Enhanced Operating Strategies to Improve Pedestrian Amenity and Safety at Midblock Signalled Pedestrian Crossings



Enhanced Operating Strategies to Improve Pedestrian Amenity and Safety at Midblock Signalled Pedestrian Crossings

Authors

HUNT J G, University of Wales and LYONS G D, University of Southampton, UK

Description

In recent years there has been a major change, some would say a U tum, in UK Government policy on the use of the private car. Transport policy during the period of the Thatcher Government of the 1980s emphasised the role of the private car as a symbol of

Abstract

In recent years there has been a major change, some would say a U tum, in UK Government policy on the use of the private car. Transport policy during the period of the Thatcher Government of the 1980s emphasised the role of the private car as a symbol of personal freedom. Traffic management in urban areas focused on the requirement to move ears through the urban road network with minimum delay. The development and widespread use of Urban Trat~c Control systems such as TRANSYT and SCOOT further emphasised the perceived requirement to minimise vehicle journey times. In many instances the requirements of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians were given a relatively lower priority with the result that particularly in UTC areas pedestrian level of service was low at signalled crossings both at midblock and at junctions.

During the 1990s there has been a growing awareness of the need to redress the balance, with traffc engineers and transport planners giving greater weight to the needs of pedestrians. At the same time Government has gradually recognised the impossibility of providing sut~icient road space to satisfy increasing demand by road vehicles. This, coupled with concerns about the environmental effects of road traffic, has led to the pursuance of policies that seek to reduce dependence on the car and encourage the use of other modes of transport. For local journeys walking is seen as a suitable alternative mode of transport. The development of policies to encourage walking is likely to accelerate foUowing the change of Government in May this year.

One of the ways in which walking can be encouraged is to improve the level of service offered to pedestrians when they need to cross the road. The United Kingdom has more than 11000 Pelican crossings (County Surveyors' Society, 1994) installed between junctions to provide pedestrians with signal protected periods in which to cross streams oftra/Iic between junctions. Midblock provision of signalled pedestrian crossings is much greater in the United Kingdom than in most other countries. A new type of signalled pedestrian crossing, the Puffin (Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent), Davies (1992), is being evaluated at both signal controlled junctions and at midblock. The Puffin crossing eliminates unnecessary pedestrian precedence periods and extends crossing time for pedestrians. However the basic strategy and timings during periods of vehicle precedence are similar to those employed at Pelican crossings.

This paper considers possible strategies to improve pedestrian amenity and potentially reduce pedestrian casualties at midblock signalled pedestrian crossings such as the Pelican and Puffin. Ongoing research to develop appropriate strategies is also described.

Publisher

Association for European Transport