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London tests out smart, sensor-laden crosswalks

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 Pedestrians in London may have an easier time when walking around London as the city trials "smart" crosswalks designed to improve efficiency and safety.

The center of London during the day, especially in tourist-heavy areas, can be chaotic. The city is so congested thanks to both people and vehicles, it can take far longer than you would think simply to cross the road -- and this is where the Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) system comes in.

Recently announced by Transport For London (TFL), the new system will equip crossroads with sensors and cameras that are able to detect the number of people waiting to cross -- and alter traffic signals accordingly. For example, if there is a large crowd waiting, more time will be given for them to cross the street.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement:

"This really is a fantastic example of how London is leading the way by using 21st century technology to help make it easier for people to get around our great city.
Innovation like this is key to keeping London moving efficiently and making our roads safer for everyone to use."

Testing begins this summer at intersections outside of the Balham and Tooting Bec underground stations.

The TFL's project is part of the "Safe London Streets - Our Six Road Safety Commitments" pledge, which aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's streets by 40 percent by 2020.

Read on: Mashable | TFL

Image credit: Flickr

— By on March 12, 2014, 4:32 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure