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They Did What?: 

Traffic light pong is the best way to kill time at the lights


Just make sure to actually cross the road when the lights turn green

Earlier this year we wrote about Lisbon’s dancing traffic lights, which set out to amuse pedestrians while simultaneously promoting a safer city. Well, that effort has been one-upped in Germany, where you can now play pong against the stranger opposite you while waiting for the light to go green.

The pong-playing traffic system was first dreamed up two years ago, as three students attempted to find a way to kill the time they spent waiting at crossings. Because, y’know, that obviously wouldn’t be an equally giant waste of time. They then made a video to promote their idea which was watched by more than 5 million people, leading to its proper installation two weeks ago in Hildesheim, Germany.

Building Pong into a functional traffic system is harder than it looks, so the team worked with traffic tech professionals (Oh yes, they exist), rebranding from Street Pong to ActiWait. Pedestrians simply have to tap the touchscreen unit while stuck at a red light to battle it out against the person opposite. Oh, and the game does come to an end once the lights change, just in case you were tempted to stand there playing all day.

Pong is great and everything, but ActiWait wants to expand to other activities and take its idea beyond Hildesheim. At present there is just one existing prototype, but the team has created an Indiegogo campaign where you can pledge to bring traffic light pong to your hometown. In the future, the team also wants to develop traffic lights with built-in news feeds, navigation and even speed dating. Clearly, these guys really, really don’t like waiting at traffic lights.

ActiWait is hoping to raise €35,000 (around $43,000), with the campaign closing on January 19, 2015. So if you want to play pong at the lights where you live – and help discourage dangerous jaywalking in the process – then you know what to do.

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