New Sidewalk Lights Let You Know It’s Safe To Cross The Street Without Ever Looking Up

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Bill de Blasio unveiled a bold new initiative Wednesday morning when he announced that New York City would be installing 300,000 new sidewalk LED light systems for most of Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn. NYC Comptroller Scott M Stringer commented to ABC News after the announcement: “this an absolute necessity for all New Yorkers.”

resizeIn collaboration with Google, the city has been looking for ways to decrease the amount of accidents at crosswalks all around manhattan. “Almost 1,000 people were injured by an automobile last year.”  Said Matthew J. Driscoll, commissioner of the New York Department of Transportation,”132 people died last year as result of being struck by a car. I just can’t have that in my city.”

According to officials close to the project, Google and the NYDOT have been working together for almost year to develop an affordable solution that can be quickly deployed.”It is just a line of small LED’s on strip of adhesive that is about 4 feet in length.” Says Dana Howard, lead engineer at Google’s Municipal Collaboration Division. “Installation is really easy. Two strips of the adhesive LED’s will be laid parallel to each corner. Each strip has a sensor that is linked to the traffic light that will change to the corresponding color. Green means it’s safe to walk and red means wait.”

 

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People are really excited about this program. NY1 was on the streets in the morning asking New Yorkers for their opinions about the collaboration. Most notable was Brooklyn resident Benjamin Shaker. “I think this is really great. I’m a social media consultant and I need to always bee connected. Sometimes I really just don’t have the time to look up at my surroundings. These bright LEDS are a welcome disruption to this city.”

Following New York’s lead in collaborating with Google – Germany has been spending resources ramping up their sidewalk safety program. The program comes after a survey revealed that nearly 20% of pedestrians in the city of Augsburg missed their signal change because they were distracted by their phones. The Guardian UK also reported that “younger folks” were more likely to risk their safety for a quick look at their WhatsApp or Facebook. Currently London has only put up signs cautioning drivers that inattentive pedestrians may be around.

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