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TfL to pilot default green man signal at ten pedestrian crossings

Capital's transport body confident its vehicle detectors will pick up oncoming cyclists...

Transport for London (TfL) is to trial ‘green man authority’ on ten pedestrian crossings in the capital. The signal strategy gives pedestrians priority, relying on detectors to pick up any oncoming vehicles.

The July 2018 TfL Walking Action Plan states: "‘Green man’ authority is a radical technique where the traffic signals show a green signal for pedestrians continuously, until vehicular traffic is detected, at which time the pedestrians are stopped on a red signal, and vehicles are given a green light to proceed.

“This technique has previously only been used at two locations in London, on bus-only streets in Hounslow and Morden. TfL has identified the next 10 new locations where this approach will be set up, where it would significantly benefit pedestrians, with very little detriment to traffic."

TransportXtra reports that the ten crossings to be treated are:

  • Newham: Endeavour Square (Westfield Avenue by Southern Boulevard; Westfield Avenue by Middle Crossing; and Westfield Avenue by International Way)
  • City of London: Millennium Bridge (Queen Victoria Street by Distaff Lane)
  • Southwark: Guy’s Hospital (St Thomas Street by Weston Street East; and St Thomas Street by Weston Street West)
  • Southwark: The Shard/Guy’s Hospital (St Thomas Street by Joiner Street)
  • Westminster: Wardour Street (Wardour Street by Brewer Street)
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: Imperial Wharf Station (Imperial Road by Fulmead Street)
  • Merton: Wimbledon Shopping Centre (Queens Road by South Park Road)

A TfL spokesperson said the signal controller will be set with minimum and maximum times for vehicle green periods, and a minimum time for people walking.

“In times when traffic flows are busier, the benefits of green man authority may not be as evident, because whilst we are trying to strike a better balance, we do not want to create excessive congestion on the roads.”

The spokesperson added: “This is a pilot phase where we want to understand the operational impacts and benefits of this type of traffic light configuration.”

An obvious question from a cyclist’s perspective is whether the technology will detect those on bikes.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request in August 2018, TfL said: “As part of the development, a requirement will be the detection of oncoming bicycles at Green Man Authority sites.

“The current overhead vehicle detectors used by Transport for London (TfL) do detect oncoming bicycles. Evaluation of our detection equipment used on the network has shown that cyclists are detected.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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59 comments

Avatar
ktache | 5 years ago
0 likes

I was thinking more of a Morlock type thing.

Elon Musk has laughingly been developing a car tunnel thing.  Why is it Space-X seems quite good, but everything else has massive faults?

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MarsFlyer | 5 years ago
0 likes

Whilst at a London Cycling Campaign meeting, I thought that we needed something like this... and a couple of weeks later here it is! Excellent news.

This technique seems to be aimed at roads with only occasional traffic, there also needs to be a technique for where there are lots of pedestrians, but the traffic also needs to be able to flow when a main junction's lights go green - for example on shopping streets.

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to MarsFlyer | 5 years ago
3 likes

MarsFlyer wrote:

Whilst at a London Cycling Campaign meeting, I thought that we needed something like this... and a couple of weeks later here it is! Excellent news.

This technique seems to be aimed at roads with only occasional traffic, there also needs to be a technique for where there are lots of pedestrians, but the traffic also needs to be able to flow when a main junction's lights go green - for example on shopping streets.

very impressive. We should give you a whole list of things to think!

in built-up areas the majority of the road space should be given to pedestrians rather than just a couple of narrow strips at the side and should be one way only. All traffic signs and signals should be removed. Any motor (or bicycle for that matter) traffic allowed in should be required to pick its way slowly and gently through the people.

 

Avatar
Sriracha replied to ConcordeCX | 5 years ago
0 likes
ConcordeCX wrote:

MarsFlyer wrote:

Whilst at a London Cycling Campaign meeting, I thought that we needed something like this... and a couple of weeks later here it is! Excellent news.

This technique seems to be aimed at roads with only occasional traffic, there also needs to be a technique for where there are lots of pedestrians, but the traffic also needs to be able to flow when a main junction's lights go green - for example on shopping streets.

very impressive. We should give you a whole list of things to think!

in built-up areas the majority of the road space should be given to pedestrians rather than just a couple of narrow strips at the side and should be one way only. All traffic signs and signals should be removed. Any motor (or bicycle for that matter) traffic allowed in should be required to pick its way slowly and gently through the people.

