The Dutch city of Utrecht has done numerous efforts in the past in order to promote cycling and making the life of cyclists easier when moving around the city. It seems like they are always in a hurry, which makes it even more frustrating to wait for the numerous traffic lights on your way from A to B.
Utrecht-based Springlab has invented what it calls “the world’s first personal assistent for traffic lights for cyclists”, in a collaboration with the municipality, mobility experts and designers. Flo is set up alongside bicycle paths and detects the individual velocity of cyclists passing by.
Approximately 100 meters before they reach the next traffic light, Flo gives cyclists advice in the form of animals that light up. When you see a rabbit it means you have to speed up if you want to make the green light. A turtle advises you to slow down, and a thumbs up tells you that you will catch the green light if you keep your speed. If you’re unlucky, a sitting cow tells you that you will not make the green light unless you’re Lance Armstrong.
Flo’s first prototype was launched earlier this month along the Amsterdamsestraatweg in Utrecht. While this innovation might come in really handy for traffic on bike lanes, one might ask why Flo was designed the way it was. After all, the use of animals giving advice may seem a bit childish. Earlier versions of Flo included lovely minimalist light rails in the ground, showing an interactive green wave, that would tell cyclists whether to slow down or speed up. According to Springlab, the newer version is cheaper to implement throughout the whole city, but whether these add to the beauty of Utrecht’s public space is questionable.