Social Distancing: Traffic light systems on the shopping mile

Social Distancing requires that the safety distance in public life must be maintained. This requires constant regulation and monitoring of the number of people in shops and stores. Traffic light systems are the creative answer to this requirement. Here we present the smartest solutions.

Traffic lights have always been indispensable for maintaining order in road traffic. Due to the current crisis, the red-yellow-green system is now to be applied to business and retail.


Although many distance rules are currently being relaxed again, it will be some time before the situation returns to normal and the well-known model of the “sardine tin” makes a comeback. At the moment, the rule in Switzerland is that people should keep a distance of two metres between themselves. In Germany it is 1.50 metres.


Access must be regulated accordingly to allow only a certain number of people to enter a shop or even an office. To enforce this Smart Distancing, some ICT providers have developed traffic light solutions that send clear signals as to whether it is possible to enter a shop or office.

Added value for retailers

Currently, many companies still assign employees to access control. With an intelligent traffic light solution for more security, this task would be unnecessary for the staff. Thus, the costs for the electronic door solution pay for themselves on average within the first two to three weeks. Employees can get back to their actual tasks, while the traffic light system provides security.

The advantages of such a system will continue to be available even after the pandemic. After all, shop owners use a traffic light solution to measure precisely the flow of visitors in their stores: The associated software shows the utilization of the system broken down by time and day of the week. Instead of relying on gut feeling, reliable figures show how many staff are needed at what time and when is the best time to unpack new goods, refill shelves or clean the cold store.

A traffic light system offers many advantages. (Source: iStock / marchmeena29)

Creative shop traffic lights

A creative approach for a business traffic light system was provided by the Deutsche Telekom. The access traffic light uses the Internet of Things (IoT) and functions as follows: If a customer enters or leaves the business premises, the traffic light counts. When the maximum number of visitors is reached, it switches to red. If a customer enters the store despite the red traffic light, a sound is emitted to inform a member of staff via their smartphone.

On the shop floor itself, the solution makes it easier to comply with distance rules thanks to limited access. This means that the owner does not need to employ additional staff.

The light barrier of the traffic light system ensures that the distance and safety regulations are observed without the need for additional staff. (Source: Deutsche Telekom)

KAEMI has also designed a smart digital doorman. This is a video cloud solution based on technology from Cisco Meraki and the smart integration platform Bizmate V-App.


For now, the traffic light system offers a safer alternative to properly comply with current social distancing regulations, but even beyond the crisis period, such systems could provide long-term benefits for retailers.

Image Source: iStock / tupungato