Concept Holosafe by Kiran Babu

Concept Holosafe


Kiran Babu

Pasadena, USA

ArtCenter College of Design


Railway Level crossings have a huge role in activating the public realm, making streets safer and accessible to all. Shutting them down due to increased deaths at level crossings creates an additional problem of disconnected proximities contributing to mobility injustice, taking away streets and creating pockets that cannot talk to each other.

Indian Railways is among the world’s largest rail network, but often responsible for the deaths of pedestrians. Railway Level Crossings are vulnerable to the extent that it is responsible for 41% of accidents, 63% deaths and 33% injuries over Indian Railways. Nearly 50,000 people have lost their lives between 2017 and 2019 on railway tracks after being hit by trains, according to official data from the Indian Railways. Deaths on railway tracks occur due to trespassing, violating safety and cautionary instructions, avoiding over-bridges, using mobile phones and other electronic gadgets when crossing railway tracks. In the United States, a motorist is 40 times more likely to die in a collision with a train than on a collision with another vehicle. More than 50% of crashes at public crossings occur where active warning devices are implemented (Gates, lights, bells). (United Nations Report 2000)

The Indian government plans to eliminate all unmanned crossings terming it a national project. It has planned to bear the costs without involving states. Rs 50,000 crore (6.7 billion USD) from the govt. spent to close all unmanned crossings over 4 years. This would exaggerate the problem, the public realm where people live, play, work and engage in activities would change drastically, with streets leading to the tracks becoming cul-de-sacs or overbridges that are exclusive to automobiles. Majorly, local businesses, street vendors and residents would be affected, where the common man will not be able to go to his favourite bakery across the tracks by walk, or an elderly citizen visit the nearby bank. Roads leading to walls become places for illegal activities, making it unsafe for user groups, particularly women. Currently, closed level crossings, are often being used, where citizens jaywalk risking their lives to save a couple of minutes.

Holosafe looks at breaking down this physical barrier, increasing accessibility to all, creating an ecosystem that enables the coexistence of people, trains, vehicles, and the built environment on the same level. With the construction of pedestrian bridges and underpasses requiring complex procedures of acquiring land and increased construction costs, Holosafe looks to activate the public realm creating opportunities for the city to participate and collaborate. The concept uses Laser Beam projection technology to create a clean clutter-free signage system that is digitally integrated for increased safety. With the lack of mechanical parts, the system is easy to maintain. Holosafe in addition to holographic projections, digitally notifies pedestrians, alerting them regarding an approaching train through haptics in mobile phones or drop-down notifications, hence personalising the experience. It is designed keeping inclusivity in mind where every citizen has access, breaking down barriers and increasing personal well-being enabling all people to participate in the city.


Kiran Babu is a graduate student studying Transportation Systems and Design at ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena. Having completed his bachelors in architecture, He is currently exploring innovative ways at how the built environment interacts with vehicles and pedestrians creating meaningful experiences. He believes in how an integrated approach to problem framing/solving can create a positive change in society.