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“Smart” crosswalks are spreading across Spain: this is how they alert drivers when a person is approaching

“Look both ways before crossing” is one of the lessons that most of us receive as children. Crosswalks are everywhere, but they are not always sufficiently well lit. According to data from an old study by the Mapfre Foundation, around 15% of fatal accidents occur in pedestrian crossings.

Whether due to distractions or speeding, drivers slowing down further as they approach could reduce the number of accidents. To try to better alert these drivers, the “smart” pedestrian crossings arrive, a modification of the classic white lines of the zebra crossing where thanks to sensors, illumination with LED strips is generated when the pedestrian approaches.

Cold lighting and sensors embedded in the asphalt

The paint on pedestrian crossings wears off over time if not properly maintained. Sometimes, due to the conditions of public lighting or the area where they are located, these pedestrian crossings have a certain risk because although the driver can see the white lines, not as much visibility to detect when a pedestrian is approaching. This is where the LED strips work. These “smart” crosswalks only light up when someone is approaching, so seeing them lit is an indicator to slow down.

One of the companies that offers these new pedestrian crossings in Spain is Stepvial. They have facilities in La Palma, Salamanca, Manresa, Badajoz, Cáceres .. and dozens of Spanish cities.

“This intelligent pedestrian crossing has required the implantation of light markings on the road surface, to be illuminated in white, regulated by a complete volumetric sensorization system in the environment in order to help through technology to reduce possible accidents in one of the areas with the highest traffic of pedestrians and vehicles “, explains the mayor of Breña Alta, one of the municipalities where they have opted for them.

The system has sensors and LED panels embedded in the asphalt. The lighting is connected to public lighting and by turning on only when someone approaches, it saves light in those hours when no one passes. As part of helping to promote this type of signage, the LEDs on the ground are supplemented with two vertical LED signs on a pole. So it’s pretty clear that the driver needs to be alert.

Another company that offers these “smart” crosswalks is Setga with its ‘Prudenza’ system. On their website they describe to us that Royal Decree 1890/2008 on energy efficiency, in its section on specific lighting, already determines that: “in the additional lighting of pedestrian crossings, the installation of which will be a priority in those steps without traffic lights, the minimum reference illuminance in the vertical plane will be 40 Lux“.

However, for safety reasons, these pedestrian crossings are an exception and glare levels are negligible to slight, to ensure a visual comfort level and avoid any sensation of glare.

In the case of Artesolar, it recommends the use of luminaires with cool color temperatures (5500K) for these crosswalks.

We are in front of some signs that have the approval of the DGT, complying with the respective requirements in terms of lighting, resistance or slipperiness.

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Interlight is another of the companies that offer these ‘intelligent road safety systems’. In their case, in addition to illuminated pedestrian crossings, they also offer luminous bike lanes, lighting in roundabouts and systems connected to the smart platforms of cities, so that they can analyze and enter in their databases how many times it lights up and at what times.

A simple solution with a good reception

In the Madrid district of Ciudad Lineal this “smart” pedestrian crossing was located in an area of ​​poor lighting. In response to El País, a spokesperson for the City Council answers one of the doubts that may arise about its operation: Is it activated if you cross a dog or a cat? The answer was yes.

In Valencia they are located on the Arenas beach and in Torrent it was pointed out that it is being studied to extend it to various parts of the city, with special attention to the pedestrian crossings near the schools. In the case of Plasensia, the installation of six of these zebra crossings had a budget of about 82,366 euros. In Pamplona, ​​the reception of the neighbors has been excellent, explaining that “it should be in more places”.

Compared to traditional crosswalks, white lights are a new stimulus for drivers and also pedestrians, when noticing the sensors, also tend to make better use of the passage, describe from the city council of Pamplona.

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