RTA conducts trial run of smart pedestrian signal to ensure safe crossing. Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: A sensor-enabled pedestrian traffic light is on trial in Dubai that is expected to reduce run-over accidents, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday.

The RTA has installed and operated the smart traffic light on Al Saada street and the signal ensures safe crossing of pedestrians, said Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

“The system of the signal is designed to eliminate the time allocated to pedestrians if it senses no pedestrians waiting on the pavement, thus providing more time for vehicles to pass," said Bin Adai.

Explaining the mechanism of the system, Bin Adai said the sensor-based pedestrian traffic light is equipped with an optical ground system that works in perfect harmony with traffic.

“It spots the movement of pedestrians on the pavement (before crossing the street) or on the crossing path (during crossing) and automatically modifies the timing of the signal accordingly. Thus, it allows the safe passage of the largest possible number of pedestrians and accordingly provides an excellent and smart service to all road users,” said Bin Adai

She added that the system has gone through all technical tests and trials to ensure its smooth functionality.

“RTA is currently considering broadening the scope of this trial by installing more signals on similar locations of Dubai’s road network,” she said.

Currently, most of Dubai’s traffic lights are pre-timed, which either allocates a fixed duration to pedestrians as well as vehicular traffic, though in many cases it does allocate bigger green or red time, depending on traffic flow.

According to Nadeem Shakir, a traffic management and road-planning expert based in Dubai, the sensor based system allows greater flexibility as well as making roads safer for pedestrians.

“This system will provide greater harmony and synchronisation between pedestrian and vehicular movement. It will improve pedestrian safety as well as saving time for all road users,” said Shakir, who is the Technical Director, Transport Planning at Aurecon.

He said that with pre-timed traffic lights, both pedestrians and vehicular traffic have to wait for a fixed duration whether there is not movement from the other side.

“Sometimes the signal cycle length is so long that pedestrians are tempted to take a drastic step of scurrying across. Another problem with pre-timed system is that the pedestrians have to wait if the signal is red, even if the roads are empty. The sensor-based system fixes these issues and helps streamline the movement,” said Shakir.


Quarter of road deaths caused by run-over accidents

By Ali Al Shouk, Staff Reporter

At least of a quarter of road deaths in Dubai were caused by run-over accidents last year.

According to Dubai Police, among the 198 road deaths in 2016, 47 people were killed in run-over accidents.

Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafeen, Dubai Police’s Assistant Commander-in-chief for Operations, said that the run-over toll is nearly 25 per cent of the total deaths.

Al Zafeen said: “There is an increase in deaths on Dubai roads especially in run-over accidents. Most of those who died in run-over accidents were workers who live in labour accommodations that are located near highways.”

Meanwhile, Dubai Police said that between January and November last year, 64,458 jaywalkers were fined compared to 64,620 in 2015.

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of Dubai Traffic Police department, said that despite continuous awareness campaigns carried by police, many workers still cross the roads from non-designated areas.

The fine for jaywalking is Dh200.

Brig Al Mazroui said that 120 accidents were caused by motorists jumping the red light last year, killing two people and injuring 144.

With 198 deaths, the overall road fatalities in Dubai jumped up last year, compared to 166 people killed in 2015.