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The Utah Department of Transportation says it has developed a first-in-the-nation, inexpensive way to improve safety during peak times at busy crosswalks near schools.

It designed a newly engineered key on signal boxes that allows school crossing guards to add 10 to 15 seconds of extra walking time when there are crowds of children.

Installing the key costs about $20 per crosswalk, plus 30 minutes of installation time for an electrician.

"This is a low-cost, easy solution that will pay off with increased safety and better traffic flow," said Cherissa Olson, UDOT school and pedestrian safety manager. "We want to make sure students are getting to and from school every day safe and sound."

One who welcomes the change is Cindy Jacobsen, crossing guard supervisor for West Jordan.

"With all of the traffic in this area, something had to be done to help our students get to and from school safely," Jacobsen said. "This new tool from UDOT gives us an easy solution that will make our jobs easier."

Schools interested in using this new technology at their crosswalks can email: