The use of technology and creativity to improve safety

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Recent initiatives from around the globe demonstrate a wide variety of creative solutions aimed at improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

India and China are using optical illusions to induce drivers to reduce their speed. Two artists from India, Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya, created a 3-D crosswalk that tricks drivers into thinking they are approaching roadblocks.

Indian artists and their 3-D crosswalk design
Indian artists and their 3-D crosswalk design

 

The design encourages motorists to reduce their speed and respect the crosswalk. For years, China has also been using 3-D zebra crossing designs, adding blue or red colour to make the crosswalks stand out and get the attention of the drivers.

Although the effectiveness of these designs is still under review, there is logic behind this concept. As the driver’s attention is caught by the presence of an abnormal object on the road, he or she is compelled to inspect it, reducing the car speed.

Another creative solution to improve safety for cyclists comes from the Netherlands.  A prototype of an LED light alert system has been installed in Eindhoven (already famous for the world’s first elevated cycle roundabout, subject of a previous blog). The system works by tracking the speed of cars and bicycles when they get close to an intersection. If there is a possibility of collision, flashing lights will signal the driver the need to reduce their speed.

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Flashing lights alert that a cyclist is crossing the street

 

In Germany, traffic lights have been installed in the street pavement to stop smartphone addicts from crossing the street. In Augsburg, authorities realised that the constant use of smartphones results in young pedestrians always looking down, unaware of traditional traffic lights and increasing the risk of accidents. To address the issue, red flashing lights were installed in the pavement at two tram crossings near the local university in an attempt to alert phone-addicted pedestrians to hazards before crossing the street.

As the cases above, the efficacy of this system is not yet known, however, the trialling of new ideas which improve safety outcomes is a necessary step in uncovering the best solutions.

Red lights on the ground warn pedestrians in Germany
Red lights on the ground warn pedestrians in Germany

 

Image credits: Express, The Better India, Fast.Co.

 

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