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The slow lane: Dutch app allows elderly to 'hack' traffic lights

Accessibility Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Smart Cities Year in Review


Crosswalk is an app that gives pedestrians with restricted mobility extra crossing time. A sensor in the lights constantly scans the pavement on either side of the junction, and if it “sees” a Crosswalk user waiting when the button is pressed, it adjusts the green-light time. The app comes pre-installed with one of four time settings, depending on the user’s level of mobility, to minimize delays to other traffic. The app works in combination with GPS and the software that operates the traffic lights, so there is no need to install extra devices. Further down the line the technology could be used across a wider network, such as setting the lights to green to let an ambulance or fire crew pass through. Since 2013 the Dutch government has invested €600 million in 350 local projects to encourage more diverse road use, and interactive traffic lights are a key part of this, as Dutch cities become more densely populated, and populations age. The app was a pilot project in 2017.

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