Home SCIENCE An interactive Zebra Crossing Of The 21st Century Unveiled By Umbrellium

An interactive Zebra Crossing Of The 21st Century Unveiled By Umbrellium


An interactive pedestrian crossing created by Umbrellium that responds dynamically in real-time to make pedestrians, cyclists & drivers safer and more aware of each other.The pedestrian crossing is one of the most complex points of urban negotiation that almost everybody experiences every day. However, crossing designs have not been updated for the ways that we use, or need to use, our streets in the 21st century.

image: Umbrellium text credit: Umbrellium

Most discussion about road technology focuses on vehicles, but with the Starling Crossing (STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) we have created a responsive road surface that puts people first by updating the design of pedestrian crossings (first introduced in the 1940s) to account for streets with more cars, pedestrians and technology, and a different societal relationship to urban transport infrastructure.

While it uses familiar and understandable road markings and colours, the Starling Crossing reacts dynamically in real-time to different conditions and is able to modify the patterns, layout, configuration, size and orientation of a pedestrian crossing in order to prioritise pedestrian safety.


Drawing on research by the Transport Research Laboratory, our full-scale prototype, installed temporarily in South London, is designed to support the weight of vehicles, remain slip-free in pouring rain and to display markings bright enough to be seen during daytime.

Using a neural network framework, cameras track objects that are moving across the road surface, distinguishing between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, calculating their precise locations, trajectories and velocities and anticipating where they may move to in the next moment.At different times of day, and in different situations, the road can alter its configuration in real-time.