Dubai Driver Alert: This road sign says ‘Stop… Your son’s crossing the road’

The Human Crossing puts a name and face to each pedestrian

Would you stop your car at the pedestrian crossing and give way for one of your family members or someone else you knew – say, a friend or a neighbour?

Sure you would, wouldn’t you.

What if you didn’t know them personally, but knew their name? You still would, right?

Car manufacturer and retailer Volkswagen Middle East recently teamed up with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Smart Dubai to launch ‘The Human Crossing’ next to a Dubai school, highlighting the name of individual students crossing beneath it.

“The goal is to make our roads more human. Human roads are safer roads, because they’re full of compassion and care,” said Thomas Milz, Managing Director, Volkswagen Middle East.

The innovative road safety campaign in effect gave a face to each pedestrian, reminding motorists that the individual crossing could be their family, friend or neighbour.

“Safety is a cornerstone of our smart city strategy. Our children are our treasures, and we are committed to using the latest technology innovations to ensure their continued safety, to be able to grow and thrive in the city of the future,” said Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office.

“We cannot engineer our surroundings [but] we can offer innovative ideas and initiatives that can create a positive discussion for change,” said Milz.

Earlier this year, Dubai Police launched an intense campaign against jaywalkers along with awareness drive among the residents of the emirate.

In order to reduce the number of accidents and causalities and make roads safer, more jaywalkers were fined in 2015 as compared to the two previous years for not crossing the roads from designated areas.

According to Colonel Jamal Mohammed Al Bannai, Acting Director of Dubai Traffic Police, the fines issued were higher in 2015 as 64,620 jaywalkers were booked, when the casualties were lower, compared to 61,391 in 2014 or 55,206 in 2013.

Dubbed ‘Cross Safely’, the awareness campaign has already succeeded to decrease cases of run-over accidents in five subsequent years.

Colonel Al Bannai said the road accident casualties reduced from 46 cases in 2013 to 39 cases in 2014 and 33 cases in 2015.

According to Abu Dhabi Police, 20 per cent of all traffic accidents in the UAE involve a pedestrian.

To highlight this issue, Volkswagen implemented a structure, arched over a pedestrian crossing outside of Gems Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis, telling motorists the name of the student crossing the road in a bid to make pedestrian crossings safer for UAE residents.

“Dubai Silicon Oasis is proud to be one of the most active entities that support the leadership vision of transforming Dubai into the smartest and happiest city in the world,” said Muammar Al Katheeri, Executive VP of Engineering Management and Smart City at Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority.

The pilot program ran for one week (May 12-19) at the Gems Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis, and 2,000 RFID tags were provided to students for the duration. RFID tags and Motion Tracking Technology was utilised in the project to ensure that the name followed the student’s movement below the Human Crossing arch.

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