Line of Sight

A five-day hack to prototype a people-detecting smart LED crossing.

How might we create a smarter, safer pedestrian crossing?

Over 7,000 incidents are recorded each year at UK crossings between vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Issues of feasibility, affordability and usability have consistently hampered development of smarter, safer crossings.

We beat off stiff competition to win the Smart Crossing of the Future design challenge posed by Direct Line: initiated to source innovative ideas and build on their original Smart Crossing concept.

Communicating dangers to drivers & pedestrians

We built on existing thoughts to create Line of Sight: a smart crossing solution which immediately improves road crossing safety for all road users, can flex to different road intersections, and is cost effective enough to drive council uptake with fast implementation.

At the core of our concept is an object detection and prediction engine that controls the illumination of an LED strip either side of a crossing. This responsive lighting communicates potential dangers to drivers and pedestrians alike; helping them adjust their actions and stay safe.

This engine predicts the behaviour of road users in real time, making the design highly adaptable.

Ready-to-go road safety

Our solution is designed to be as non-invasive to install as possible. We use existing road furniture, including poles and power access whenever possible. There is also potential for data from the prediction engine to feed into local traffic planning.

We envisage use cases beyond pedestrian crossings: extending to safer cycle lanes, increased visibility of pedestrians around busy bus stops, and complex junctions where multi-modal users mix.

A sprint to success

We moved from idea to working proof-of-concept in just one week.

From getting to grips with person-detection algorithms with Google’s TensorFlow and mocking up crossing rigs on day one; programming different light animations (we wanted to use eye catching animations in line with the highway code) throughout the week; through to rigorous testing inside and out by day five, this week-long sprint embodies our agile, human-centred approach to solving complex challenges.