National trial suggested to extend crossing times

11 April 2013

A University of Canterbury researcher is proposing a national trial to extend the crosswalk time for slower pedestrians at traffic signals.

A University of Canterbury researcher is proposing a national trial to extend the crosswalk time for slower pedestrians at traffic signals.

A device fitted at crossings could be operated manually by slower pedestrians like the elderly, disabled and visually impaired people.

The proposed national trial follows research by UC transportation engineering masters student Eddie Cook, which was supervised by civil engineering expert Dr Glen Koorey. The findings and proposal will be put to the national transportation engineering conference in Dunedin next week.

The research has investigated Invercargill and Dunedin signalised traffic light crossings. Cook, a senior traffic management officer at Invercargill City Council, has recommended pedestrian facilities be modified to provide two pedestrian speeds to improve efficiency without compromising safety.

"My research shows that, particularly on wide crosswalks, we are currently providing at least five seconds of red man flashing time that is not required," Cook says.  

"This has the effect of delaying cars that are waiting for their green light by five seconds. 

"Across the country the benefits could run annually into millions of dollars, without reducing pedestrian service. Broad estimates indicate that an average daily saving of 15 minutes in travel delays and vehicle emissions could be achieved at each signalised intersection in New Zealand. 

"Highly congested, heavy pedestrian intersections in particular will benefit from this initiative. Benefits may also be greater at intersections with wide crosswalks and very little side road traffic.

"We have about 2000 signalised intersections in New Zealand so the potential national annual benefit could be millions of dollars. The devices are estimated to pay for themselves, on average, after 12 months.

"I am currently working on a trial proposal to submit to New Zealand Transport Agency for their appraisal and approval to use these devices to prove the outcomes," Cook says. 

To maximise the benefit and to provide clarity and consistency for all pedestrians, Cook recommends that all traffic signals have the devices installed by 2018 should the trial prove successful. 

 

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz