Utrecht is a city in The Netherlands with a lot of cyclist commuters. Through research lead by Springlab, they uncovered the insight that the number one frustration for cyclists in the city is the traffic lights. There are too many of them and are not timed properly for the cyclists, which decreases the attractiveness to cycle in the city.
Challenge: we were asked to find a simple and fun solution to help with the flow of cyclists in the city.
The solution – Light Companion
Cycle past a certain point and a light travels besides you at the right speed to make sure you always catch the green light. You just need to follow your personal Light Companion and you will never have to wait at a red light.
Light Companion is the first personal traffic light in the world. The system is designed to increase the flow at crossings in a simple and playful way. We built a pilot to run at the same time as the start of the 2015 Tour de France in Utrecht.
How does it work?
Every cyclist is detected individually and for each cyclist, the system calculates how fast they should cycle in order to always catch the green light. Each cyclist gets their personal light to cycle next to with its speed adapting depending on the timing of the traffic light. The light always moves at an achievable speed for all cyclists – not too slow, not too fast.
Just like a cycling peloton, The Light Companion ensures that the cyclists arrive in groups at the traffic light. As a result, the waiting time for cyclists is reduced and waiting at traffic crossings is something of the past.
We’re continuing the development of this project with a second iteration of the pilot that will be setup more permanently in Utrecht.