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Current Affairs

A Magazine of Politics and Culture

The Pedestrian of the Future

A pedestrian fatality crisis is brewing in the United States, and we need to focus on the root cause of the problem: pedestrians themselves.

A pedestrian crisis is brewing in the United States. Pedestrian fatalities rose 77 percent between 2010 and 2021 before reaching a 40-year high of over 7,500 deaths in 2022, and they show no signs of slowing down. You know, like cars. It leads us to ask: Who should we hold responsible? 

Many critics point to causal factors like cars getting bigger, people driving faster, and lax enforcement of traffic laws. These critics are completely missing the point. Moreover, they’re enemies of progress. They insist on blaming brilliant innovations in automaking (like huge, beautiful cars) and in traffic law enforcement (like not really doing it), rather than focusing on the root cause of the problem. 

The problem is the pedestrians themselves. 

Our nation’s pedestrians have totally refused to innovate. Pedestrians are practically the same as they were a hundred years ago! They’re still wandering around in their shoes! In what industry, I ask, would such utter stagnation be tolerated? No wonder they’re getting slaughtered in droves. 

Something must be done to stop our nation’s inept perambulators from sauntering, traipsing, and slouching their way toward an early grave, if only to prevent the tragedy of causing drivers the distress that comes from running someone over. Imagine, you’re just trying to madly accelerate through a yellow light in your haste to get to the sale at the wellness cage or the sandwich gym, and some transportationally backward philistine lunges out of nowhere from a sidewalk with a baby stroller, of all things, and now the only two-for-one deal you’ve got on your hands is the one with corpses lying in the crosswalk! It’s not fair. 

The time is now to innovate the pedestrian way of life. Everyone else is innovating, and it’s been great so far. I propose several groundbreaking solutions to direct pedestrians, at long last, into the future.

Raised Curbs Around Sidewalks

Similar to bike lanes, which rely on the innovation of raised curbs to protect cars from dangerous cyclists, we must install raised concrete curbs around all sidewalks. These curbs must be at least 20 feet tall. They will be totally free of any openings or gaps in order to prevent pedestrians from exiting them and making it into the road where they’ll only cause trouble. Instead, pedestrians will become trapped in raised-curb labyrinths. It’ll be basically like the Microsoft Windows 95 brick maze screensaver, forever. 

Let AI Pedestrians Flood the Streets

Artificial intelligence will transform every single aspect of the future, including healthcare, finance, and probably fish, and our streets should be no different. With just a few quick clicks and several nations’ worth of computing power, we can have millions of predictive AI pedestrians taking back our streets from undependable humans. Unlike human pedestrians, prone to human errors like inefficiency and using wheelchairs, AI pedestrians can be counted on to obey signals, cross briskly, and cede priority to cars at every turn. Plus, if a car hits one, there’s no problem at all. We’ll just throw them away and get another! 

Pedestrian Cannon

Using the same technology as a salmon cannon, pedestrians will enter the pneumatic tube at the edge of the sidewalk and be launched 1,700 feet at speeds exceeding 20 miles per hour straight into the Spokane River where they belong. It’ll be especially useful for pedestrians who happen to be spawning.  

illustrations by nick sirotich

Give All Kids Steroids To Make Them Huge

One study found that children are eight times more likely to die when they’re hit by an SUV compared to those hit by a passenger car. As SUVs and trucks grow to unavoidably massive sizes, it has created a massive problem, which is that children are too small. The smallness of children is obsolete and ripe for disruption. We must pump each and every red-blooded American youth with enough anabolic steroid to rapidly make them the size of adults. Then, when they’re inevitably struck by an SUV, they’ll just die at the rate adults do. Problem solved. As a plus, kids will now be the appropriate size for the dangerous jobs that the rollback of child labor laws gives them the opportunity to fill. Truly, we as a society have progressed beyond the need for children to be small. 

Establish a Pedestrian Forgiveness Program for Pell Grant Recipients who Open a Small Street That Operates for Three Years in a Disadvantaged Community

Often, we find that the most innovative solutions are those that incentivize the individual to innovate their individuality for themselves.

