LONDON MAYOR Boris Johnson has welcomed a smart pedestrian crossing scheme that will be trialled at busy London junctions this summer. Smart lighting will be installed at crossings outside Tooting Bec and Balham tube stations. The scheme aims to increase the efficiency and safety of pedestrian crossings.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Known as Pedestrian SCOOT (Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique), the scheme is a world first. Introduced by Transport for London it expands the existing use of SCOOT for traditional road traffic management. SCOOT is widely used throughout the capital and is credited with a 12% reduction in journey delays due to improved traffic light phasing. Pedestrian SCOOT is a ground breaking initiative using cutting edge camera and smart sensor technologies to improve pedestrian flows.
The Need for Smart Pedestrian Crossing – Pedestrians and Cyclists face Highest Road Safety Risks
Road Safety in London is a major issue and the number of cyclists and pedestrians being killed or injured is deeply concerning. As part of its Road Safety Action Plan for London 2020, Transport for London (TfL) aims to achieve a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital’s roads by 2020 – with a longer term ambition of freeing London’s roads from death and serious injury.
80% of fatalities on London’s roads are amongst pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The Road Safety Action Plan for London 2020 states that “wider application of SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) signalling technology will be rolled out, to improve signal timings for all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians.” This commitment is further reinforced by the six principles set out in TfL’s Safe London Streets – Our six road safety commitments.
Pedestrian SCOOT and the Future City
High-tech cameras will monitor pedestrian build up at busy junctions and re-phase traffic lights to enable more pedestrians to cross safely. Simplistically, the aim is to decrease wait time for pedestrians as pedestrian volumes increase. Impatience and risk taking should also be reduced resulting in less accidents. The ability of this new technology to accurately monitor pedestrian build up and behaviour is significantly more efficient than traditional ‘model based’ systems.
Call cancel technology will also be used. This detects when a pedestrian presses the crossing button and either crosses or moves away from the junction before the traffic is stopped. As it would be unnecessary and inefficient to stop the traffic flow, the ‘request to cross’ is cancelled.
Smart traffic management and innovative solutions to road safety are a key aspect of Smart Cities. London’s trial of Pedestrian SCOOT will provide important learning opportunities and empirical data which will benefit others UK and foreign cities.
London Mayor Boris Johnson welcomes Innovation
Commenting on the scheme’s announcement Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I am delighted that London is the first city in the world to be trialling this cutting-edge equipment, which will benefit pedestrians across the city. This really is a fantastic example of how London is leading the way by using 21st century technology to help make it easier for people to get around our great city. Innovation like this is key to keeping London moving efficiently and making our roads safer for everyone to use.”
Further Reading on Smart Cities
- Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (Urban and Industrial Environments)
- Smart Cities: A Spatialised Intelligence
- The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance
- Smart Cities for a Bright Sustainable Future – A Global Perspective
- Beyond Smart Cities: How Cities Network, Learn and Innovate