Pedestrian countdowns at traffic lights – TfL gets its priorities all wrong

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Pedestrian countdowns at traffic lights - TfL gets its priorities all wrong

Posted 22 June 2010 15:08 by martin

As part of a £750k Transport for London trial, US-style pedestrian countdown timers are being added to 8 junctions across London (please excuse my slightly shoddy picture):
Countdown

TfL's rationale goes like this:
  • Research has shown that many pedestrians assume the green man display is the only safe time to cross the road. In fact the blackout period continues to give people the right of way to complete their crossings.
  • Because Pedestrian Countdown shows exactly how much time is left to cross, pedestrians are less likely to panic and speed up, or stop in the middle of the road.
  • A recent off-street public trial of the technology showed that over 85% of pedestrians felt safer and more confident when crossing the road with a countdown display.
  • Pedestrian Countdown will also help to smooth traffic flow by giving some time back to drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists.
Living Streets beg to differ:

“Living Streets believes that such a move is an expensive red herring, which could hinder pedestrian safety, make pedestrians feel rushed and unwelcome whilst crossing the road, and goes against the Mayor’s wish to see more people walking. The measure is clearly aimed at getting motor traffic moving quickly rather than improving the walkability of London’s streets.”

The irony is that just a few hundred metres/yards from the pedestrian countdown in the picture above is this junction:

No countdown 2

Forget a pedestrian countdown, there's no pedestrian crossing at all! You've got to take your life in your hands and just go for it – and you frequently see scared and bewildered pedestrians doing just that.

TfL, you've got your priorities all wrong.

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