideals?

This year's World Listening Day theme of sounds lost and found reminds us of sounds that we have lost and found. The "lost" for me are a combination of urban and natural sounds - my favorites are the wind in the trees and distant highway sounds. Now I listen to those sounds via YouTube videos! My windows are closed to reduce vehicle lock alert sounds.

While some hospital departments incorporate efforts to reduce alarm and alert sounds, others find more and more scenarios for alarms, many of which are missed. And people who live along bus routes can attest to the shrill, steady alert sound that now heralds every passenger's entry and exit.

There is no easier or more justified means of improving the environment than to eliminate and reduce audible vehicle alerts, replacing them with newer, smarter, clearly effective signaling methods. Leaving it up to the end user hasn't worked. Automakers need to fix this problem and to do so quickly. Any automaker that aligns itself with national parks needs to get on board and position itself on the side of those who are working towards soundscape awareness and protection.

Bill Ford, the universe is trying to tell you something. Are you ready to listen?


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  "Data will set you free" (Updated more frequently)

  Thank you (January 31, 2016)

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  Thank you (November 26, 2015)

  Taking the High Road (November 8, 2015)

Prayer garden   Think - please. (September 26, 2015)

Missouri Botanical Garden   Reclaiming natural and residential soundscapes (September 10, 2015)

Hold the phone, it's Patti LuPone   May we have our attention back please? (July 26, 2015)

Alexey Zajtsev In the Garden   My summer reading list (June 30, 2015)

Maybe this will be the year   Maybe this will be the year! (May 30, 2015)

  Safety myths (April 29, 2015)

  Earth Day 2015 (April 29, 2015)

  Reinvention (April 15, 2015)

  Everyone's problem (March 29, 2015)

  Reading Day (February 12, 2015)

  German Engineering, American Style (February 1, 2015)

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  Everything Matters (December 31, 2014)

  One Car, Three Perspectives (November 30, 2014)

  The critics have spoken (October 30, 2014)

  Now you hear it, now you don't (September 30, 2014)

  Closed windows and a wall of buffering sound (August 26, 2014)

  A Curious Coincidence with "Greenest Automaker" Analysis (World Listening Day 2014)

  When did things get so complicated? (July 1, 2014)

  The art and science of locking a car with a remote (June 10, 2014)

  "It's all about me!" (May 25, 2014)


May 20, 2014 | Since Silence the Horns took over the advocacy and lobbying function of this effort, I've turned the main page of this site into a blog. So there you have it, and here it is. If you landed here because you were woken up when someone locked their car, or you miss being able to sleep with the windows open, or you're tired of hearing horns honking from a block away every few minutes on your otherwise quiet street, you've reached the right place. You can do something about it. And you can begin now, or you can begin later. This is not a minor annoyance. It's a sleep depriver and an attention stealer and a safety risk in parking lots and it's a misuse of a safety signal. You can start anywhere, but I'd suggest you start here.

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