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Smart crossing tech for safer streets for pedestrians

Three high schools in Dunedin, New Zealand will experience a safer pedestrian crossing with the introduction of smart road safety measures.

About the initiative

According to a recent press release, the measures will help make drivers more aware that they are approaching pedestrian crossings and need to slow down.

The smart crossing has been installed outside Kaikorai Valley College. It has a range of features to make it more visible.

These include illuminated signage on each side of the road and flashing LED lights in the roadway, which will be activated automatically as pedestrians approach to cross.

DCC Transport Engineering and Road Safety Team Leader Hjarne Poulsen explained that they added the smart crossing features to this crossing to make it more visible to drivers.

It is a busy road and there have been a number of near misses reported by the school and its students.

It is one of the first smart crossings of its type to be introduced in New Zealand. Overseas studies, however, show that drivers are significantly more aware of smart crossings.

The initiative will be monitored and assessed for its effectivity.

The new smart crossing installation will cost NZ$ 40,000.

Meanwhile, a new type of road marking called ‘dragon’s teeth’ are to be added to the pedestrian crossing on Bay View Road, outside King’s and Queen’s High Schools.

The road markings will act as a cue to increase driver awareness as they are approaching a pedestrian crossing and need to slow down. They also provide an optical illusion the road is narrowing.

The Bay View Rd crossing was chosen because it is close to two large secondary schools and a large volume of traffic and pedestrians use this stretch of the road.

One of the issues to be mitigated by this is the lack of visibility at certain times of the day due to sun rays.

Dragon’s teeth road markings have been used for some time in the UK and some states of Australia and are now being trialled in several cities around the country by NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).

The new markings will be installed before schools return and then monitored and assessed to see if motorists are more alert to the pedestrian crossing.

The DCC is also keen to get public feedback about the effectiveness of the markings.

Keeping the streets safe

Road safety is important as accidents, whether by driving or crossing the streets, can sometimes be fatal.  As such, ways should be implemented to prevent these accidents from happening.

For instance, a network of smart sensors that are working to capture commuter, vehicle and public transport’s movements in order to avoid dangerous activity, enhance sustainability, improve safety and reduce congestion has made an intersection in inner-city Melbourne to be the most intelligent in the world.

Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) is the first transport ecosystem of its kind, where new, emerging and integrated Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can be trialled in a real-world environment.

It consists of more than 200 smart sensors connecting all parts of the transport environment within a six square kilometre area across the suburb.

AIMES uses artificial intelligence to profile intersections to identify the potentially dangerous activity of vehicles and road users, including vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

Over time, AIMES is developing a deeper understanding of what safety measures and actions can be taken to prevent future collisions at intersections to keep people safe.

Meanwhile, students from Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) have created a device that will improve on the safety of drivers with hearing impairment.

Avion or Audio to Vibration can be likened to a hearing aid for driving as it transforms the horn sound of another vehicle into vibrations that will alert the driver who has a hearing impairment.

When drivers, from other vehicles, honk their horns, the watch will vibrate to let the wearer know about it.

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