Bullet trains, self-driving cars, autonomous people-moving pods, windowless jets with panoramic views of what’s outside—transportation is without question rapidly evolving, but at the more basic level, infrastructure remains relatively unchanged in most major cities. The design of street lamps, crosswalks and other street furniture is generally a one-size-fits-all game that follows the needs of the average user, but the reality is that it takes far longer for an elderly woman to make her way across a busy intersection than it does a teen.
Enter UK designers Ross Atkin and Jonathan Scott of RAA who have developed a system of “responsive street furniture” that adapts to the needs of the people using them. This means if you need more light, the street lamps will adjust. More time to cross? Done. Need to rest? A seat will unlock. And when a blind person walks past a streetlight, the post will read out the name of the store in front to help them orient themselves.
So how does it work?