Pedestrian Refuge Desert Islands

Many pedestrian apologists advocate for the installation of pedestrian refuge islands in the medians of busy roads to provide safety and comfort to people crossing the street. You’ve seen them before: they’re those hideous scabs of concrete blighting the otherwise sumptuous visual feast of the four-lane stroad, often teeming with anarchic Ped Xing signs and ghastly scrub vegetation. Innovation is sorely needed. The real solution lies in the pedestrian refuge desert island, which should be a raised strip between eight and ten feet wide, highly visible, covered in sand, and located in the midpoint of two oceans. You can throw a palm tree on there if you want, I don’t care. Unless they’re going to disrupt shipping lanes, in which case fuck ’em.

Stop Being Poor

Paris Hilton’s sadly photoshopped tank top couldn’t have said it any better. Pedestrians die at a much higher rate in lower-income communities, which often lack infrastructure like parks and sidewalks and contain more arterial roads with faster traffic. Now, it shouldn’t take a PhD in urban planning from Stanford like the one I tell people that I have to arrive at the innovation that pedestrian deaths will decrease among the poor when they stop being poor. If everyone in the neighborhood becomes rich, then it will be a rich neighborhood, the arterial roads will vanish, and parks teeming with verdant joggers will appear in their stead. It’s a no-brainer. Instead of destitution and dead pedestrians, the incredibly innovative idea to simply have lots of money will transform the area into a hub for artisan shoe boutiques, co-walking spaces, and micro foot-fetisheries, and some poor suckers in some other neighborhood will get run over instead.

Study Pedestrian Brains to see if Getting hit by a car is Truly, Actually, Scientifically bad for the Brain

Hey, it works for the NFL’s PR efforts.

One National Designated Pedestrian Hyperloop Route

When the Hyperloop was declared dead last year, transit innovators everywhere grieved its loss, myself included; I dug a hole in my backyard and refused to come out. But once my cousins coaxed me out of my hole, I realized that the Hyperloop’s so-called failure was, in reality, a misapplication of the technology. Why would we want to hide our dazzling next-gen cars away in tunnels? Imagine buying the latest F-450 Ford Slaughterer and then not being able to show it off because it’s stuck underground? The Hyperloop should be concealing pedestrians, not cars. I propose we convert the Hyperloop tunnel into the nation’s one single pedestrian thruway, allowing all pedestrians to cross from one part of Las Vegas to the other. Then we can turn the rest of the nation’s sidewalks into driving lanes.

Pedestrians Learn to Control the Weather

Ice and snow create worse road conditions for drivers, fog dramatically lowers visibility, and even a single drop of rain can cause a Tesla to short-circuit and drive directly into the nearest kindergarten. This makes it more hazardous for pedestrians who are in the way of motorists running late for their daughter’s funeral practice or hurrying to pick up their son from a Neuralink implantation session. If it’s so goddamn important for pedestrians not to die while crossing the street, it’s incumbent on them to improve their odds by learning how to control the weather. I assume God teaches some sort of MasterClass. Pedestrians must gain mastery over the atmosphere in order to transform their surroundings into clear, sunny skies with their mind—if they want to survive.

Shoot all the Pedestrians

The ultimate American innovation, for when nothing else works. Ultimately, there are two kinds of people in this world: pedestrians and drivers. (And I don’t see you behind the wheel of a car, pal. Unless you’re reading this while you’re driving, in which case, hell yeah!) With a few simple innovations in the pedestrian space like those I’ve presented above, we can ensure that our nation’s esteemed motorists are able to drive safely off into the sunset without a pedestrian stuck under their tires. Besides, it’s good for us as a society to make what efforts we can to keep even our pedestrians alive. I mean, these are our future private prison guards and hedge fund traders we’re talking about. 

More In: Frivolity & Amusement

Cover of latest issue of print magazine

Announcing Our Newest Issue


Celebrating our Ninth Year of publication! Lots to stimulate your brain with in this issue: how to address the crisis of pedestrian deaths (hint: stop blaming cars!), the meaning of modern art, is political poetry any good?, and the colonial adventures of Tinin. Plus Karl Marx and the new Gorilla Diet!

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