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London to Trial 'Smart' Pedestrian-friendly Traffic Lights
March 12, 2014

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London has taken the lead in exploring new technologies to improve pedestrian safety.

Mayor Boris Johnson, together with Transport for London, have announced a trial of advanced sensors that can adjust the timing of traffic signals according to the number of pedestrians waiting to cross. If a huge crowd has gathered, the lights will favor the pedestrians long enough for the entire crowd to cross safely.

The system is called the Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique, or Pedestrian SCOOT. The system uses advanced video camera technology to coordinate the changing of the traffic lights.

Also part of the pilot will be a "call cancel," which will cancel the walking green light if one of the pedestrians had pushed it but had then crossed with the crowd, so that automobiles aren't waiting for a light change when no pedestrians are present at the crossing.

The trial will begin in the summer outside two Tube stations and is part of a plan by the city government to reduce injuries to pedestrians.

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