Good Thinking

High-tech crosswalk is designed to save pedestrians

High-tech crosswalk is designe...
The crosswalk features warning LEDs embedded in the road
The crosswalk features warning LEDs embedded in the road
View 4 Images
The system incorporates a flashing electronic sign, and an audible alarm
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The system incorporates a flashing electronic sign, and an audible alarm
The crosswalk features warning LEDs embedded in the road
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The crosswalk features warning LEDs embedded in the road
A closer look at one of the embedded LEDs
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A closer look at one of the embedded LEDs
Crosswalk users are also warned via an app
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Crosswalk users are also warned via an app

Thanks to things like smartphones and automotive infotainment systems, both pedestrians and drivers are probably now less aware of one another than ever before. An experimental new crosswalk could help keep accidents from happening, however, through a variety of lights, electronic signs, and an app.

Designed by a team at the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology, the system starts by using a thermal imaging camera to detect pedestrians who are approaching the crosswalk. When someone is detected, the system responds by illuminating LED warning lights that are embedded in the asphalt on either side of the crosswalk. These lights are said to be visible from up to 50 meters away (164 ft), yet are not so bright that they will disrupt drivers' vision.

Once a vehicle subsequently gets to within 30 m (98 ft) of the crosswalk, a blinking electronic sign illuminates to warn the driver of the pedestrian – just in case that driver missed the embedded LEDs.

Crosswalk users are also warned via an app
Crosswalk users are also warned via an app

Pedestrians, on the other hand, are warned of approaching vehicles in three ways. First, if an oncoming car travelling faster than 10 km/h (6 mph) is detected, a warning image is projected onto the ground in front of the pedestrian – this should catch the attention of people who are looking down at their phones, or the elderly, who are more likely to be looking at the ground as they walk.

Secondly, an audible alarm is sounded. And third, an app causes the pedestrian's phone to vibrate and sound an alarm of its own.

In field tests that involved about 1,000 vehicles, 83.4 percent of drivers either stopped or reduced their speed in response to the system's warnings. And on roads with a 50 km/h speed limit (31 mph), drivers approaching the crosswalk reduced their speed by almost 20 percent more than when approaching the same crosswalk without the added warning system.

"We expect outstanding results when the system is installed at crosswalks without traffic signals and crosswalks on rural highways, where the rate of pedestrian accidents is high," says project leader Dr. Jong Hoon Kim. "We intend to continue to develop the system, so that drivers can be notified of upcoming crossings via their navigation apps, and also vehicles can automatically slow down when dangerous circumstances are detected."

It is estimated that the system will cost about US$13,300 per crosswalk to install, and that its socioeconomic benefits should far outweigh that expenditure.

Source: Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology via EurekAlert

4 comments
Deres
I doubt the price given which is probably only the hardware price. You have to count the study of the installation, the installation itself and the maintenance over time including support contracts and stocking parts. This would at least double or triple the hardware price. For a small town with hundreds of crosswalks, the total cost would also be very huge. A simple first step before such an abuse of technology would be to insits on passive measures. Well drawn and lit crosswalk, sometimes with protective bumpers and maybe some yellow reflectors.
highlandboy
Drivers need to be alert at all times. If they get use to being warned at pedestrian crossings, what happens when there is no warning. As for distracted pedestrians- wake up! Maybe we should bring in a new Darwin Award for those silly enough to remove themselves from our over-populated planet, or maybe a lemming law that stipulates the lemming’s estate pays for the damage done to the vehicle if they walk onto the road where there is no crossing marked while useing a phone.
Brian M
Or simply - Pedestrians need to take responsibility and be awake and alert when using the roads. Perhaps it would be more cost effective just to make it illegal to use a mobile phone, music player etc while walking on a road/or roadside pavement? Similar to jay walking The bozos using phones while walking are danger and nuisance to everyone around them including other pedestrians (and cyclists)
RoGuE_StreaK
Simplest and cheapest way to reduce driver speed 100% of the time? Speed bumps. And treat the cause, not over-engineer a "solution". If you are driving, pay attention. If you are walking, don't cross a road while looking at your phone!