please empty your brain below

Southwark is active indeed, and the countdown starts at 12. It made a few people clear the road in time yesterday, but I don't think it reduces the number of folks ignoring the lights altogether, much to the dismay of at least one cyclist, who drove right into a rush-hour car lane flashmob.

The flashing green man at pelican crossings is alive and well- in fact it is mandatory. The blackout has always been used (at least in recent decades) at crossings at junctions, which is where these countdown indicators are being trialled.
What has changed over the years is that pelican crossings themselves are reducing in number, with toucan and puffin crossings becoming more common. Toucans are shared with cyclists, and puffins have the nearside red/green man indicators, which you can't see from the road an therefore flip straight from red to green man. Toucans do have a blackout though as they are essentially designated as junctions for the purposes of the signal controller (computer) specification. Hope that helps a bit!

I like the countdown machines. The best sort are the ones that tell you how long before the next green man as well - as far as I can tell they seem to reduce people walking on the red because they know there's a green man coming and the button isnt busted after all.

Mind you - for the sort of people that stand there pressing the button like it's a morse key the green never comes soon enough.

I don't think I have ever seen anything that more clearly suggests that pedestrians are a problem to car drivers.

SELondoner's just beaten me to it - the flashing phase at Pelican crossings hasn't gone anywhere.

And the link you say claims that people don't understand the flashing green man doesn't - it says they don't understand the blackout period. Which is possibly because it's not explicitly mentioned in the Highway Code, just that you shouldn't start to cross once the (steady) green man has gone out.

I'm sure I pointed the same thing out to you last time you posted about pedestrian crossings.

Oh, and I can confirm that there's definitely no countdown yet (or any sign of one) at Oxford Circus, as I was there yesterday on one of the LFA walks.

(In other pedestrian crossing related news, Wood Green is getting a diagonal crossing.)

Come to Glasgow, we've had one of those for ages. One. In all of Scotland.

I'm guessing the locals didn't understand what it meant, wot wif it pure bein, like, they nummer fings, and they r, like, pure har te unnerstaon n tha'

What, thisone? :)

(You just reminded me of a Glasgow to Loch Lomond charity cycle ride I was on once. Heading through somewhere salubrious like Yoker, a local spotted the number pinned to someone's bike, and exclaimed "1054? There's hunners of them!"

Don't understand? Don't care, more like.

As to whether an extra 4 seconds will make a blind bit of difference to the 4x4 charging from one red light to the next, I very much doubt. The only way to solve London's traffic and transport problems is to recognise that the historic policy of private car domination of transport strategy is outmoded.

Having used these countdown timers in Dublin, they just make me stressed when crossing the road. "Only 30 seconds?! ARGH!"

But personally I look wholeheartedly for the countdowns to arrive for car drivers - especially those who think amber means "QUICK! SPEED UP!" and red means "GO FOR IT!!!!! MOW THAT PEDESTRIAN DOWN!"

There's a good reason why many pedestrians completely ignore whatever is on their lights - it's because central London's car drivers do their best to all the time.

Oh hang on... cars rule... that'll be why TfL rephased the lights near my house so it now takes me an extra minute to cross the road most days...

Oh good grief. Yet another sign of our increasingly nannying society. Can we not possibly use our brains and judge for ourselves when it's safe to cross the road, without the aid of a countdown?

In Hamburg, I've seen a countdown at pedestrian crossings during Red. The obvious intention here is to ask people to be reasonably patient, because it won't take forever but only 22, 21, ... seconds until Green.
To me, that makes a lot more sense.

I've rewritten bits of today's post to keep SELondoner and martin happy. Well, happier.

Bow Road recently got a new puffin.
I hate puffins.

They've had these in Ljubljana for years if not decades - although none of them seem to cut the risk of you getting run over by some idiot on a bicycle shooting a red light.

Oh god. Another good idea.

Perhaps they could have put it down to 3 secs and we can all run across the road. That way the obesity problem would be solved as well. If only the rotund are mowed down it will save money for the NHS because they cost a lot to "service" when the knees/hips go and insulin is needed.

Old people too, they can be mowed down-save on pensions.

Does TfL have a suggestion site?

Used the countdown lights in Toronto. Love them, they're a brilliant invention.

Toronto has been phasing them in for a decade or more and now they're at almost every intersection. From a pedestrian's point of view they're helpful, especially at the wider streets. Because they're on all four corners a quick turn of your head to read the countdown on the other crosswalk tells you how long you've got to wait for a walk sign. From a driver's perspective they're useful for telling you how stale the green is; glance at the parallel crosswalk countdown timer, and if it's approaching zero be prepared to stop.

They have reduced car/pedestrian collisions.

I can't remember how the traffic signals go in London. Here it's green-yellow-red-green rather than green-yellow-red-yellow-green.

And I must look up zebra/penguin/puffin crossings which mean nothing to me. Please tell me that there's something called an albatross crossing. Please.

I look forward to trying them out. I was asked to take part in a survey about this last year, it was then I learned the blackout was intentional - I had just thought all the crossings in London were broken.

We've had the counting ones (on green only) in Auckland for a few years now too. Some then just turn blank instead of red, and you're supposed to know to push the button on the pole to make it go red (and join the traffic light sequence, otherwise you'll be standing there forever)

The most badly-timed crossing I've seen is on Lower Regent Street, by the Tesco. After a long green for pedestrians, the signal goes black...10 seconds later, the red man comes on, then another wait when nothing is supposed to be moving, which just makes impatient pedestrians (like me) risk a quick run across the street...finally the traffic gets a green about 20 seconds later, which lasts all of about 10 seconds before traffic's halted again. If Boris wants to rephase some lights, he should start there!

Oliver, there aren't any albatross crossings (yet), but you may be interested to know that we now have pegasus crossings (designed for pedestrians and horseriders) and toucan crossings (for pedestrians and cyclists, i.e. 'two can' cross the road).

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