Siegen turns on the first talking traffic light for children

Birlenbach.
The new traffic light in Birlenbach is actually smart: if many people want to cross the street, it stays green longer.

Six-year-old Maike from Siegen starts school on Thursday. She just presses the yellow button at the traffic light on Birlenbacher Strasse on the outskirts of Birlenbach: “Thank you, it will turn green soon,” the system replies in a friendly child’s voice. After a few seconds, the traffic light man shows green, the first “talking” traffic light in the city of Siegen passed the test drive on Monday before the start of school. The responsible employee, Jan König from the city’s road and traffic department, is satisfied with the acoustic result.

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No extra fuss

The “talking” traffic light will help 1st grade students, for whom school starts on Thursday 11 August, with their safe journey to school. The traffic light in Birlenbach has another special function: “It is equipped with a detector so that the signal system recognizes when the multitude of pedestrians is crossing the street. The traffic light then automatically extends the green phase,” explains Jan König. “This is useful, for example, when many children want to get to the bus stop at the same time or have just got off the bus and have to cross the street to go to school.”

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The “talking” traffic light does not entail any additional costs, because the entire traffic light system does not need to be replaced, only the acoustic settings are resumed using a laptop computer. There is a chip in the yellow request button that can save and play the voice recordings.


More traffic lights for pedestrians must be retrofitted

In the coming weeks, additional pedestrian lights on the school routes will be retrofitted and made to “talk”. The prerequisite is that the necessary technology has already been installed in the respective traffic light and that the traffic light is used to secure the school road. If traffic lights are renewed or technically modernized, they are equipped as standard with acoustics for the visually impaired. This consists of a “finding signal” (continuous tone) and a release signal (beep with green), which can be requested via a hidden push button on the underside of the button.

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The new traffic light models are already being used more frequently in the city of Siegen. Instead of the signal tone that confirms to the visually impaired that they have pressed the yellow button, the happy child’s voice will be heard more frequently in the future. The aim is to increase the children’s attention with the “traffic light voice” and to wait out the waiting time so that they do not cross the street when it is red. The traffic light with the human voice “appears more personal and friendlier,” says König.

Increased control at the start of the school year

As in previous years, the municipal regulation office will also focus on checking the school road for illegal parkers and speeding offenders, especially in the first weeks of the new school year. Unfortunately, with the start of the new school year, illegal parking and speeding offenders often turn the school road into a dangerous lane. The public order office therefore asks all road users to exercise caution and consideration.

If motorists park their vehicles on pavements, the “obstacle course” begins and school children often have to cross the road.

In addition, some road users drive at significantly higher speeds in the school and kindergarten area, despite speed limits.

Citizens who notice irregularities on the way to school can report them to the city of Siegen’s traffic monitoring department, 0271/404-1920 or bussgeldstelle@siegen.de.

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