Pedestrian Countdown at traffic signalsSkip to navigation
Research on how the technology affects behaviour and public perception suggests it will help all users.
In 2010-2011, we conducted two trials: one off-street trial and one on-street trial.
The on-street trial took place at eight traffic light junctions across London to test the technology and assess whether it could be approved for use at more locations in the Capital.
The result of the on-street trial concluded that Pedestrian Countdown:
- Had a positive response from the public - 83 per cent of those surveyed said they liked Pedestrian Countdown
- Reduced uncertainty so more informed crossing decisions can be made
- Will smooth traffic flow
- Has no negative effect on pedestrian safety
With the on-street trial showing benefits to both pedestrians and traffic, approval has been given by the Department of Transport and the Highways Agency for Pedestrian Countdown at traffic signals to be installed throughout England.
We are planning to introduce Pedestrian Countdown at around 200 sites across London.
A Road Safety study revealed two-thirds of pedestrians are confused about the amount of time they have to cross a road safely at junctions with traffic lights.
The study indicated that:
- 60 per cent of pedestrians did not understand the purpose of the blackout period (the time after the green man, where no lights show, before the red man is displayed)
- 67 per cent of disabled pedestrians interviewed did not understand the blackout period
- Overall, around half of all pedestrians observed in the study crossed against the red man signal
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 or stop in the middle of the road.
An off-street public trial of the technology showed that more than 85 per cent 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 a few seconds to drivers, motorcyclists, buses and cyclists.