Countdown crossings to end ‘blackout’ for pedestrians

12.00 | 14 September 2015 | | 3 comments

TfL has announced that the number of Pedestrian Countdown crossings in London will double by summer 2016.

The new technology replaces the ‘blackout’ period on traffic signals with a numerical counter to show how long pedestrians have left to safely cross the road.

TfL had a target to install the technology at 400 crossings by April 2016. However, that target has been stretched by a further 400 sites, meaning that 800 crossings, or around 20% of all pedestrian crossings in London, will have Pedestrian Countdown by summer 2016.

TfL claims that during 2014, the new style crossings helped reduce the number of pedestrian KSIs by 7% compared to the previous year.

Boris Johnson MP, mayor of London, said: “TfL’s commitment to extend Pedestrian Countdown is good news and means that 800 crossings across the Capital will have them in place by next summer.

“This is part of the action we’re taking on a number of other fronts, including significant improvements to major road junctions and working closely with London’s boroughs to ensure that roads with high footfall are even safer to use.”

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “Research suggests that, alongside significant health benefits, reduced congestion and better air quality, walking is good for local economies – with those who walk to town centres spending more than other people arriving by different transport services.

“Our wide ranging work to reduce the number of pedestrians injured in London is making a huge difference but we continue to work with the boroughs, our policing colleagues and stakeholders to reduce this further and deliver the mayor’s commitment to halve the number of people killed and seriously injured in London by 2020.”


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    I understood that Puffin Crossings were better for people with reduced vision in that they no longer had to peer across the width of the road at the green man, but could instead look to their right at a nearby box. The fact that they looked to their right when checking whether the green man was lit increased their chances of seeing a vehicle coming from their right. This in turn was designed to reduce the numbers of people stepping out into the road on the basis that the green man was lit, when they should be checking that not only was the green man lit, but that traffic had stopped.

    I believe that the Puffin Crossing has the best safety record of all types of pedestrian crossing, but I cannot at present reference the study that supports my view.

    I always stress that pedestrians should check that traffic has stopped prior to their stepping into the road, no matter what type of crossing they are using. If this type of crossing means that fewer people will step into the road when the red man is lit, then I am all for it.

    It does not matter much whether people dislike something; what matters is whether it works and is good for us.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Excellent, I agree, but re

    “…walking is good for local economies – with those who walk to town centres spending more than other people arriving by different transport services.”

    Does Mr. Daniels not realise that any extra spending by walkers in one local economy is automatically reflected as less spending elsewhere and that there is no net benefit?

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Excellent news. Can the rest of the country please adopt this and get rid of those unliked Puffin crossings which don’t have pedestrian lights on the opposite side of the road.

    Robert Bolt, St Albans
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