Smart device gives Hong Kong's disabled & elderly more time to cross busy roads

Just one tap of a smart card and senior citizens and the disabled in Hong Kong can get a few more seconds to make their way across Hong Kong’s busy roads.

By 2034 Hong Kong's elderly will form a third of the city's population

The Transport Department has launched a new smart device at a crossing in North Point on Hong Kong Island under a trial scheme.

The device is attached to a traffic pole. When someone taps it with an Octopus card for the elderly or a Octopus card registered with the Persons with Disabilities Status, the blinking green light will flash for 16 seconds. This is higher than the usual 12 seconds.

A display next to the signal also shows how much time is left for pedestrians at the crossing. Hong Kong’s ageing population is growing and the smart device is part of an initiative to look at how technology can help the elderly cross roads safely.

The locations are generally near facilities that elderly and disabled often visit, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation day care centres. The extra time will vary between three to four seconds depending on the location and the size of the crossing.