John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
An LED-covered crosswalk in Brummen makes itself known to drivers and pedestrians alike.
Want to make a crosswalk that’s incredibly clear to drivers without the use distracting, flashing lights? Walk on over to Eerbeek in the Netherlands, which claims to have rolled out the first crosswalk in the world that glows like the keys to a giant piano.
The six-striped pathway, located on a village street in a shopping district, relies on energy-efficient LEDs to brightly illuminate a pedestrian crossing. It was gifted to the village by Lighted Zebra Crossing B.V., a Netherlands-based tech company. The fiery crosswalk is meant to alert drivers to its presence, as well as illuminate walkers who might otherwise be obscured by darkness. (A nice but not-mentioned benefit: Giving cyclists with poor/nonexistent lights advance warning of the crossing.)
The municipality of Brummen explained its thinking in a press release (via a slightly edited Google translation):
Director Henk Peters says: “The idea behind this lighted crosswalk was born from our mission that pedestrians should be able to safely make it across crosswalks. Because of the poor visibility of pedestrians on traditional zebra crossings (in darkness or bad weather situations) accidents take place daily, globally, unfortunately often with fatal consequences....
“We are therefore extremely proud that we bring the lighted crosswalk to the market after a long and intensive period of product development and field testing.” An illuminated pedestrian crossing is applicable everywhere, but certainly in risk areas such as near schools, shops, or residential centers for the elderly this application offers users a high degree of safety.
Because all infrastructure nowadays must be smart, the crosswalk also includes sensors for registering the number of passing vehicles and pedestrians, as well as vehicle speed and load. Here’s another view: