Pedestrian pong proves popular

Pedestrian pong proves popular

Being a pedestrian in Christchurch could now be a bit more fun, with the launch of a new initiative aimed at entertaining people waiting at crossings.

Smart Cross is an interactive touchscreen device that allows pedestrians to play the game pong with each other while they wait to cross the street.

Smart Cross founder Brett O'Donnell says the game has three main benefits.

"What it does is it encourages pedestrians to wait while the man is red, and to give them something to do while they're waiting to cross the road.  So we don't want to encourage people to step out and jaywalk," he says.

"The second thing is it's something that people can interact with pedestrians on the other side of the road, which is really cool.

Pedestrian pong proves popular

Traffic pong on the corner of Colombo and Lichfield St (Facebook)

"The last thing is that it's a platform which is wifi-enabled. What that means is we can be pushing messages out to people while they're waiting so community messages, events and things like that."

So far the game is only available at the Colombo and Lichfield St intersection, but Mr O'Donnell says there are plans to roll it out to other locations around the city by the end of the year.

This is the first location with plans to roll out in three other spots across Christchurch over the next month.

"We've been really lucky and the council's allowed us to use the traffic poles as a test location. They've been really encouraging and really helpful for us.

Christchurch City Council (CCC) Programme Manager Teresa McCallum says the project is part of the council's plan to create a smarter city. 

"It's one of the several proof-of-concept projects that we're rolling out as part of our smart city programmme in Christchurch," she says.

 "We had 75 percent of the buildings in the CBD taken down after the quakes and we've also had a massive amount of infrastructure renewal.

"This puts Christchurch in a really unique position of really being able to innovate, try new things, do things in a newer way," she says.

"We want to have an environment where people interact with other people where it's fun and a great place to be."