The Danes, proclaimed as the happiest people on Earth now have a new reason to be happy, all thanks to RFID. If you live in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, you now can get a special RFID tag for your bike to beat the traffic lights. The RFID tag is attached to the bike's wheel and it sends a signal to a nearby reader to warn the system of an approaching bicyclist. Bike tracking is nothing new, but using tracking to interrupt traffic patterns may be revolutionary for Aarhus.
When the RFID-based system identifies an incoming bicyclist it switches the connected traffic light to green, allowing the bicyclists to bypass traffic while vehicle commuters look on in envy.
"In Aarhus, we have a vision of helping the cyclists more and more to get the cars out of the inner city. So it's a good idea to make the way round the city better for the cyclists and maybe not that good for the cars," says Louise Overgaard, an Aarhus city employee.
The RFID and reader combination is similar in theory to electromagnetic road coils that change traffic lights when cars go over them. One big difference between the two is the cost. According to ID-Advice, the company behind the new system, an RFID tagged bike system is about 40% less than magnetic coils in the road.
The main reason for this is that an RFID-based system is implemented easily, without having to dig up roads.
Denmark being one of the most bicycle-friendly places on Earth is an obvious leader for this innovation. Yet, couldn't other countries benefit from this even more? Denmark with it's largest city at only half a million in population does the experience the pain of city traffic like Los Angeles or New York.
Could this type of system that awards bicyclists lesson traffic problems in American cities battling population increases and urbanization?
Photo credit: ID-Advice
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