being run over by cars.
However they also
run the more likely risk of bumping into other human beings,
trees, bollards, lamp post and other immovable objects that have
been erected as part of the road architecture.
incessant pace of life that makes us want to keep connected all
the time is the cause of such increased perambulatory risk.
One of the places
that pedestrians are at risk is when they are so busy that they
step straight out onto the street without realising that they
are doing so.
The good peripheral
vision that humans have means that even as their heads are
leaning downwards to stare at the screen of a mobile phone they
are still able to make out that they are on a path or track.
One can thus keep
following the track.
The risk comes when
the track continues on to a road.
A mobile phone user
more often than not realises very late that they have wandered
on to the road and if they meet with a distracted driver then
the outcome is likely to be catastrophic.
However, help is
probably on the way for such pedestrians.
A small Dutch town
realised that they had this problem and decided to do something
They commissioned a
technology upstart to develop a solution that would warn mobile
phone users that they were approaching a danger zone.
The researchers came
up with a unique solution that is currently targeted at traffic
light control junctions but that could easily be used in other
situations and could indeed become a standard for all
At traffic light
controlled junctions, pedestrians normally have their own
traffic lights that face them so that they do not have to lean
on to the road to know the status of the lights.
An addition to the
architecture is that of hip level lights that are targeted at
motorcycle and bicycle users when they are in a separate lane
from other motorised traffic.
The Dutch town will
now have light strips on the ground at traffic light controlled
These light strips
will be flashing all the time and will be the same colour as the
state of the traffic lights.
This is intended to
attract the attention of the pedestrian whose eyes are glued on
to the mobile phone whilst walking.
It is intended that
they will be angled so that they do not distract other people
but will rudely jolt screen gazers away from their pastime.
This experiment is
expected to succeed as the trials have been quite promising.
It is expected that
once these “clinical” trials have been completed and the
technology type approved, it will be rapidly rolled out in Dutch
countries and probably into the rest of the world.
Whilst this is the
prototype application, we envisage that it is only the start of
a whole load of light controlled signage that will be developed
to allow for ground mounted information to the pedestrian.
There could be cats
eyes that are deployed on the lanes for Non Motorised Traffic
(or NMT) to separate users who are staring down at their phone
screens whilst walking.
ostensibly be ground level traffic lights at intersections of
NMT lanes so that human beings coming to the crossing do not
bump each other at the intersection.
This idea appeals
mainly to towns and cities that have a high population density
and also has many NMT lanes and users.one could also consider
putting electronic advertising at the same level which is linked
to the net so that as one approaches, their internet profile
brings up adverts that would pique their imagination with data
mined from the social media and other platforms.
It is clear that as
time moves on there will be more intrusion into private spaces
as the world gets smaller and people get more connected.
The pace of life
will continue to increase and our engagement with connected
devices will be more intimate.
The same devices we
choose to be connected to will in time become the gateway into
our world so that the rest of the world is not endangered or
inconvenienced by our actions.
As Kachumbari says,
technology is changing and fast!