Apparently, the United Arab Emirates has a problem with drivers adhering to the rules of the road. In particular, a majority of motorists tend to disregard zebra crossings and other forms of traditional static signage that are in place to ensure safety. Over time, this trend has resulted in an alarming number of traffic accidents concerning pedestrians. In fact, 20 percent of all road accidents in the UAE involve citizens on foot, and many of those accidents have fatal consequences. This pattern obviously created a need for a better system, and Volkswagen (along with project partner Soho Square) responded to that need.
The result of this collaboration is “The Human Crossing”—a kind of digital sign and checkpoint that increases safety by drawing attention as well as displaying the name of whomever is venturing from one side of the street to the other. The idea behind all this is that knowing a pedestrian’s name adds identity to an otherwise anonymous face and demands that drivers exercise caution. As the video below illustrates, Volkswagen distributed 2,000 RFID tags to UAE kids that lived near their schools in key locations and walked to class every day. Motion-tracking technology then made it possible for these children’s names to be prominently displayed as they entered a crosswalk.
Guess what happened next. People stopped, and digital signage saved the day.