Do you look at your phone when crossing the road? That’s OK

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Smartphones distract all road users; whether they’re drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians the urge to keep looking at our phone poses a serious hazard resulting in hundreds of injuries and fatalities all over the world.  Saying “just don’t’ do it”, obviously doesn’t work.  Instead, the USDOT (US Department of Transport) is funding the development an application called ‘SmartCross’.

The app works as an interface between the traffic lights and the smartphone sending notifications to pedestrians (from the nearest pedestrian traffic light) on when it is safe/or not to cross.  The app uses the phone it all the ways it can, providing visual, audio and haptic (vibrations) impulses to users. It can also be used as a “button” to request the change of light.

Of course road-crossers are different. Elderly and impaired road users may cross slower than the length of the light; in this case the app can communicate with the traffic signal and extend the light until the person has safely reached the other side of the road.

Still in a development phase, USDOT clearly has high hopes for SmartCross and it’s not hard to understand why.

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