London Living Streets investigation of pedestrians’ experience of using signalised crossings

We have all experienced the frustration of waiting for what often feels like a long time at a signalised crossing before the lights change and the Green man comes on and lets us across.  As noted above, this causes frustration, deters people from walking and can lead people to take risks by crossing against the motor traffic.  

A group of Living Streets members, led Dr Mike Grahn from the Wandsworth Living Streets group, got together in 2017 and campaigned for transport for London to look at the possibility of reducing wait times.  Following a productive meeting with Dr Will Norman, the mayor’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, we were delighted that Transport for London piloted the idea and then introduced a programme of wait time reviews and reduction targets into drafts of  its Walking Action Plan which was published in March 2018.  

TfLs pilot showed that, in some cases, wait times could easily be reduced from over 1 minute to 30 seconds or less.  However, it was not clear whether such changes would make any real difference to the experience of people using the crossings.   London Living Streets therefore worked together with TfL network managers to carry out research with 36 volunteers interviewing almost 4000 users at a sample of 12 crossings before and after the wait time was reduced. 

The results showed that users’ experience of a crossing was significantly increased when wait times were reduced to 30 seconds or less even though the majority of users did not notice that any change had been made.   See this report for more on the study and it’s findings.  

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