Great use of SMS to report faulty traffic lights in London


I saw this sign affixed to a traffic light in Gloucester Road in West London this morning. What a great use of SMS to report traffic light faults.  Click the photo below for a better view.


The great thing is that the instructions are clear, and it provides enough detail to allow the right level of response.

For some years now light poles in London have had numbers and codes to call if they were not working. In my experience, these numbers and codes never worked.  Perhaps this method of reporting all sorts of faults will take off.  After all the general public is now so used to sending codes and letters to SMS short codes thanks to shows like X-Factor.

While you are here ...



London-based Pragmatic Futurist and former IBM Global Managing Partner, Andrew is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption and emerging technologies. He is a multiple TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Watch his speaking showreel here, enquire about availability & fees here or listen to his latest Podcast - "The Pragmatic Futurist Podcast" on your favourite app.

Showing 2 comments
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    Adam Cohen-Rose

    Seems like a great opportunity for QR codes — encode the SMS destination, the traffic light code and the fault and encourage people to scan… Example:

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    Andrew Grill

    Adam, normally I would agree re QR codes, but find me a “normal” mobile user who does not work in our industry in the street and get them to scan a QR code.

    First – if they don’t have a reader, where do they download it from?

    Even the Nokia bundled one on my E72 does not read codes reliably.

    Even 1 additional step we put in the place of “normobs” will cause a massive drop in usage.

    Make it super simple – using SMS which “just works” and you should find broad adoption.

    I used to be a big fan of QR codes, but they are just too hard for the bulk of mobile users to get working.

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