 

Do you mean like this:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_space

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 5 years ago
3 likes

Sriracha wrote:
ConcordeCX wrote:

MarsFlyer wrote:

Whilst at a London Cycling Campaign meeting, I thought that we needed something like this... and a couple of weeks later here it is! Excellent news.

This technique seems to be aimed at roads with only occasional traffic, there also needs to be a technique for where there are lots of pedestrians, but the traffic also needs to be able to flow when a main junction's lights go green - for example on shopping streets.

very impressive. We should give you a whole list of things to think!

in built-up areas the majority of the road space should be given to pedestrians rather than just a couple of narrow strips at the side and should be one way only. All traffic signs and signals should be removed. Any motor (or bicycle for that matter) traffic allowed in should be required to pick its way slowly and gently through the people.

 

Do you mean like this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_space

Unfortunately, shared spaces don't work so well for most people, especially those with disabilities.

https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/shared-space-schemes-labelled-dangerous-in-lords-report/8686930.article

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/shared-spaces-stopped-because-danger-1841385

 

I also found this little gem from https://bristolcycling.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Bristol-Shared-Ped-Cyc-Space-Main-Report-March2015.pdf that is to do with cyclists and pedestrians sharing space

Quote:

observation revealed no real factors to justify excluding cyclists from pedestrianised areas, suggesting that cycling could be more widely permitted without detriment to pedestrians;

Avatar
Bmblbzzz | 5 years ago
5 likes

In addition to "head in phone"  and other forms of obliviousness, I can think of at least two reasons why people might press the button even when there's not any traffic. One is that some people, especially if they walk slowly or are frail or have had previous bad experiences on crossings, value the security that the green man gives them. The other is that over the past decade or so, most pelicans with big green/red man symbols on the far side of the road have been replaced with puffin crossings, which have little men in a box next to your shoulder or elbow – often placed just where they obscure the oncoming traffic. Even when not placed quite so stupidly, it's impossible to look at these and check the road simultaneously, as it with the big, clear symbols of the old skool pelicans. So yet another way in which we're training a generation of kids to look at lights, not at traffic or people. (London and a couple of other cities are the exception, with the far side lights plus timers.)

Avatar
ktache | 5 years ago
4 likes

What gets me most in this appalling story is the idea that the colour of the light was in any way relevant, there was a young family crossing at a pedestrian crossing quite legally and with the apparent protection of the law, in front of this vehicle.  Not only did this convicted murderer fail to check the lights, he couldn't be bothered to check the pedestrian crossing in front of  his massive vehicle.

And the warning to cyclists that covers the back of the killers beheamoth just takes the piss, perhaps after this horrific case, Sainsbury's should forget their branding, paint the entire vehicle in hi viz yellow, and place warnings to all those who might happen to be anywhere near it that this vehicle will kill you.  Or maybe just the inside of the cab, for it's drivers to use those massive windows, and mirrors and check around their death machine.

Avatar
ktache | 5 years ago
3 likes

RIP Tiny Cyclist.

My deepest symathies to the family and friends of Jaiden Mangan.

Avatar
Pushing50 | 5 years ago
2 likes

Double post 

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Pushing50 | 5 years ago
7 likes

Mike, are too many people pushing your buttons?

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
2 likes

On a more serious note.

Default red might mean that drivers are more likely to check before proceeding.

 

Wareham toddler crossing death lorry driver jailed:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-48066113

 

I hate those lazy f*ckers who park on the zig zag lines, usually to nip in for their take away curry or to get cash from the bank or other vital purpose. Also, why are lorries not fitted with blind spot cameras or at least parking sensor type ...sensors at the front and back to warn of things (people) that the driver cannot directly see?

Why has the court denied the death by dangerous driving charge? That car hardly appeared from nowhere, regardless of how illegaly parked. Surely the lorry driver should have had the wit to stop at a distance where he could see the crossing from his cab, let alone check the lights had not changed before proceeding.

But hey ho, 4 year old kid on balance bike so 6 months inside, trivial driving ban and back to business as usual.

