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London to test 'smart' pedestrian crossings

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is set to become the first city in the world to test 'smart' crosswalks equipped with sensors and cameras to make crossing roads easier and safer for pedestrians.

The introduction of Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique, or 'pedestrian SCOOT', is the first of its kind in the world and uses hi-tech video camera technology to automatically detect how many pedestrians are waiting at crossings.

It enables the adjustment of traffic signal timings automatically to extend the green pedestrian invitation to cross phase when large numbers of people are waiting, allowing more people to cross the road.

"I am delighted that London is the first city in the world to be trialling this cutting-edge equipment, which will benefit pedestrians across the city," said Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in a statement.

The first trials of pedestrian SCOOT are set to take place on crossings outside Balham and Tooting Bec Underground stations this summer.

London will be the first city to use this kind of technology in its pedestrian crossings, though SCOOT is already used in traffic lights, to help control traffic congestion, in London and other cities around the world, including Toronto, Beijing and Santiago, according to Mashable.

Transport for London (TfL), the agency overseeing the project, is also developing a 'call cancel' technology, which can detect when a pedestrian who has pushed the crossing button has either crossed before the signal goes green or walks away, and therefore cancels the pedestrian crossing phase.

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