Just as the lighting in the average home is getting smarter, city lighting is also evolving. In this most recent example, major cities in the U.S. and Europe are investing in traffic light system updates intended to make busy city streets friendlier to cyclists. New variations on sensor technology, coupled with smart phone apps, infrared cameras and other additions will make it easier for bike riders to trigger traffic lights similar to the way in which cars do and pass through intersections with more confidence.
“While some cities are adjusting the settings of inductive loops so the units detect cyclists, a growing number of cities around the world are testing entirely new tech to ensure cyclists always trigger stoplights. […] there’s Austin, which outfitted about 24 traffic lights with special sensors that communicate with a smartphone app. The signals detect riders who have downloaded and are running the app, which launched in beta last week. […] In Denver, seven intersections have either infrared or thermal cameras mounted on traffic lights to detect riders. A green bike symbol painted on the roadway indicates which intersections have the tech.”
In other cases, lighting systems will also accommodate cyclists by sensing their presence and extending lighting durations to allow for more time to pass through intersections. It’s hoped that such updates will not only keep current cyclists safer, but will also encourage more commuters to adopt the bike as a convenient mode of transportation, and perhaps even attract new residents seeking bike friendly cities.