The first “intelligent” pedestrian crossings in the world will be introduced to streets in London within months.
As part of a pilot scheme running outside the busy junctions of south London’s Balham and Tooting Bec tube stations, traffic lights will be re-phased to give priority to pedestrians, the Evening Standard has reported.
Dubbed ‘Pedestrian Scoot’ after a system pioneered during the London 2012 Olympics, video cameras will detect how many people are in a virtual “box” and use this information to allow pedestrians to disperse before cars are given the green light.
If it proves successful, the system will be adapted to also help cyclists, who are particularly vulnerable during rush hour.
The original Scoot system (split cycle offset optimisation technique) uses road sensors to detect the volume of traffic at junctions and judge when traffic lights should turn green.
The pedestrian version of Scoot will also help motorists by cutting the green man short when pedestrians have finished crossing or have walked away.
Transport for London claims the pilot is proof that the organisation is making an effort to use technology to improve London’s road network.
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."