I have seen several articles lately about in-roadway warning lights, or IRWLs – pedestrian crosswalk lighting systems built into the roadway. Imagine flashing lights that are activated either by a pedestrian plate in the road, via the ol’ pushbutton manual control, or automatically with infrared beams placed across the entrance to the roadway. The lighting systems are built into the road surface and also have a diamond warning sign with flashing lights on the side of the road. These systems can be wired into the city’s grid, or powered primarily by solar collection. They are of course LED, too.
These systems are apparently succeeding in “traffic calming,” and making drivers more aware to pedestrians in the roadway. One company I discovered in my research was Global Spec with their Smart Crosswalk Traffic Calming System. This particular system is a hard-wired system – the company mentions that a hard-wired system is a lot less likely to fail than a wireless system. Their system also has a specially designed flashing pattern, developed with the University of California’s Berkeley Vision Detection Laboratory to help drivers to process the flashing lights in the part of the brain that senses motion quickly.
There is a video made by StreetFilms about one of these installed systems in Seattle. I’ll be in Seattle in a few weeks, I’ll make sure to snap some pictures of one of these systems.