Safer pedestrian crossings in Chorzow (Poland)

By Jan Christiaens / Updated: 23 Sep 2014
The authorities of Chorzow in southern Poland have installed devices called Välkky near two pedestrian crossings for testing. The devices should improve pedestrian safety by signalling the presence of pedestrians to approaching drivers with an intense white and blue flashing light.
The Välkky is a smart device manufactured by a Finnish company which improves safety for pedestrians at crossings. The principle of operation is simple. A person approaching a pedestrian crossing is detected by the devices on both sides of the street, which start flashing with white and blue LEDs. These lights are seen by drivers from a distance of between 50 metres in poor visibility (heavy rain or snowstorm) to over 200 metres in conditions of good visibility, alerting them in good time to the pedestrians crossing the street.

According to research conducted by the consulting company Destia, the Välkky contributes to speed reduction by an average of 4-5%. Such speed reduction results in a significant decrease in the number of pedestrian accidents and fatal accidents. For example, a speed reduction of 5% reduces the rate of fatal accidents by 20% and the number of accidents resulting in injury to pedestrians by 10% (Source: Andersson & Nilsson 1997).

Chorzow in Poland is the first city where the Finnish device has been mounted. The installation is a pilot action within the program “Safe passage for pedestrians”. The final decision about future usage of this type of equipment will be made after a two-month period of observation of driver behaviour at selected crossings. (in Polish)
Walking and cycling