Smart Crossings to Increase Pedestrian Safety
A sensor-enabled pedestrian traffic light is on trial in Dubai that is expected to reduce run-over accidents, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday, 22 January 2017.
The RTA has installed and operated the smart traffic light on Al Saada street and the signal ensures safe crossing of pedestrians, said Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.
“The system of the signal is designed to eliminate the time allocated to pedestrians if it senses no pedestrians waiting on the pavement, thus providing more time for vehicles to pass,” said Bin Adai.
Explaining the mechanism of the system, Bin Adai said the sensor-based pedestrian traffic light is equipped with an optical ground system that works in perfect harmony with traffic.
“It spots the movement of pedestrians on the pavement (before crossing the street) or on the crossing path (during crossing) and automatically modifies the timing of the signal accordingly. Thus, it allows the safe passage of the largest possible number of pedestrians and accordingly provides an excellent and smart service to all road users,” said Bin Adai
She added that the system has gone through all technical tests and trials to ensure its smooth functionality.
“RTA is currently considering broadening the scope of this trial by installing more signals on similar locations of Dubai’s road network,” she said.
Currently, most of Dubai’s traffic lights are pre-timed, which either allocates a fixed duration to pedestrians as well as vehicular traffic, though in many cases it does allocate bigger green or red time, depending on traffic flow.
According to Nadeem Shakir, a traffic management and road-planning expert based in Dubai, the sensor based system allows greater flexibility as well as making roads safer for pedestrians.
“This system will provide greater harmony and synchronisation between pedestrian and vehicular movement. It will improve pedestrian safety as well as saving time for all road users,” said Shakir, who is the Technical Director, Transport Planning at Aurecon.
He said that with pre-timed traffic lights, both pedestrians and vehicular traffic have to wait for a fixed duration whether there is not movement from the other side.
“Sometimes the signal cycle length is so long that pedestrians are tempted to take a drastic step of scurrying across. Another problem with pre-timed system is that the pedestrians have to wait if the signal is red, even if the roads are empty. The sensor-based system fixes these issues and helps streamline the movement,” said Shakir.