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UK To Lengthen Red Lights For Pedestrian Safety

Jeffrey N. Ross

Would you be willing to sit longer at a red light to help improve pedestrian safety on the roadways? Well that’s one way that the United Kingdom is looking to help protect people as they’re crossing the street. According to Auto Express, the British government will lengthen the amount of time for a red light to make sure that people – especially the elderly – have enough time to cross safely.

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The report says that current lights in Great Britain are timed to allow people to walk about 1.2 meters (about four feet) per second, but elderly pedestrians (those over the age of 65) tend to walk a little slower at 0.8 meters (2.6 feet) per second on average. Longer red lights will give pedestrians longer time to cross the street, but it will also create more congestion. There will obviously be a fine line between ensuring pedestrian safety and keeping traffic flowing smoothly.

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Another element of pedestrian safety that the U.K. is looking at is replacing its current crossing signals. AE says that the U.K. will phase out the current signals called pelican crossings, which simply use an illuminated green figure to tell people when to walk. New signals, called puffing crossings, will feature countdown timers telling people how long they have to cross the street as well as sensors to detect if there are still pedestrians in the crosswalk and allow more time for them to get across.