A responsive road which aims to reduce accidents at pedestrian crossings has been trialled.
The “smart crossing” uses computer vision technology to differentiate between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists automatically, and has an LCD surface that adapts in real time.
The prototype can widen to accommodate big groups and alert drivers and cyclists when the crossing is not clear, for example if a pedestrian is obscured by a bus or lorry, or in an emergency situation.
The crossing, which was developed by Direct Line and Saatchi & Saatchi London using technology from the Transport Research Laboratory in partnership with designers Umbrellium, has recieved positive feedback from road safety organisations.
Around 7,000 accidents a year happen at pedestrian crossings and the creators of the new crossing said it is a “genuine solution” to the problem.
Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi London Will John said: “Roads are the beating heart of any city. They are full of life. But they don’t adapt or respond to that life.
“Sure, we put signs and marking down to guide people at crossings. But a smarter solution would be a smarter road; a road that can look out for you and keep you safe.
“With Direct Line, we’re looking to prevent accidents from ever happening, by reimagining road safety and what a crossing can do.”
The bright colours used on the LCD road surface are designed to grab the attention of pedestrians and “urge them to look up” rather than focusing on mobile phones.
Usman Haque, founding partner of Umbrellium added: “This is an ongoing problem and we’ve developed a genuine solution. ‘The Smart Crossing’ dynamically responds in real-time using technology which has been designed with colours that road users know and understand, and practical designs that help those on the crossing feel comfortable, confident and safe.
“This is about bringing pedestrian crossings up-to-speed with the rest of a modern-day city. Pedestrian crossings as we know them were made for a different age, when the human relationship with the city was completely different.
“Our prototype is waterproof, can hold the weight of vehicles and can recognise the difference between pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists – it’s ready to change the future of how we cross the road.”