maximum pedestrian crossing waiting time

Mr Hives made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Can you please let me know if there are any guidelines and/or limits on configuring the waiting times at pedestrian crossing lights. To clarify this is the time from pressing the button to when the lights change.

I also need to know who's responsibility it is to set these times and whether they are ever checked or if members of the public are relied on to report any issues and if so to whom.

In addition I would be grateful if you could let me know of any studies done into how long it is before a pedestrian will "give-up" waiting and cross when the light is either still red or elsewhere.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Hives

Transport for London

Our Ref: 1003430292

Date: 13.05.2009

Mr Hives

[FOI #10443 email]

Dear Mr Hives

Re: Waiting times at pedestrian crossing

Thank you for your email dated 16 April 2009 regarding the above.

There are no recommended “wait” timings for pedestrians published by
the Department for Transport, however, at Transport for London we
endeavour to ensure pedestrians usually wait no more than 90 seconds.

We are the Traffic Authority for Traffic Signals on all roads in Greater
London. We have an aspiration to review all traffic signal sites every
3-5 years. We of course welcome any aid from members of the public,
particularly if it highlights an issue that we are not aware of.

At this time, we are unaware of any studies on pedestrian “wait” time
exclusively in the UK.

I hope that helps to explain the situation and please do not hesitate to
contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards

Duncan Marshall
Customer Service Advisor - London Streets
Transport for London
Surface Transport Communications

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Dear Sir or Madam,

Many thanks for providing this information.

Given that your department is responsible for setting waiting times, I would be grateful for some further explanation of your policies. It occurs to me that if a pedestrian "gives up" on waiting and attempts to cross when the lights are on green a dangerous situation is created where an accident may occur.

I imagine your objectives include preventing people from putting themselves in such situations and you would therefore would need to study how long people will wait before becoming impatient. If this time is less than 90 seconds, which anecdotally I believe it is, then your targets could be misguided and potentially dangerous. Without a proper study how do you decide what times to set?

In addition since zebra crossings don't suffer from this problem (although they may be more dangerous in other ways) without a study, how do you decide which type of crossing to recommend?

It appears to me as if many zebra crossings are being replaced by pedestrian crossings that have unacceptably long waiting times for the pedestrian in order to improve traffic flow, and at the expense of the pedestrians convenience and safety.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Hives

Transport for London

Thank you for your email. We can confirm that this has now been received.

For further information go to [1]www.tfl.gov.uk

 

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References

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Transport for London

Our ref.: 1003710123 / DG

Date: 09.07.2009

Mr Hives

[FOI #10443 email]

Dear Mr Hives,

Re.: Freedom of Information request - maximum pedestrian crossing waiting
time

Thank you for your further e-mail of May 18 regarding the above. Please
forgive the delay in providing a reply on this occasion. I am now pleased
to respond.

In respect of waiting times at pedestrian crossings, kindly note the
following:

- The time to cross includes a green man invitation for pedestrians to
start crossing, followed by a safe clearance period. This safe clearance
period is calculated using a walking speed of 1.2 metres per second, based
on the carriageway width. This is the current guidance from the
Department for Transport and has not been changed. London pedestrians
are, and will always be, provided with a safe time to cross the road.

- The wait time at each site is judged on its own merit. We at Transport
for London (TfL) always aim to strike a balance for all road users,
including pedestrians. TfL is currently reviewing all 6,000 signals in
London over a six year period. The Mayor has made it clear that traffic
signals should be re-phased to take into account the needs of all road
users, and that the safety of pedestrians should never be compromised.
However, where it makes sense, timings can be altered to
favour motorists instead of pedestrians, or vice versa. This is about
making junctions more efficient. It is not about favouring motorists over
any other form of transport.

- Zebra crossings are installed and maintained by the local boroughs.
However, when the borough requests that a zebra crossing is replaced with
a pedestrian crossing, TfL will recommend that a puffin crossing is
installed, a policy which is supported by the DfT.

- Pedestrian crossings and zebra crossings both have their advantages.
However, pedestrian crossings are more accessible for visually impaired
users as most sites have either audible signals and / or rotating tactile
cones to let the user know when it is safe to begin crossing the road.

I trust this information answers your query, but I shall pleased to assist
if you have further points. Thank you once more for writing to us.

Yours sincerely,

David Goudge

Customer Service Advisor

Correspondence - Streets

Surface Transport Communications

Transport for London

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Original Text

From: [FOI #10443 email]
To: [email address] <[email address]>
CC:
Sent: 18.05.09 20:06:21
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - maximum pedestrian crossing
waiting time

Dear Sir or Madam,

Many thanks for providing this information.

Given that your department is responsible for setting waiting
times, I would be grateful for some further explanation of your
policies. It occurs to me that if a pedestrian "gives up" on
waiting and attempts to cross when the lights are on green a
dangerous situation is created where an accident may occur.

I imagine your objectives include preventing people from putting
themselves in such situations and you would therefore would need to
study how long people will wait before becoming impatient. If this
time is less than 90 seconds, which anecdotally I believe it is,
then your targets could be misguided and potentially dangerous.
Without a proper study how do you decide what times to set?

In addition since zebra crossings don't suffer from this problem
(although they may be more dangerous in other ways) without a
study, how do you decide which type of crossing to recommend?

It appears to me as if many zebra crossings are being replaced by
pedestrian crossings that have unacceptably long waiting times for
the pedestrian in order to improve traffic flow, and at the expense
of the pedestrians convenience and safety.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Hives

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H. Ornett left an annotation ()

Mr Hives,

The time a pedestrian has to wait before being given an invitation to cross varies, depending on factors such as the local area, traffic flows and the way in which the signals are controlled (eg vehicle actuated or perhaps UTC).

You will find that at many pedestrian crossings, if the vehicle signals have been green for a minimum of 20 seconds, when the push button is pressed the lights will change in favour of the pedestrians 'immediately' (I put immediately in quotes because there are safety measures built in to ensure that approaching vehicles will not have to break suddenly and sharply).

Could I ask that you pop over to your local pedestrian crossing with a stop-watch and time how long it takes from the time you arrive and push the button until you get an invitation to cross (green man)? I ask this simply because I am curious to compare your area with my own.

Please let me know your findings. I do not work for TfL or any other public body.

Best regards.

H. Ornett