Smartphone-compatible pedestrian crossing lights to make Japan safer


The ‘smart’ crossing light can let a visually impaired pedestrian know whether it has turned red, yellow or green via their smartphone, both with an acoustic alert as well as with vibration. — Nicolas Armer/dpa

In an effort to help its rapidly ageing population be safer in the streets, Japan is planning to upgrade thousands of pedestrian crossing lights so that they can communicate with smartphones.

The "smart" crossing light can let a visually impaired pedestrian know whether it has turned red, yellow or green via their smartphone, both with an acoustic alert as well as with vibration.

Police want to upgrade 2,000 lights at the start of the new fiscal year, in April, the business newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun says.

In Japan, there are already about 24,000 crossing lights that make a loud sound when they turn green, but often the acoustic cue is switched off at night and early in the morning, reports the paper.

It was during this time, however, when accidents, sometimes fatal, involving visually impaired people have repeatedly been reported.

The new system, which went through an initial test phase in three prefectures at 74 locations, should help improve the situation. – dpa

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