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Flashing crosswalk | Photo source StockSnap from Pixabay

Flashing crosswalk to stop people on mobile phones from getting run over

Telecommunications

South Korea warns pedestrians they are near an intersection with alarms, LED lights and an app

Spotted: South Korea has introduced a new crosswalk system with flashing lights and laser beams to stop pedestrians from walking into traffic and to get drivers to slow down. Government organisation, Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT), developed the system with “smartphone zombies” — people who never look up from their phones — in mind.

Thermal imaging cameras trigger the warning. Electronic noticeboards positioned on each side of the crosswalk flash alerts for drivers, and LED lights embedded in the road light up. Pedestrians with the crosswalk app receive a vibrating text alert, and a laser projects a warning onto the ground at the edge of the sidewalk. An auditory alarm is also sounded to warn them not to walk into traffic.

The trial crosswalk is being tested in Ilsan, a suburb northwest of Seoul, at an intersection outside a hospital.

South Korea has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate and an alarmingly high road fatality rate. Dr. Jong Hoon Kim, head of the research team, said: “We intend to continue to develop the system, so that drivers can be notified of upcoming crossings via their navigation apps, and also vehicles can automatically slow down when dangerous circumstances are detected.”

Email: ahracho@kict.re.kr

Website: www.nst.re.kr

Contact: ahracho@kict.re.kr

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