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How Smart City Planning Can Improve Pedestrian Safety

pedestrian safety

Better City Planning Can Lead to Reduce Pedestrian Accident Rates

As cities grow larger, they become more dangerous for pedestrians. The need for wider streets with a larger number of lanes, bigger parking lots and other infrastructures to accommodate the ever-increasing vehicular traffic pushes concerns for public safety on the backburner. While cities around the world have been working hard to improve the situation with additional sidewalks, crosswalks and bicycle lanes, the answer may actually lie in smart city planning – and most pedestrian accident lawyers agree.

What is a smart city?

A smart city is an urban area that is highly advanced in terms of the city’s assets management and living and working space utilizations through the seamless integration of information and communications technologies (ICT) and internet of things (IoT) solutions. A city’s assets include schools, hospitals, libraries, transportation systems, law enforcement, water supply networks, power plants, waste management, information systems and other essential services.

The backbone of smart city is ICT, which is used to enhance the speed and quality of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumptions, and to make the government more accessible to the citizens. Its proponents believe that such a city is more prepared to respond to the complex challenges that today’s urban areas face.

The goal of a smart city is to improve the quality of life of its citizens. As such, smart city planning puts emphasis on infrastructure development and economic development activities that are sustainable and rationally incremental.

A smart city, as envisioned by its proponents, has the following characteristics:

  • It utilizes physical infrastructures more efficiently through the use of artificial intelligence and data analytics.
  • It makes local government more accessible and responsive to the people. The use of open innovation and e-participation make decision-making processes faster and more representative.
  • By enhancing a city’s capacity to learn, innovate and adapt, it makes it more prepared to adapt to the changing circumstances.
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How can a smart city improve pedestrian safety?

One of the main reasons big cities are unsafe for pedestrians is traffic congestion. There are too many vehicles and people in the streets. The traditional solutions are to widen the streets, increase the number of lanes and crosswalks, and construct overhead sidewalks and bigger parking lots. While there is no doubt that these solutions do alleviate the problems to a certain extent, a more comprehensive solution may lie in smart city planning. Our roadways, intersections, sidewalks and crosswalks should be imbued with an intelligence of their own. They should have the ability to sense (visually and in other ways) the presence of vehicles and pedestrians and their direction of movements, and take appropriate actions to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic.

To this end, all intersections, crosswalks and major points on the motorways and sidewalks could be equipped with intelligent sensors that are connected to each other through a metropolitan area network (MAN) and to the pedestrians and drivers through smartphones and other dedicated devices.

These intelligent sensors will manage the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic in coordination with each other using audio and visual signals, including artificial voice. They will alert pedestrians when a car is too near for comfort. Likewise, they will alert the drivers when pedestrians are dangerously close. They will warn both drivers and pedestrians when they are violating traffic rules. They will send alerts about traffic jams and accidents. They will even offer advice on the shortest driving or walking distances from one place to another.

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Driverless cars will play a big role in smart city planning. These intelligent cars have the capability to sense their environment and navigate without human input. They will smartly navigate around pedestrians, stop and wait for them at crosswalks, slow down to allow distant pedestrians sufficient time to cross, and talk to other driverless cars nearby to coordinate movements. These cars will reduce traffic accidents by 90%.

Thus, smart city planning can dramatically improve pedestrian safety. Still, accidents can happen. If you are injured by a car while walking, then talk to experienced pedestrian accident lawyers for advice on how to get compensation.

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