The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

News: Government considering lengthening red traffic lights to give elderly time to cross

The government is reviewing crossing times following concerns that current signals change too quickly for elderly pedestrians.


Pedestrian Lights, London, UK

WHY DID the red light stay on longer? To allow the old pedestrian to cross the road.

The government is reviewing crossing times following concerns that current signals change too quickly for elderly pedestrians.

Traffic lights at pelican crossings operated by pedestrians change colour on the basis that people walk at 1.2m per second. However, men over the age of 65 walk at 0.9m and women at 0.8m per second.

News that the government is considering lengthening crossing times came from Robert Goodwill, the Under Secretary of State for Transport, when, in answer to a parliamentary question, he said that he was looking at the situation urgently.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that ministry officials are 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.”

Last year Driving reported how many pelican crossings in London are automatically controlled, with the button having no control over when the traffic lights change to red.