Traffic lights to stay red for longer

Kit to stop red light runners
9 May, 2014 12:13pm Joe Finnerty

Elderly pedestrians will be given more time to cross under Government review

Traffic lights will remain red for longer to allow elderly pedestrians more time to safely cross the road.

Crossings will undergo a huge Government review after it was revealed Britain's ageing population is struggling to make it to the other side of busy roads.

Lights could be fitted with sensors to keep them on red when people are still crossing, according to roads minister Robert Goodwill.

Traditional pelican crossings with a flashing green man are due to be phased out next year with countdown traffic lights becoming more common.

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The time allowed for pedestrians to cross hasn't changed since the 1950s yet many pensioners walk much slower than the 1.2 metres a second that dictates phasings. University College London research found those over 65 actually walk, on average, at 0.8m/s.

Mr Goodwill said: "The green man is an invitation to cross. When the green man is extinguished, there is still time to cross. The updated puffin crossings have movement detectors, which allow extra time to be given. We are looking at other types of crossing as well, which will further improve the situation."

Natascha Engel, North East Derbyshire MP, who tabled the question in the House of Commons, urged the review to be undertaken immediately.

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Transport for London is also considering changes with a new system that detects how many people are waiting on the pavement being developed.

Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said keeping lights on red could cause more traffic for drivers.

“I would prefer to see more of the countdowns which are a quite good indicator of your chances of getting across,” he said. “ If you are stuck behind the first person in a queue at a red light and they move away slowly you can imagine the consequences for the junction. One second here is two to three cars less through the signal.”