Direct Line looks to make roads safer with first smart pedestrian crossing

Direct Line believes it can make the roads safer by moving the focus away from vehicles and taking a step towards modernising the traditional pedestrian crossing.

With the help of cameras, a machine learning system and a specially designed road, the insurance company has created a 21st century version of the classic pedestrian crossing, which was first developed in the 1940s. The crossing is flexible, and has the ability to widen, narrow, appear and disappear.

“The idea of the Smart Crossing was borne out of the problems that road crossers face; one in four accidents take place at a road crossings,” said William John, creative director at Direct Line’s creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

The futuristic crossing currently has three modes provided for large groups, cyclists who may not be able to see past a high sided vehicle and individuals in a traditional crossing sense.

Of the road incorporating technology, John said: “It is a little bit Blade Runner, and it is a little bit Tron, but I think that’s great.

“It still references traditional road crossings …really it’s just an evolution of what you already know.”

Usman Haque, founding partner of the project’s design agency Umbrellium, started work on the project away after noticing people’s desks being moved around his studio to make more space.

Find out more about the futuristic crossing in the above video. The launch comes a year after Direct Line launched its Fleetlight drones that allow individuals to illuminate their previously unlit walk home.

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