Bringing Safety and Quality of Life into a Modern Environment

The answer to “How to effectively care for safety and improve the quality of life in a modern environment?” is brought by both advanced and innovative technologies as well as the improvement of everyday well-known solutions. The result of combining these two elements is smartpole crossing – active poles, caring for the level of safety for road traffic participants at critical points such as pedestrian crossings.

Smartpole crossing

Smartpole crossing is a system of active poles installed at pedestrian crossings. The aim of the project was to improve safety for both pedestrians and drivers by installing smart poles that will detect a person’s presence on the crossing before they step out into traffic. If there’s no one detected in an area up to five seconds after activation, then automatic signals are activated showing “walk” or “don’t walk.” This improves driver awareness while also making it safer for people who need assistance getting across streets safely. They can wait until there is enough time to cross without risking being hit by cars when their signal is not ready.

How to improve the safety of people walking in the city?

The answer to this question is brought by both advanced and innovative technologies as well as improvement of everyday solutions. The result that combine these two things, create Smartpole Crossing – active poles caring for level of safety for road traffic participants at critical points such as pedestrian crossings.

History of smartpole crossing

The idea of installing poles on pedestrian crossings to improve safety was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The city had a problem with pedestrians being hit by cars. People were getting confused about when it was safe to cross the street because sometimes they would see signs for “walk” and other times they wouldn’t be able to see any sign at all.

In 2013, Dutch company HIG Traffic Systems and Lukas Bruggeman from the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) together created a system that could help with this issue. They developed a traffic light pole that has sensors underneath the ground that detect when someone is crossing the street and if there are no people detected then within five seconds after activation, a signal will show automatic signals showing “walk” or “don’t walk.”

The smart poles were installed in Rotterdam and the installations had an immediate effect. In four years, there was a 50% reduction of accidents that involved pedestrians getting hit by cars at crossings with the new system of traffic lights put into place. The project won several awards for innovation as well as being named the best engineering achievement in 2015 by TU Delft (on behalf of HIG Traffic Systems).

How to set up this type of intersection?

A Smartpole Crossing is first scanned from every angle, captured on photos and then converted into detailed digital models which are used to generate a program code for manufacturing process. Assembled smartpoles are installed at pedestrian crossings to improve safety for both pedestrians and drivers.

During manufacturing process, poles should be installed in the ground by a digging machine or hydraulic jackhammer. Ground under all installation sites must be checked beforehand – if it is too hard then there’s no need to drill holes into concrete; instead, we can use anchors (aerial type). A pole consists of three parts: base part which goes down first into the ground with two legs that have anchoring devices on their ends.

The next step is installing traffic lights cables along the whole length of every street – they will serve as sensors for cars driving on this road. They detect when light from car’s headlights shines onto cable and send signal to the traffic lights controller.

The final step is setting up traffic lights controllers to make sure that there’s enough time for pedestrian to cross safely without being hit by cars when their signals are not ready yet. Depending on intersection size, we can use one or two devices at a time – so if an intersection has four-way crossing then they should be installed in pairs and in opposite directions of each other. Poles have three types of sensors: side (for detecting pedestrians), top (detecting vehicles) and both combined. The number of poles depends on what type of sensor will work best where it needs to be placed – take into consideration safety distance between poles as well as intersection width while determining this part during installation planning process.