Yes, I admit, it’s a strange question. And not one I’ve previously given much thought to; I expect you haven’t either. But, while monitoring road safety related news this month, I came across a concept that was new to me: a lighted zebra crossing.
Invented by a company called – quite simply – Lighted Zebra Crossing, I was keen to find out more about the product, how it works and, most importantly, the potential road safety benefits, so I put my questions to the company, based in the Netherlands.
Who designed the lighted zebra crossing?
The lighted zebra crossing has been developed by the founder of the company, Mr. Henk Peters.
What was the reason for designing the lighted zebra crossing?
Henk Peters has worked in the LED lighting industry for years. Some years ago, a company asked him to make a “portable” lighted zebra crossing to be used in a television commercial. He invented a kind of garment made of plastic with LED lightning. This zebra crossing has been shown in several big cities in The Netherlands and Belgium. The reactions of pedestrians and other road users were so positive that he decided to develop a truly illuminated crosswalk.
What are the road safety benefits of the lighted zebra crossing?
The advantage is that at dusk or in the dark the crosswalk is already visible at a distance for motorists. Also, the pedestrians that are using the zebra crossing are more visible.
Can you tell me more about the technology and any additional benefits?
The white stripes of the zebra crossing consist of elements. The elements contain an LED light plate and an anti-skid top layer. It can be connected to the street light network, so it will be activated when the street lights turn on. It can also be connected to smart solutions like detections systems. Due to the use of LED the power usage is very low.
When was the lighted zebra crossing completed and made available?
After four years of product development our product was completed in November 2016. At that moment we started the sales process.
Where was the first lighted zebra crossing installed?
The first lighted zebra crossing was installed in the city of Brummen, The Netherlands.
Did you receive feedback following the installation?
Yes, absolutely! We received feedback from all over the world. Many people and agencies that are involved in road safety asked for more information.
Has it been installed anywhere else? Or are there plans for it to be installed anywhere else?
On short notice this zebra crossing will be installed in three Dutch cities. We make quotations for this product for cities in many countries every day, so we expect more installations in the coming months. In order to be able to handle the demand we are appointing distributors in several countries.
Are there any specific plans for the future use of lighted zebra crossing?
Right now we are focusing on this product, but we will develop more solutions for road safety.
We already know that technology is advancing road safety in many ways, both in-vehicle and outside of the vehicle. Cars are getting smarter, roads are getting smarter and now, it seems, crossings are getting smarter too. It will be interesting to see how this product develops, and whether the concept of smarter crossings is more widely adopted.
What do you think about the new lighted zebra crossing? Do you have any other ideas of how we can make the road environment safer for everyone?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.