Don’t be fooled by their humble history and everyday presence. Traffic light technology is at the forefront of innovation on our roads, whether this be making our routes safer, reducing congestion or simply putting a smile on a pedestrian’s face. This month, SRL has read a few traffic light news items that have really caught our eye, and here we share our favourites with you. Read on to get the latest!
1.Traffic Lights At Ground Level For Smartphone “Smombies”
SRL almost couldn’t believe this story when it appeared in The Telegraph recently. The newspaper reported that the German town of Augsburg has adopted a traffic light safety measure suited to the era of the distracted smartphone obsessive: traffic lights at ground level.
That’s right! Anyone who walks the streets whilst glued to their smartphone will now not even need to look up in order to cross the road safely, as the new lights will be strategically positioned to be in the eyeline of preoccupied pedestrians. In Germany, the term “smombie” – a blend of “zombie” and “smartphone” – has even been coined to describe those lost in the screens of their devices.
On a more serious note, a survey of six European capitals found that a shocking 25% of 25-35 year olds are glued to their screens whilst walking in the street, which has led to a series of accidents being caused by pedestrians wandering onto tram tracks or into busy traffic. Whilst currently only a pilot scheme at two stations, if the lights succeed in reducing accidents, local authorities will look at extending installation. Either way, SRL will definitely be keeping a close eye on this one!
2.Singing Traffic Lights Spread The Eurovision Spirit
The start of May saw the return of Eurovision, the international song contest known for showcasing the weird and wonderful. And it seems that this year, traffic lights have been utilised as part of the kooky celebrations. For the second year, traffic lights enjoyed their own taste of the limelight, with Stockholm’s traffic control system playing the music of past Swedish winners to the delight of pedestrians.
The ticker boxes integrated into traffic lights that help visually-impaired people cross roads safely were modified to blast out two separate Swedish songs – one when the lights were on green, and another when on red. An innovative way of using an element of traffic management has been able to play its part in bringing people together, whilst maintaining its essential safety function.
3.“The Internet Of Things” Set To Take Over Traffic Management
We’ve all been stuck in a jam or had our journey delayed – often at the most inconvenient times. And most of us will have dreamed of a transport system as smart as the rest of our modern technology. Well, the good news is that, as reported by the BBC, tech experts have optimistically assured us that relief from gridlocked roads is on the not so distant horizon.
We’re told that this is all down to the ever-expanding “internet of moving things” – such as cars, buses and bikes which are decked out with sensors beaming data to “the cloud”. The basic underlying concept to this brain-puzzling projection is that the better we know where everything is, the better we can manage traffic flows. This means smoother routes, less congestion and safer drives for everyone.
In the future, traffic lights may well be optimised with the “internet of moving things”, so that the traffic management systems works at its most efficient, all of the time. It’s an exciting prospect that SRL looks forward to seeing in action.
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