Traffic Lights to stay red for longer

Crossing time to be extended?

Traffic lights to stay red for longer... to give Britain's growing number of OAPs time to cross the road.

According to The Daily Mail traffic lights could be changed to stay on red for longer under plans drawn up by ministers to help Britain’s ageing population.

The Government is reviewing crossing times across the country after concerns about ‘pensioners struggling to cross the road’ before the lights change.

Traditional pelican crossings, which display a flashing green man on the opposite side of the road are due to be phased out next year, while other types of crossings are also being reviewed.

Changes could include fitting sensors which hold traffic at red if a pedestrian is still on the crossing – which are already in use in Glasgow.

Figures for the time it takes pedestrians to cross the road have not been reviewed since  the 1950s, despite a significant rise in the number of elderly people.

Traffic lights are timed on the basis that pedestrians walk at a speed of 1.2metres per second. However, men over the age of 65 walk at 0.9metres per second and women at 0.8metres per second. Pensioners account for 7.5million of the UK population.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill was asked by Natascha Engel, North East Derbyshire Labour MP, whether he would review the situation ‘urgently’.

Mr Goodwill replied: ‘I certainly will. Updated puffin crossings have movement detectors, which allow extra time to be given. We are looking at other types of crossing.’

Officials are also considering plans from Transport for London for a crossing with flexible ‘green man time’ which varies according to how many people are waiting to cross. 

A Government source said: ‘It is right that we look at how we can use better technology to make crossing safer – particularly for some elderly or vulnerable pedestrians who may welcome slightly more crossing time.’

But motoring campaigners warned the measures could lead to more traffic congestion.

Paul Watters, of the AA, said: ‘If you are stuck behind the first car 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.’


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