That’s exactly what London-based tech company Umbrellium has designed: the Starling Crossing is an interactive crosswalk that responds dynamically to its environment.
Developed in England in the 1940s, the zebra crossing – as it was called back then – consists of a series of white stripes painted across a stretch of road, flanked by lights on each side, to offer pedestrians safe passage.
The Starling Crossing keeps that familiar “Zebra” pattern, but because its markings emerge from a 23 meter by 7.5 meter waterproof network of LED lights embedded into the road, it is able to modify its layout, size and even color on demand.
If the system detects an elderly person, the crossing would stay illuminated for longer, to allow more time to cross the road. “One of the principles of an interactive crossing is that it should be able to learn over time the way that people use it,” Haque says.
“If people are crossing in the wrong place all the time, the system would move the crossing nearer to that location to make things safer.” In October 2017, a Starling Crossing prototype was installed on a South London street for a month.
Now the team has to work on rolling the crossing out in cities worldwide.