London tests sensors to keep pedestrians safe

Starting this summer, London will begin trials of a sensor-based system aimed at making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross busy roads.

The technology uses street-based video cameras and a tool called SCOOT (for “split cycle offset optimization technique”) to automatically detect how many pedestrians are waiting at road crossings. When a large number of people are waiting, the system extends the amount of time the green “cross” sign stays lit.

While London already uses SCOOT technology to improve the flow of street traffic across the city, this is the first implementation of a pedestrian-focused application.

“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,” said Mayor Boris Johnson. “Innovation like this is key to keeping London moving efficiently and making our roads safer for everyone to use.”

The first pedestrian-based SCOOT systems will be tested at intersections outside the Balham and Tooting Bec Underground stations.

“We are fully committed to improving road safety for all road users across London, especially pedestrians,” said Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London. “These new trials of pedestrian detection technology will allow our traffic signals to become even more intelligent, bringing huge benefits to those waiting to cross the road where there is heavy pedestrian demand.”

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