On May 19 2017, city councillor Jannie Visscher festively launched the implementation of the Flo system, designed to tell cyclists to speed up or slow down to catch a green light, at the Eisenhowerlaan and Wolvendijk intersection in Eindhoven.
Using radar technology to detect the speed of approaching cyclists, the system consists of a column installed along the path located roughly 120 metres before the upcoming traffic signal. As cyclists approach the Flo column, it flashes a symbolic image that corresponds to the speed at which the cyclist should cycle to catch a green light.
The following symbols are used to provide instructions:
- If Flo flashes the image of a tortoise, they should slow down.
- If Flo displays the image of a hare, the cyclist should increase their speed.
- If the cyclist is presented with a thumbs-up icon, they should maintain their current speed.
- If the cyclist is shown the image of a cow, they will not be able to catch a green light.
Fully integrated into traffic light regulations
DTV Consultants was commissioned by the municipality of Eindhoven to design the software behind Flo. It measures the speed of oncoming cyclists and transmits this information to the nearby traffic lights. The traffic software operates on the basis of a so-called semi-rigid structure, which ensures that motorised traffic on the Eisenhowerlaan is granted a fixed number of green lights per cycle. This system allows the realisation and implementation of the “dynamic green wave” initiative, which uses specially developed matrix signalling devices to communicate speed advice to drivers.
This so-called semi-rigid structure makes it possible to calculate a recommended cycling speed for cyclists due to the fact that the software acquires the relevant information 100 to 120 metres ahead of the intersection and can communicate with the traffic light software, which then determines the speed advice and decides which symbol should flash on the Flo unit’s screen. Outside of peak hours, the bicycle crossing may sometimes get a green light first, which provides additional convenience for cyclists. We refer to this kind of situation as “free green”.