Green light for better pedestrian crossing

pedestrian crossing

Why is it you wait ages for the green man at a pedestrian crossing only to be given hardly any time to cross before the light change?

Things could be about to improve, but before you get too hopeful, crossing times look set to increase by one second on the typical road.

Guidance for traffic engineers used to assume an average walking speed of 1.2 metres per second (a figure first calculated 70 years) ago until councils were told they could reduce the figure to one metre per second if they felt the need – and looks set to become standard recommendation for councils in England.

However, when University College London conducted research into walking speeds, they found the average walking speed for men was 0.9 metres per second, and 0.8 metres per second for women. In other words, the revised guidance for the green man phase on pedestrian crossings is comes up short.

We shouldn’t have to beg for pedestrian crossings

Prendergast Ladywell School in Lewisham, London, was first promised a pedestrian crossing in 2012. They’re still waiting. And that’s despite three children having been hit by cars on the road outside their school gates.

Over the years, frustrated parents have been been told by council officials that a safe crossing would reduce parking provision and increase danger as ‘more people get run over on zebra crossings’!

For our part, we were happy to help the school’s campaign for a safe crossing by installing our pop-up zebra.

inflatable zebra crossing


Children are particularly at risk when travelling to and from school. Around 80 per cent of all road harm to children occurs on a school day between the hours of 7.30am and 9am or 3pm and 5pm.

What’s a pop-up zebra crossing?

When we were approached 10 years ago by a school whose request for a zebra crossing at a road traffic collision black spot outside their gates had been turned down on grounds of cost, we went about building one ourselves as cheaply as possible.

The result was a pop-up zebra crossing that could be erected in less than two minutes. And with no need to consider drainage, the excavation of existing pavement, disposal of material, new kerbs and paving, anti-skid surfacing, road markings, traffic signs, electrical connections and pillars, the total cost came to £50 – considerably less than the £114,000 quoted by the Highways Agency.

Faced with coverage of the campaign in the Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and Metro newspapers and on numerous radio stations, the local authority quickly installed the much-needed real zebra crossing.

If you are facing a similar challenge trying to get a zebra crossing, please get in touch.

pop-up zebra crossing

The pop-up zebra crossing has been designed to be installed on any road in less than a minute. The idea may be tongue-in-cheek, but the issue is deadly serious; with over 2,000 children killed or seriously injured each year on our roads, parents should never have to battle to have a genuine crossing installed.

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  1. Anthony


    There’s a crossing I know of, people press the button during busy times and quiet. They’re not blind or disabled, just press the button out of habit and, usually, wait for the green man. During quiet times a quick look and maybe a small wait could save them stopping the occasional vehicle, causing unnecessary fuel use and pollution, cost to the motorist, wear to the road. On the selfish side, they risk a lungful of brake and tyre dust, followed by exhaust fumes

  2. Mark


    Crossing times are often too short, but what I’ve wondered for a long time is why pedestrians ALWAYS have to wait for a Green light, whereas cars only have to wait off someone has pressed the button and waited.
    Surely it would make zero difference to traffic flow off the countdown happened after the gem light instead of before as it currently does?
    This way, when the button is pushed, it would change to green after just a few seconds, then start the countdown. If someone were to press it again immediately, it would only change again after the countdown finished.
    No extra red time for traffic, dramatically reduced wait times for active travel

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