Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Intelligent paving slab warns children of approaching traffic

30 May 2016 09:36 | Communication

An intelligent paving slab is being used to warn children at a primary school on Nassaukade in Amsterdam of approaching traffic on a busy cycling path. The solar-powered interactive slab lights up with LED images when a bicycle or scooter approaches. Three students of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the Amsterdam Creative Industries Network (ACIN) are developing the slab and tested how primary school pupils responded to it this week.

The reason for this innovation is traffic safety around primary schools, an important issue facing the City of Amsterdam. The municipal authorities asked AUAS lecturer Wouter Meys whether his students could help find a solution. 



The Dr. Rijk Kramerschool is located on Nassaukade beside a busy cycle path, which pupils have to cross to get to their own bicycles. In response to this issue, AUAS students Matthijs van Hest (Computer Science), Riekelt Goucem (Computer Science) and Oumaima Nedoui (Communication and Multimedia Design) developed the interactive paving slab in the Citizen Data Lab.

The purpose of the paving slab is to prevent the primary school pupils from running onto the cycle path outside their school. The slab lights up with a red image of a bicycle when a motor scooter, bicycle or mobility scooter approaches, accompanied by the text ‘ PAS OP’ (‘LOOK OUT’). The paving slab also has a waiting line that turns red. The paving slab is powered by solar cells placed inside it.



What do the children think of it so far? Student Matthijs van Hest: “They’re all fascinated by it. While we were testing it on site, a teacher brought a class outside, and the children had lots of questions about the solar cells and power, light intensity and usability in the winter and at night. They were full of ideas themselves too, smarter than I thought!”



The City of Amsterdam is enthusiastic, says lecturer Wouter Meys: “They are following the developments closely, because this is part of a much bigger study on how we can use smart paving slabs in a smart city. Whether it will work remains to be seen. That’s the nice thing about applied science: we go into the city to see the effect for ourselves.”


All three students took a minor in Intelligent Environments, and based their design on a previous version of the paving slab, which Product Design student Jimmy Buma designed last year. The previous version was tested in Amsterdam-Oost and warned cyclists of approaching motor scooters by means of a built-in microphone that captured sound. Jimmy also designed the housing for this slab, to which the solar cells were added along with a proximity sensor built into the slab by E-Technology students

The Citizen Data Lab is part of the Amsterdam Creative Industries Network (ACIN): the national talent, knowledge and business network for the creative industries and ICT sector. ACIN a partnership between the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, the Amsterdam University of the Arts and Inholland University of Applied Sciences.