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RFID Crossing Guards

RFID helps pedestrians in Singapore cross the road.
By Beth Bacheldor
Feb 01, 2007—In the Republic of Singapore, pedestrians typically have about 18 seconds to walk across the street, but often that's not enough time for the elderly. Now, the Land Transport Authority (LTA), a government entity responsible for the country's public transportation, road systems and vehicle registrations, is using radio frequency identification technology to help seniors cross safely.

The agency is testing an RFID traffic system in a residential district.
"In view of the aging population," says Aaron Chong, an LTA spokesperson, "the LTA has embarked on a proactive and service-oriented approach to provide a safer and more conducive walking environment for our elderly pedestrians."

The agency is testing an RFID traffic system in a residential district, at the intersection of Toa Payoh Central and Toa Payoh Lorong 4. It attached RFID interrogators to the traffic poles and outfitted 30 neighborhood people 65 years of age or older with active RFID tags operating at 2.4 GHz. If the RFID-toting pedestrians need more time than the crosswalk sign allows, they can flash their tags toward the traffic pole, and the RFID interrogator will give them five seconds more to cross the street.

The trial began in December and will last for nine months. The LTA wants to test the RFID system's reliability and its ability to work with the existing traffic control system. "We would like to know how this system affects traffic conditions in and around the area," Chong says. If the trial proves successful, the LTA will consider extending the RFID traffic system to other intersections, giving more senior pedestrians safe passage.
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