Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk

What?

SPC is a multifunctional C-ITS device, which improves traffic safety on unregulated pedestrian crosswalks. The design of the device is intended to comply with all requirements concerning the roadside C-ITS applications. The main task of the SPC is to improve the awareness of road users located nearby and to notify road users of the probable traffic hazard. The system is adaptive so it reacts accordingly to the situation.

Why?

Approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among vulnerable road users (VRU): pedestrians,cyclists, and motorcyclists. Injuries from road traffic are also the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years. Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product. Wrong decisions made by road users, attributed to the lack of information about the traffic environment, can be considered tobe the primary cause of traffic accidents.

How?

SPC monitors the situation on traffic lanes and sidewalks with cameras and sensors and has several safety and notification functions implemented. To detect the situations involving traffic hazards, narrow artificial intelligence algorithms are used, which are capable of predicting the moving trajectories of the road users and warn them in advance. The system warns pedestrians with audio signal and vehicle drivers with rapidly blinking LED lights.

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Operating Principles

Normal Situation

If the pedestrian does not intend to cross the road and continues on the trajectory, which predictably will not intersect the road, no visible or audible warnings are applied. Presumably the pedestrian may cross the road in a place which is not designated for that. In such case, the trajectory will be monitored and predicted in a reasonable range. If the device detects the pedestrian's intention to cross the road, drivers will be warned by flashing LED's both on the pole and on the smart traffic sign (along the sides of the traffic sign sheet). Also, if the feature is installed, a DSRC (or 5G)message about the road-crossing pedestrian is transmitted to the vehicle. At the same time, data from other sensors are always available.

Dangerous situation

If the device detects a potentially hazardous situation which might cause the pedestrian to be run over by the vehicle, it will draw the road user's attention and will elicit their reactions through audible and visual warnings. Red LEDs flashing both on the pole and on the smart traffic sign will quickly make it clear to the pedestrian and the vehicle driver that something is wrong. Audible signal from the device is sounded to warn primarily the pedestrian of the imminent dangerous situation. A message about the pedestrian in danger can be transmitted to the vehicle and it might react before the driver could. Optional features include recording the data of the hazardous situation and sending them automatically to the relevant party.

SPC in action

Features and Technical Aspects

Roadtravel has become significantly safer for most road users over recent decades, largely through the improvements made by vehicle manufacturers to protect vehicle occupants. The same, however, cannot be said for Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) such as pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in urban areas. According to the latest WHO report on traffic safety, pedestrians comprise 22% of all road traffic deaths,approximately 275,000 worldwide. On average, road traffic injuries cost countries between 1% and 3% of their gross domestic product (GDP). For the EU, these costs are estimated at €120 billion annually.

Current Road-Side-Units cannot implement active safety measures to avoid collisions and/or mitigate the impact of an actual collision between road users. This is mainly due to the fact that the sensor technologies and algorithms used are not reliable or capable enough for predicting complex traffic dynamics in real world situations.

After years of R&D, SPC is able to overcome these limitations: SPC is the world's first RSU that can predict situation-based trafficconflicts as well as take preventive measures to avoid them.

Installed Crosswalks

Ülemiste City, Tallinn, Estonia

This Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk, located in Ülemiste City, Tallinn is special because of its width. The crosswalk is about 20 meters wide, so a lot wider than average Estonian crosswalks. Also, the amount of pedestrians is high, because Ülemiste City has many companies having their offices there. This crosswalk was one of our first instalments of the system. Ülemiste City is an innovative community and largest Smart City in the Baltics.

Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, Finland

The Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk in Jätkäsaari, Finland is our first ever SPC operating in a real-life environment. Jätkäsaari is a rapidly growing area of Helsinki. Our SPC is located next to a canal and has many pedestrians with strollers crossing the crosswalk. That's because Jätkäsaari has many new apartments built in the last years.

Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol, Tallinn, Estonia

This crosswalk is installed to Taltech University Science Park Tehnopol. This crosswalk is special, because additionally to the pedestrians it has a lot of Starship Technologies fully autonomous delivery robots crossing it every day. Robots seem to like the crosswalk as much as the pedestrians. This crosswalk is a good example of a connected infrastructure. It will be on a self-driving bus route after some months and serve the bus as an extra pair of eyes.

City of Tartu, Estonia

This Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk is our newest instalment and it is located to the intersection with a high density of traffic. It’s near University of Tartu buildings and theatres. The crosswalk has many students and other pedestrians crossing it at the dark times. We have witnessed so far an automatic braking reaction from drivers when they notice our signs, even if there are no pedestrians near the crosswalk.

Vehicle to Everything connectivity (V2X)

Connectivity is the name given to communication between one vehicle and another, and between a vehicle and the infrastructure. For instance with traffic lights or traffic control systems such as Smart Pedestrian Crosswalk. Within the field of connected mobility, Vehicle-to-X communication(V2X) refers to direct communication both between vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle/V2V) and between vehicles and the stationary infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure/V2I).

The SPC supports dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) and vehicle-to-everything communication (V2X) protocols over the LTE or 5G network, enabling automatic communication between all communication-ready traffic entities. The main task of the SPC is to improve the awareness of road users located nearby and to notify road users of the probable traffic hazard.

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