Traffic signals are often seen at junctions that have three arms (a T-junction), four arms (a cross roads) or even five or more arms. Traffic signals are used to control traffic on conflicting approaches and may in some cases also provide facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Traffic signal controlled pedestrian facilities included at junctions can be either ‘walk with traffic’ or ‘pedestrian all red’. Particularly at large junctions where there is sufficient space to construct islands the pedestrian crossings can be incorporated into the signal sequence so that pedestrians can cross without holding up traffic, this involves the pedestrian waiting on various islands until the carriageway in front of them is free from traffic and the green man signal is shown. Where it is not possible to construct islands then all the traffic must be stopped to allow pedestrians to cross. Where possible it is preferable to accommodate pedestrians as ‘walk with traffic’ as this leads to significantly less delay to the traffic flow.
Puffin (Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent Crossing)
At puffin crossings the red and green man aspects are housed on the pole as part of the push button unit instead of on the far side of the road. This gives the waiting pedestrians a good view of approaching traffic as they wait for the green man signal. In areas with high pedestrian flows repeater units higher up the pole show the red and green man indication to ensure that all waiting pedestrians can see the signal to cross.
Puffin crossings are designed to be user friendly and are safer than pelican crossings by:
- Varying the crossing time to allow for differing volumes and speeds of pedestrians
- Removing the flashing amber/flashing green man and therefore removing the ambiguity for both drivers and pedestrians
At a puffin crossing the green man is only shown for a short period of time but once you have stepped onto the crossing overhead detectors are able to monitor your progress across the crossing and keep the traffic signals at red up to a preset maximum time. This should allow slow moving pedestrians sufficient time to cross the road in safety. If a fast moving pedestrian crosses the road then less time would be required and the signals would return to vehicle green much quicker. In addition, detectors monitor the waiting pedestrians and if a pedestrian walks away without crossing, before the green man in shown, then the pedestrian demand is cancelled and the traffic signals stay at vehicle green. As a result, a puffin crossing is more efficient for both pedestrians and traffic.
Pelican (Pedestrian Light Controlled Crossing)
A Pelican crossing is a type of standalone pedestrian crossing where the red and green man aspects are on the far side of the road. Pelican crossings include the flashing amber/flashing green man but due to the ambiguity for both drivers and pedestrians they are not considered to be as safe as Puffin crossings and are generally being phased out and replaced with Puffin crossings.
Toucan (Two Can Cross)
At toucan crossings both pedestrians and cyclists can cross together. The display to pedestrians / cyclists has a red and green man plus a green bicycle and can be located either on the far side of the road (like a pelican) or on the near side of the road (like a puffin). As with a puffin crossing there is no flashing amber/flashing green man to traffic and on some of the newer installations the crossing time is determined by on-crossing detectors like at a puffin crossing.
Pegasus crossings are similar to puffin and toucan crossings but in addition to providing facilities for pedestrians and/or cyclists they also allow riders on horseback to cross. The crossing for horses is alongside the pedestrian/cyclist crossing and the display shows a red and green horse. The push button and display is located higher up the pole to allow the rider to press the button without having to dismount.
On wide roads the Pelican, Puffin or Toucan crossings may be staggered, and therefore the road must be crossed in two stages, incorporating a stop on a central island. Each side of the crossing is deemed to be a separate crossing.
Facilities for Deaf and Partially Sighted Pedestrians
On some crossings an audible (bleeping) signal will be provided when the green man is displayed. Audible signals are not provided on staggered crossings as there could be confusion as to which crossing it referred to and could encourage a pedestrian on the wrong crossing to step into the carriageway.
Tactile cones should be provided on all push buttons to your right when facing the carriageway. These cones are located on the bottom surface of the push button and have a ridged appearance. The tactile cones rotate when the green man is displayed and it is safe to cross.
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