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Cancellable Pedestrian Crossing Lights

Finger print scanners instead of crossing buttons
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Problem: I regularly cross a road that can be busy but also sometimes has long gaps in the traffic. So I hit the button to cross, but then a gap comes along. So I cross in the gap, and would like to be able to cancel my original request to cross so as not to annoy drivers with a stop at an empty crossing. Now a simple solution would be a cancel button on the other side – and you can just see the annoying youths on the other side of the road hitting the “Cancel” button every time you press the “I’d like to cross” button.

Solution: Now we could go down the route where the lights have enough brains to cycle when there is a gap in the traffic – but that seems beyond modern technology, and anyway what I consider a gap might not be the same for a sprightly 90 year old.
We could use face recognition to track the crosser and identify when the crossing was needed or not, but its overly complicated.
So my solution is to change the standard buttons for a fingerprint scanners. This way the lights know the person cancelling is the same person who requested on the other side of the road. Obviously the lights don’t cancel the request if others have also signalled a desire to cross (unless they too ‘cancel’), and they don’t cut short a pedestrian crossing stop light sequence just because the original requestor has “cancelled” (others might also be crossing).

For those who are really paranoid, you can have the original press to cross “button” as well, so the paranoid have an alternative that will avoid any chance of Big Brother knowing there crossing use.

RattyBunyip, Sep 22 2009

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       //If there were system awareness of the entire road dynamics, it could possibly optimise the timing of the active crossing duration to coincide with when a gap is going to be coming along anyway//

That's exactly how they do work. Normally there is a sensor down the road that detects oncoming traffic. When you press the button to cross, the lights don't change immediately but wait until either the oncoming traffic has cleared the crossing or until a specified length of time has passed.

The crossing just outside my house has an amusingly set timing. There is a set of traffic lights further down the road and my crossing almost invariably seems to catch the last vehicle that made it through the traffic lights. I suspect that the last vehicle probably went through the traffic lights as they changed to amber so their impatience only leads to an additional, frustrating stop for them.
DrBob, Sep 22 2009
  

       Or build a bridge?
MikeOliver, Sep 22 2009
  

       /Or build a bridge?/ Sure - nothing stopping you do that on existing crossings as well, but I bet they dont because of cost.
RattyBunyip, Sep 28 2009
  

       Ratty, thank you for boldly taking up an issue near and dear to my heart. I travel by foot most of the time.   

       I give you a bun, and the people in the cars waiting for a stupid red light, 5 minutes after I have trotted past, give you a bun as well.
blissmiss, Sep 28 2009
  
      
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