Good Thinking

In-road LEDs providing lightbulb moments for distracted smartphone users

In-road LEDs providing lightbu...
The lights comprise strips of LEDs integrated into the surface of the road just off the curb
The lights comprise strips of LEDs integrated into the surface of the road just off the curb
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The lights comprise strips of LEDs integrated into the surface of the road just off the curb
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The lights comprise strips of LEDs integrated into the surface of the road just off the curb
The LEDs are designed to be clearly visible even from a distance, and have been installed at crossings close to two tram stops in Augsburg
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The LEDs are designed to be clearly visible even from a distance, and have been installed at crossings close to two tram stops in Augsburg
When a tram is approaching, the light strips flash red, so that pedestrians paying more attention to their smartphones than the road are alerted
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When a tram is approaching, the light strips flash red, so that pedestrians paying more attention to their smartphones than the road are alerted

For those who are forever glued to their smartphones, navigating a city can be hazardous. Dodging street lights and other pedestrians without looking up is tricky, and crossing roads is downright dangerous. Some would leave this to Darwin, but Augsburg in Germany is trialling in-road pedestrian lights.

The lights comprise strips of LEDs integrated into the surface of the road just off the curb. They are designed to be clearly visible even from a distance and have been installed at crossings close to two tram stops in Augsburg.

When a tram is approaching, the light strips flash red, so that pedestrians paying more attention to their smartphones than to the road are alerted. When there are no trams approaching, the LEDs simply stay off. The light strips are powered wirelessly from the existing pedestrian light poles and also receive signals from the poles about when to flash. The pedestrian light poles themselves are triggered by approaching trams.

When a tram is approaching, the light strips flash red, so that pedestrians paying more attention to their smartphones than the road are alerted
When a tram is approaching, the light strips flash red, so that pedestrians paying more attention to their smartphones than the road are alerted

The trial is being run by Stadtwerke Augsburg, which provides the city with its energy, water and traffic services. Stadtwerke Augsburg tells Gizmag that it does not believe that there is any greater degree of safety issues caused by smartphone-use by pedestrians in Augsburg compared to anywhere else, but that the proliferation of smartphones has resulted in more of such issues on a global scale. The trial is aimed at determining whether or not LED strips integrated into roads in this way could improve pedestrian safety.

There is no set end date for the trial, which began on April 20th. Stadtwerke Augsburg plans to monitor the installations until it feels that there is evidence for or against their continued use. If they prove to be beneficial, the LED strips will be rolled out to other locations around Augsburg.

Source: Stadtwerke Augsburg

7 comments
wanderkip
I wonder if this implementation is simply proactive, or a response to an marked increase in pedestrian incidents? I also find it somewhat humorous that automakers would offer such trivial tech as radios dimmed until seatbelts are fastened, yet omit a more useful feature like a proximity sensor that jams any cell phone signal originating from the driver's seat while in motion.
TedStockwellIII
Fail. Why do you think people will notice some LEDs when they don't notice THE FREAKIN TRAIN that's about to squash them? Governments should mandate a protocol that will enable THE PHONES to display an alert when the user is on a collision course with a train, bus, car, etc. The trains should send out signals, that can be detected by the phone, that would enable the phone to alert the luser using it that they are about to be splattered.
Bob Flint
Useless when covered in snow, let the gene pool get thinned out. Otherwise maybe ear piercing sounds emitted from the device to advise the dunce of impending collision, oh wait that would be my car horn trying to warn you of impact.
Mel Tisdale
Have local detail mapping updated 24/7 while on the move. disable screen and keyboard if owner demonstrates suicidal behaviour, like stepping onto the road. Reconnect when stepping off the road. (All data movement to be free of charge, of course!)
Bob Stuart
@TedStockwellIII - These lights are near line-of-sight, not off side like an approaching vehicle. This principle could have been learned from bikeways, where riders must examine every inch of pavement while watching traffic, leaving the overhead traffic signs invisible.
Basil
Another way for the local Council to waste property owner's land taxes, when the system becomes best practice, and documented at conferences. Just hope those killed by ignoring the environment haven't got to breed yet, and pass on the gene. Go, Darwin!
Dirk Scott
Already fitted in Lisbon, Portugal. Biggest problem is local Camara (City Council) forgetting to replace dud LEDs.