Avatar
Capercaillie replied to Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
3 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

On a more serious note.

Why has the court denied the death by dangerous driving charge? That car hardly appeared from nowhere, regardless of how illegaly parked.

But hey ho, 4 year old kid on balance bike so 6 months inside, trivial driving ban and back to business as usual.

The guy didn't see the lights had turned red as he was swearing and gesticulating at the driver on the other side of the crossing, who he thought had stopped to let him through.
He had murdered his wife by strangling 15 years ago and was out of prison on licence, so he obviously has an anger management problem and really should never drive again.

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
6 likes

Another fun game is to press the button and wait for the traffic to stop. Take a step or two into the road, look at your watch suddenly and then turn around and go a different way.

 

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
2 likes

I'm not one for pressing the button when there is no need to and I can cross the road without the assistance of traffic lights. Why make someone else's day more inconvenient at even the most trivial level just because you can? Exception is when someone is waiting with a child, I'll not set a bad example by crossing when the ped lights are not green. Just call me St Mungecrundle.

Avatar
ktache | 5 years ago
7 likes

Mike, we understood completely where you were coming from the first time.

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mikewood replied to ktache | 5 years ago
1 like

ktache wrote:

Mike, we understood completely where you were coming from the first time.

Apparently not everyone!

 

Avatar
mikewood | 5 years ago
0 likes

I am remarking about the selfishness of affecting someone else when it wasn't necessary, not a sense of entitlement!

I would never do anything that would have an adverse effect to someone else without a necessity or benefit

Situation:

Pedestrian presses button and walks across as there was no traffic. Benefit to them of pressing the button = NONE

Lights change and traffic that has now appreared has to stop = Negative effect on them, more noise,emissions etc

Result = No positive, only negative

 

However, I'm more than happy to be stopped at a red light for someone that is prepared to consider the consequence of stopping the traffic and NEEDED to do that in order to cross safely. There would be a POSITIVE in that! 

 

Avatar
brooksby replied to mikewood | 5 years ago
1 like

mikepridmorewood wrote:

I am remarking about the selfishness of affecting someone else when it wasn't necessary, not a sense of entitlement!

I would never do anything that would have an adverse effect to someone else without a necessity or benefit

Situation:

Pedestrian presses button and walks across as there was no traffic. Benefit to them of pressing the button = NONE

Lights change and traffic that has now appreared has to stop = Negative effect on them, more noise,emissions etc

Result = No positive, only negative

However, I'm more than happy to be stopped at a red light for someone that is prepared to consider the consequence of stopping the traffic and NEEDED to do that in order to cross safely. There would be a POSITIVE in that! 

I don't know about you, but I can't see the future... 

If I press the button now because there is motor traffic on the road now, I have to wait several minutes before the lights change.

I don't know whether that traffic will all pass in the next few minutes, meaning that the road is clear so I needn't have pressed the button at all (because now I can just walk across).

If I do just walk across, I'm not going to feel guilty about it because for all I know, even though the button-pressing didn't help me, it might help other pedestrians who are a distance behind me and come up to the crossing after I've crossed.  After all,  now maybe they don't have to wait as long to be able to cross.

There would be a positive in that! yes

Avatar
Simon E replied to mikewood | 5 years ago
0 likes

mikepridmorewood wrote:

I am remarking about the selfishness of affecting someone else when it wasn't necessary, not a sense of entitlement!

So you're saying that they deliberately press the button knowing that they can cross anyway?

Humans are selfish, it's a precondition of survival. We have to be trained to behave otherwise.

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
8 likes

I'd like it if we had simple zebra crossings (just black and white paint - no need for the lights) at every road junction so that pedestrians have priority and motorists get used to properly giving way when turning into a road. Also, it would help with those shitty cycle paths that are interrupted by side roads.

Avatar
Simon E | 5 years ago
3 likes

mikepridmorewood wrote:

If you are able to crosss the road on your own when there's no traffic, don't press the button and just cross the road...

That's a nicely simplistic world you live in.

Most people press the button because there ARE vehicles approaching. Otherwise they'd just cross the road! If a gap subsequently appears - because the delay before the lights change is long, as it often is - then a lot of people are just going to cross if they feel it's safe enough. Some will wait.

