State of the art pedestrian crossings coming to Tooting and Balham

Wandsworth Guardian: This camera will help judge if there is a large number of people waiting to cross This camera will help judge if there is a large number of people waiting to cross

A new pedestrian crossing trial is planned for Balham and Tooting’s busiest junctions.

In an effort to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Transport for London have launched trial plans for intelligent pedestrian crossings outside Balham and Tooting Bec Underground stations.

The trails have been planned for Balham and Tooting as both have busy diagonal pedestiran crossings with a countdown system in place.

Transport for London (TfL) developed the technology following overcrowding at busy pedestrian crossings at the 2012 London Games.

Intended to start late summer 2014 and running till the end of the year, TfL plan to have a report on the outcome of the pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) trial by Christmas 2014.

SCOOT will use stereoscopic vision technology that Mark Cracknell, Team Leader of Traffic Technology described as working "in the same way as eyes", as pairs of cameras will work alongside existing vehicle systems to track pedestrian movements and control traffic signal timings.

Cameras will focus on zones of interest, which are previously determined areas that pedestrians enter when approaching crossings.

In these zones the cameras count the numbers present, and track the density, or level of fullness, of each zone.

Based on this, SCOOT will determine which zone is fullest and who has been waiting the longest, prioritising those that are in highest demand to cross.

It is never able to decrease the set minimum time that pedestrians have to cross, but does have the option to increase crossing time if it detects that it is busy.

SCOOT is already used in traffic signal timings, but without the count detector, which is what makes these trials unique.

While queried at the launch, TfL were unwilling to the cost of installing and running the equipment remains unknown.

Tony Earl, Service Transport, said: "We will understand the needs more when we’ve done the trials."

People gathering at the crossings will be captured on camera, but the footage or individual data about specific people will not be stored.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "I am delighted that London is the first city in the world to be trialling this cutting-edge equipment".

If the trails are successful it could lead to the technology being used all over London, specifically in places that experience large peak periods of pedestrians at crossings.





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