London makes waiting for walk signs slightly less annoying

Credit: Wiki Commons

In 2010, over 4,000 people died after being hit while crossing busy intersections in cities. Although some pedestrians have gone to extreme lengths to protect others crossing busy roads and car manufacturers are working on systems to detect pedestrians, people and cars are still mixing it up far more than they should, and London is trying to put a stop to that with its new smart pedestrian crossing system.

Called SCOOT, or Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique, the system uses cameras to determine out how many people are standing on the curb waiting to cross. Once the cameras determine that number, they communicate with the signaling system and configure the signals so that the green crossing light allows for more time to get everyone across the road. Anyone who’s been on a wide city street knows that current signals don’t often allow for much time at all — especially when a large group is crossing — and concerned citizens often have to sprint across just to make it in time, before vehicles are given the right-of-way.

The system will also benefit vehicles, too. Once the last person has crossed the street, someone can push a “call cancel” button that alerts the system to change the signal in favor of the cars. And if no one is waiting to cross the street, the camera can alert the signal system, and have the timing changed to reflect that.

The trial system for SCOOT, the first of its kind in the world, has already been put into place outside Balham and Tooting Bec Tube stations in London, with hopes that more will soon be implemented throughout the city.


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