The bluetooth system has been designed to help pregnant women secure a seat on the train.

For such a polite and thoughtful society, one thing that often baffles visitors to Japan is the reluctance of passengers to relinquish their seats on the train. There may be several explanations for this, related to societal rules which respect order in regards to queues, and the fact that elderly passengers who dislike having the “old” tag slapped on them have berated schoolchildren for giving up their seats for them. However, when it comes to pregnant women, seated passengers should know to give up their seats as a common courtesy.

▼ Despite this request in the priority seat sections of train carriages in Japan, it’s never guaranteed that anyone will give up their seat.


To make sure people are aware of their condition, expectant mothers wear a pink-and-white “Baby on Board” keychain given to them by their local clinics and also available from train station offices. Despite standing in the priority seat section and prominently displaying the keychains on their bags, however, it’s never a certainty that someone will be nice enough to give up their seat for them.

▼ According to a 2014 survey, more than 60 percent of Japanese men said they had never heard of the “Baby on Board” maternity mark badges.

Maternity Mark

Considering all these factors, the new “Pink Light” system trialled in South Korea recently might be a perfect fit for the Japanese transportation network. The set-up requires women to carry a sensor that sends a wireless signal which activates a pink light located in the priority seat section, alerting passengers to the fact that there’s a pregnant woman nearby. The non-waterproof pendant sensor has a battery-life of at least six months and works best when carried outside of pockets, which makes them better suited to being used on bags.

▼ There’s no excuse for not knowing what this symbol represents.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 5.39.45 PM

The system, which was tested over a five-day period in the city of Busan by 500 pregnant women, came about as a joint collaboration between local businesses and the city council, with the Mayor, Suh Byung-soo, expressing his support for the comfort and care of pregnant women using local transport. The viability of the project and its future remains under wraps for now, but with a dedicated website and pendant applications forms currently available online, we hope to see this project expand to other countries like Japan in the near future.

To see exactly how the system works, take a look at the short video below.

Source: Pink Light, BBC News
Top Image: YouTube/Dynamic Busan
Insert Images: Transportation Bureau (City of Yokohama), MokosoftYouTube/Dynamic Busan
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