Un paso de cebra digital podría ser el futuro de las calzadas
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Autor | Patricia LicerasCuando hablamos de las nuevas tecnologías aplicadas a las carreteras solemos referirnos a los vehículos autónomos y conectados o a los semáforos, pero ¿qué ocurre con los pasos de peatones? Estos elementos claves del sistema vial fueron introducidos por primera vez en el Reino Unido en los años 40 del siglo XX y han llegado hasta hoy casi sin sufrir modificaciones. Sin embargo, a medida que se incorporan nuevas innovaciones a las calzadas, se hace necesaria también su actualización.Un grupo de diseñadores británicos propone un nuevo concepto de paso de cebra que va mucho más allá de las líneas blancas pintadas sobre el asfalto que todos conocemos. El Starling Crossing (STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing), como así se llama este paso de peatones creado por la empresa Umbrellium, consiste en un sistema formado por baldosas inteligentes que se iluminan con diferentes señalizaciones para adaptarse a las circunstancias del tráfico y las necesidades de los peatones.Junto a esas baldosas, varias cámaras y sensores detectan tanto el tráfico rodado como el peatonal, calculan sus ubicaciones precisas, trayectorias y velocidades, y, en base a lo que han ido captando hasta ese momento, sumado a millones de datos previos, anticipan cuáles serán los siguientes movimientos. Esto les permite modificar en tiempo real la configuración de las señalizaciones, su tamaño e incluso su orientación para aumentar la seguridad de los peatones.[embed]https://player.vimeo.com/video/237217992[/embed]

El futuro de las calzadas

Así, a primera hora de la mañana, cuando suele haber pocos viandantes, el paso de peatones solo aparece al acercarse alguien, y lo hace en el lugar de la calzada que el sistema ha interiorizado como el más seguro. Por el contrario, en las horas con una mayor presencia de gente en las calles, el área de cruce se expande de manera automática.En los días de lluvia, se adapta para generar zonas de detención más amplias para peatones y vehículos. También es capaz de identificar situaciones de peligro. De este modo, en plena era de los teléfonos inteligentes, si una persona se distrae mirando su móvil y se acerca a la carretera cuando un coche está próximo, se enciende a su alrededor un patrón de luz de advertencia para llenar su campo de visión.

Hacia una nueva forma de comunicación con las ciudades

El Starling Crossing es todavía un prototipo, a escala real, instalado temporalmente en un estudio de televisión en el suroeste de Londres. Es ahí donde los diseñadores pueden experimentar y perfeccionarlo en un entorno controlado: que las baldosas inteligentes resulten económicas para poder instalarse, que puedan soportar el peso de los vehículos, que no resbalen, algo especialmente peligroso para peatones y vehículos en caso de lluvia, o que las marcas que muestren sean lo suficientemente brillantes en condiciones ambientales adversas.Durante décadas, en las urbes se ha dado prioridad al tráfico de vehículos sobre la circulación de peatones, si bien la tendencia poco a poco va cambiando. Aunque aún le quedan muchas pruebas de seguridad dada su implicación en la seguridad de las personas, el Starling Crossing se perfila como una buena solución para que las ciudades sean urbanamente más amables y se comuniquen mejor con sus viandantes.Imágenes | Umbrellium

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