Two design students at Germany’s HAWK University have developed a novel concept for pedestrian safety – Streetpong.
Although the students have only developed a concept video, it could help to address the complex issue of pedestrian safety. Pedestrian safety often gets overlooked in favor of more ‘sexy’ high-tech safety improvements to cars that usually grab the headlines. Innovations in pedestrian safety are few by comparison.
While pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. have been taking a general downward trend, it rose again slightly in 2010. In total, according to the GHSA’s figures show that around 4,000 pedestrians have been killed annually each year over the past few years, although this figure had declined by about 200 a year since 2005. In 2005, the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads was 4,892. The numbers are a sobering reminder that pedestrians are among our more vulnerable road users.
Some car manufacturers have looked at addressing pedestrian safety by using radar, or designing airbags into car hoods, for example. However, that approach does not help to keep pedestrians out of harms way in the first instance. Playing pedestrian Streetpong could certainly help to encourage pedestrians to stay on the kerb – if it helps to stop people from stepping onto a road contrary to the lights, it could be a step in the right direction.
Let’s hope the students are able to take their idea into a field trial for further evaluation.