Monday, March 10, 2008

Puffin, Toucan, Pelican

traffic lights Do you know if anyone has ever investigated the correct functioning of the many pedestrian traffic signals in Redbridge?

Reason I ask is that I suspect that many / indeed most of the type known as Puffin and Toucan are in fact either malfunctioning - or incorrectly set-up!

These signals are supposed to detect when pedestrian(s) are crossing the road, and if there is a large group or the person is walking slowly then the computer system will give them extra time to cross the road by delaying the change back to green for the road traffic. For elderly and otherwise infirm / disabled pedestrians this is seen to be a much more equitable mode of operation than the situation with Pelican crossings, which after a pre-set number of seconds will change to flashing amber irrespective of how quickly (or otherwise) the pedestrians are walking across the road.

An example of this can be found with the Puffin crossings on the Eastern Avenue next to the junction with The Drive. Alas, it seems that such correctly configured crossings are probably in the minority.

Instead most pedestrian controlled signals just hold the traffic for a default 10 seconds, irrespective of whether any pedestrians are crossing the road, have crossed the road or whatever. This needlessly adds to traffic congestion, air pollution, etc. It also aggravates vehicle drivers, this being something that ultimately can be seen as a contributory factor in 'road rage'.

To better explain this problem I have filmed the pedestrian signals at the junction of Eastern Avenue and Evanston Gardens and placed this on the youtube website.

Note that the three sequences shown were filmed with slightly different camera settings, which explains why the images are darker / lighter than each other (the 'default' setting was too dark, so I tried different settings, but could not properly see the results until I had returned home and watched the video on my computer).

I have spoken with people on a web based roads forum which includes people whose employment sees them installing pedestrian signals and have been assured that these signals are not working as the government intended!

I have reported them to Transport For London, who apparently control the Eastern Avenue, but alas without any action seeming to have taken place.


1 comment:

  1. Try reporting this to the Redbridge Cabinet Member for Highways, Cllr Peter Goody, and the London Assembly Member Roger Evans.

    Good work.