Avatar
fukawitribe replied to Simon E | 5 years ago
0 likes

Simon E wrote:

mikepridmorewood wrote:

If you are able to crosss the road on your own when there's no traffic, don't press the button and just cross the road...

That's a nicely simplistic world you live in.

Most people press the button because there ARE vehicles approaching. Otherwise they'd just cross the road

That's just the point though, they often don't - although maybe most of the people I see pressing the button do it because there's traffic approaching, it seems like an increasing amount of people just walk up to the crossing and press the button without even looking. Sometimes it seems that's because their head is stuffed in their phone, but often I see folk amble up, looking at the other side of the road - no left or right glance - and just hit that ol'button regardless of how full or empty the road is. Sometimes you see people look at the road, see no traffic, hit the button and wait anyway - adults i'm talking, not folk with kids (which makes a degree of sense) - what the hell is that about ? Nerves, ignorance, lack of awareness ? Dunno, riles me though ....

 

Avatar
cycle.london | 5 years ago
0 likes

I know that junction well.  It's right across from Berners Street, from where the pic was taken, unless I'm mistaken.  I used to work in that street.  Bought my mobile from the Vodafone shop in the picture.  Got a camera tripod from the Jessops that's right next to it.  I used to come down there and turn left to go home.  Oxford Circus is to the right.   That junction is right next to a Nando's, a small Sainsbury's and of course is right on Oxford Street.  So it's really, really busy all the time.  Even when you have the green, the peds are crossing in front of you all the time.

One evening in the winter, I left work as usual and turned left on the green.  Pedestrian was crossing (the crossing is actually to the right of the junction), and I slowed to let her across.  But behind her (and concealed from me) was another person, towing a small girl of about maybe seven or eight years.  I slammed on the brakes, did a stoppie and when I came back down, my foot went on top of the little girl's lower leg and pushed her to the ground.  Genuinely thought I'd broken her leg.  She was OK, and they both just continued on their way without a word, and without acknowledging my earnest apologies (yes, I know, but I'm British, innit?)

I think pedestrians will still cross at places where it's dangerous to do so.

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
4 likes

If this works, then it should also help enforce speed limits. No point rushing up to a red light at 35 mph when it will only change to let you through without having to stop if you amble up at a nice leisurely 30 mph.

Avatar
srchar replied to Mungecrundle | 5 years ago
5 likes

Mungecrundle wrote:

If this works, then it should also help enforce speed limits. No point rushing up to a red light at 35 mph when it will only change to let you through without having to stop if you amble up at a nice leisurely 30 mph.

Nice idea - let's extend it by correlating the waiting time with the amount by which the speed limit was broken as the vehicle approached. For example, travel at 40mph in a 30 zone, breaking the limit by 10mph, and you'll wait ten times longer at the next red light. I can't actually think of a better way to enforce speed limits.

Avatar
KINGHORN | 5 years ago
4 likes

This is good, it will finally make motorists realise that they do not own the road!

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 5 years ago
7 likes

Playing devils advocate....
To reduce fuel consumption and therefore Co2 output, we need car traffic to be as smooth as possible. I suppose if this discourages driving, the outcome could be better. If it discourages cycling, that's bad.

Expand capacity to smooth traffic flows > more traffic > expland capacity > more traffic etc etc

The only effective way to reduce congestion and pollution is to restrict traffic and provide attractive alternatives.

Avatar
Trickytree1984 | 5 years ago
0 likes

Playing devils advocate....
To reduce fuel consumption and therefore Co2 output, we need car traffic to be as smooth as possible. I suppose if this discourages driving, the outcome could be better. If it discourages cycling, that's bad.

Avatar
Prosper0 | 5 years ago
12 likes

This is one of those innovations that will be so obvious in a few years we’ll wonder how it was any other way in lots of city centre locations. Default green for traffic is one of the many hidden ways where we’ve subconsciously forced people into driving. 

Bring it on, I can think of 10 places in my local area alone where this should be the default. 

Avatar
velo-nh replied to Prosper0 | 5 years ago
0 likes

Prosper0 wrote:

Default green for traffic is one of the many hidden ways where we’ve subconsciously forced people into driving. 

Really?

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