A sprinter testing one of the radars in Nantes, Source: Correurs. / Clotilde Fourrier

Speed radars in Nantes encourage walkers to run

Speed radars in Nantes encourage walkers to run

The project aims to urge pedestrians to live even healthier lives

Taking daily walks is a healthy habit. But you know what’s even healthier? Jogging. That’s the idea that has informed the implementation of a rather creative initiative in the French city of Nantes – the placement of speed radars for pedestrians.

The first of these devices was installed in the Ile de Nantes neighbourhood, located in the Loire River. In essence, it is no different than the speed radars that measure vehicle speeds in traffic, however, the objective of the pedestrian radars is the opposite. It aims to encourage people to pick up their pace, and ideally sprint or jog, rather than slow them down.

The project, which is a partnership between Coureurs Club, Nantes Métropole and JCDecaux, has the ambition to improve “public health by encouraging the practice of sport, physical activity and surpassing oneself”.

Run, walker, run!

The idea for this concept came from social media where the project planners noticed that teenagers and joggers would often challenge themselves to run so fast as to get a reading from the street vehicle radars.

Developed in partnership with Icam, an engineering school in Nantes, the radar for runners, which by the way is powered on solar energy, detects speeds from 4 km/h. However, it only displays a reading if the passers-by pick their speed to at least 8 km/h. It also has an upper limit of 35 km/h so that it won’t be abused by cyclists trying to measure their speed.

The first of the two radars (the other one is located on Ile de Versailles, another island in Nantes) was placed in February seeking to also find out the receptiveness to this innovation. Apart from the speed sensors, the radars will record how many people respond and pick up their pace when they walk by the radar. If the pilot project proves popular, its creators promise to bring it to other French cities as well.



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