A NEW app-controlled traffic light program to help disabled people cross the road has gone live in Irvine – with North Ayrshire the first area to roll it out widely after pressure from a resident.

Neatebox works via a free downloadable app that remotely presses the button for the green man at traffic lights.

Once the app is on a phone, it will automatically detect a crossing on approach, and will tell the box to instigate a safe crossing.

Resident Craig Happell brought the project to Irvine West Cllr Scott Gallacher’s attention, with the pair fighting to get the app in Irvine for two years.

Craig said “Using pedestrian crossings as a visually impaired person is one of the many difficulties you encounter everyday

“I discovered the Button app and knew straight away the benefits it would have for people like myself.

“There are also the

benefits to those who use wheelchairs, mobility scooters, parents with young children with prams etc.

Cllr Gallacher said “I am honestly beyond delighted that this project is finally up and running.

“It has been a long, drawn out episode.

“However, North Ayrshire Council is now the first authority in Scotland to roll this out on a wider level than just a couple of strategically placed crossings. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

“Given the current situation with coronavirus, it makes for one less thing to worry about touching.”

The app is free and easy to install on either IOS or Android devices.

Inventor and designer Gavin Neate said: “Guide Dog owner Craig Happell and Cllr Scott Gallacher have been instrumental in bringing Button to Irvine leading to North Ayrshire becoming the first council district in the world to embrace smart hands free pedestrian crossings for disabled and mobility impaired people.”

“For many disabled people this simple interaction has always been challenging however under current restrictions we are all so much more wary of

interacting physically with public infrastructure.”