London pedestrians to get traffic light priority over vehicles

London pedestrians to get traffic light priority over vehicles
A total of 18 pedestrian crossings across London will show a ‘green person’ by default to help make it “the world’s most walkable city”, Transport for London has announced.

‘Green Person Authority’ traffic lights will display a continuous red light to drivers unless they detect approaching traffic, at which point vehicles will be let through temporarily.

It’s part of the capital’s latest move to make its transport network more sustainable, supporting “a green recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic. It follows newly re-elected Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pledge to be the “greenest Mayor London’s ever had” when he confirmed the city’s expansion of Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) earlier this month.

The new technology is already installed at seven locations in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hounslow, Richmond and Hillington and will be delivered at 11 more by the end of June.

The number of journeys made on foot has shot up throughout the pandemic. Almost a third (31%) of Londoners say they are walking to places where they used to travel by a different mode, TfL data shows. At one point last year, the proportion of journeys being made on foot increased from 35% to almost 50%.

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “Walking has so many benefits – it doesn’t just enable us to get from A to B, but also improves our mental and physical health.

“We know that safety is a key concern for people walking around London, and giving pedestrians priority is a powerful way of putting them first and making it easier to cross London’s roads.

“By combining this with creating extra pavement space and ensuring roadworks are carried out in a way that doesn’t disrupt Londoners, we will make our city the world’s most walkable and eradicate collisions on the streets.”

Living Streets chief executive Mary Creagh added: “Putting pedestrians first at crossings will make streets safer for everyone.”

The locations for the new signals were determined by factors including high pedestrian flow, proximity to pedestrian destinations like shopping centres, stations and schools, and the sustainability of existing technology.

TfL says it will continue to identify new locations where Green Person Authority crossings can be introduced, with the aim of increasing their number over the coming years.

Let us know what you think about these new plans in the comments below.

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