Researchers at the Graz University of Technology in Austria have developed a pedestrian traffic light system that can gauge pedestrians’ intention to cross the road.

The system uses cameras and computer algorithms to operate traffic lights. It will be tested on Vienna’s road next year.

As soon as the system senses that people are looking to cross the road, it automatically turns the traffic lights to red for motorists and green for pedestrians.

Commissioned by the City of Vienna, the project has been in development for the past two years at the Graz Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision.

Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision researcher Horst Possegger said: “The green phase can be extended in the case of large groups of persons, who require more time to cross the road. And if persons leave the waiting area before the lights have turned to green, this is also passed on to the lights.

“The traffic lights subsequently don’t switch to green and there are no unnecessary waiting times for motorised traffic.

“It requires one second to estimate the intention, after two seconds the estimation becomes reliable.”

With this new system, cameras are mounted on each traffic light connected to a monitoring system that can report faults instantly.

In order to develop the system, researchers used global movement models, recorded data and machine learning to gain an insight into how people behave when crossing roads.

A company named Günther Pichler has been selected to install the new camera system at select Vienna locations by the end of 2020 for experimental purposes.