Signalised pedestrian crossings are a common sight along our roads, but what we may not realise is that each is implemented based on the consideration of many factors such as safety, timing and the demands of different road users.
LTA receives over 20 requests for new signalised pedestrian crossings each month. Each is reviewed to balance the efficiency of other road users and the convenience and safety for pedestrians. Factors such as pedestrian volume, pedestrian mix, road profile, traffic speeds, proximity to nearby crossings, visibility, proximity to nearby junctions/accesses and its constraints are carefully considered before installing a new signalised pedestrian crossing.
Catering to Different Users
Signalised pedestrian crossings are about sharing road space between motorists, commuters and pedestrians, allocating each group of users a fair, efficient and demand-based amount of time to carry on with their journey.
For pedestrians, a push-button on the traffic light pole register an intent to cross the road and traffic will be stopped to allow this. As there is a need to balance the efficient operation of the road network and provide a safe crossing environment, there is some delay in the activation of the green man to ensure that traffic flow is not unduly interrupted. The timing of crossings is controlled by a computerised traffic signal system known as the Green Link Determining (GLIDE) system. This system aims to optimise the efficiency of our road network by adjusting green time at junctions according to the vehicle and pedestrians demand.
Pedestrian Accessibility and Safety
‘Green man time’ or the length of time given for pedestrians to cross is determined by factors such as the length of the pedestrian crossing, the volume and composition of pedestrians. This time compose of two components, a steady green man and a flashing green man.
Steady green man time is a fixed and pre-determined time period that allows all pedestrians waiting at the kerbside to step off and commerce crossing. The flashing green man is the duration required by a typical pedestrian to complete his crossing action from one side of the road to the other. Thus, pedestrians who arrive at the crossing location after the green man has started to flash would probably not have sufficient time to cross the road if they attempted to do so. This is why by the time the green man flashes; it is not safe to start crossing the road.
To improve accessibility for the visually handicapped, some traffic lights beep to indicate that it is safe to start crossing. The volume for audio signals is adjusted based on the noise level of the environment.
For busy junctions and schools, Integrated Pedestrian Countdown Timers are used to indicate the amount of time left in the pedestrian crossing phase.