Pedestrian Crossing Facilities

This measure was fully updated by RUPPRECHT CONSULT in 2014 under the CH4LLENGE project, financed by the European Commission.


Walking is a fundamental component of all trips, whether as a means for accessing public transport, cycle parking or car parking. Improvements to facilities for pedestrians are therefore likely to be popular amongst all user groups. Where new pedestrian crossings are implemented as a part of a neighbourhood or city-wide package of improvements, they can also help to encourage greater levels of walking as an environmentally friendly, healthy, cheap and flexible independent transport mode.

The primary objective of providing pedestrian crossings is to improve safety, although in some cases significant improvements to the streetscape and public realm can also be achieved, further contributing to making walking an attractive transport mode. A variety of pedestrian crossing types are available for consideration by transport and urban planners, ranging from marked (Zebra) and signalised pedestrian crossings, through to more significant infrastructure investments including footbridges, underpasses and the creation of “Shared Space” junctions and streets.  Provision of pedestrian crossings can be further complemented through the introduction of vehicle speed management. In each case, the needs of vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly and disabled persons, should be carefully considered.

Case studies from Oxford Circus in London and Hennef in Germany demonstrate that the improvement of pedestrian crossings in city centre and high profile locations can help to both improve safety and transform the streetscape, contributing to the economic development of an area. A case study of Luxembourg is also included to provide an example of where a city- wide audit of crossing facilities has been undertaken, using a methodology developed by EuroTest that other public authorities may find useful when assessing the existing condition of their own pedestrian crossing infrastructure.

Introduction

Walking is a fundamental component of all trips, whether as a means for accessing public transport, cycle or car parking, or as an independent means of mobility. Creating streets and public spaces that are conducive to walking can help contribute to individual health and community wellbeing, as well as minimising the environmental impacts of transport.

Being able to cross the street safely, directly, without unnecessary delays and where it best suits people, is an important aspect of creating walking friendly environments (Living Streets 2011).

Terminology and description

pedstrian crossingWhen designing new streets or improvements to existing, a range of basic pedestrian crossing types can be considered (IDGO, not dated; DfT, 2011):

  • Marked pedestrian crossings (UK – Zebra crossings) – Zebra crossings do not force traffic to stop by means of a red light but, in the UK, they do give pedestrians permanent right of way. When used in the right context (low traffic flows, speed) they involve the minimum delay for both pedestrians and motorists.
  • Signalised pedestrian crossings (UK – Pelican crossings1) – These provide the means for pedestrians to stop the traffic by way of a push button, or the pedestrians are given right of way during certain phases at a highway junction with traffic lights. Red and green men symbols are typically utilised to show when it is safe to cross.
  • ‘Smart’ signalised pedestrian crossings (UK – Puffin crossings) – Introduced in the UK in 2006, these are ‘smarter’ than signalised crossings with a push button, as pedestrian activity is monitored by infra-red detectors to allow users additional time to cross and to avoid delaying traffic when pedestrians are no longer present.
  • Shared signalised crossings for pedestrians and cyclists (UK – Toucan crossings) – These crossings are sufficiently wide to cater for cyclists alongside pedestrians and typically have a green bike symbol in addition to the green man. Providing highway crossing infrastructure that simultaneously encourages cycle use is recommended (see Cycle Networks).
  • School crossing patrols – School crossing patrols are adults or older children who carry stop signs that are used to stop traffic at crossing facilities, allowing smaller children to cross the road safely.
  • ‘Shared space’ junctions and streets – Shared space is an urban design approach which seeks to minimise demarcations between vehicular traffic and pedestrians, often by removing features such as curbs, grade separation, road surface markings, traffic signs/signals and regulations. The underlying intention is to provide an improved environment and priority for pedestrians and greater walking route choice. At the same time a greater sense of uncertainty is created for drivers and cyclists, so that all users adjust their behaviour accordingly, such as by reducing speed. This approach has been opposed in some cases by organisations representing the interests of blind, partially sighted or deaf people.2
  • Footbridges – In some circumstances, such as high speed, high flow roads with several carriageways, the provision of a footbridge or combined cycle and footbridge may be appropriate. These are less convenient for pedestrians, require greater physical effort and are costly, so their use should be avoided where possible. In addition, providing access for the mobility impaired, such as wheelchair issues, may require the installation of a lift resulting in further expense.
  • Underpasses – A further option is to provide an underpass for roads with high vehicle flows and/or speeds. Issues of convenience for users, security and access for the mobility impaired need to be carefully considered. For example, the use of subways by the elderly can be daunting given concerns about personal security and the additional effortrequired to descend/ascend ramps or steps.

For each type of pedestrian crossing, further associated features may be included to protect and increase the visibility of the crossing and its users, such as:

  • Raised crossings – the road level may be lifted to help reduce vehicle speeds and indicate a change in highway user priorities.
  • Pedestrian guard rails – these are utilised to protect pedestrians, but in some cases may be considered to clutter the streetscape and limit pedestrian route options.
  • Pedestrian refuges (traffic islands on pedestrian crossings) – a refuge is a “rest stop” for pedestrians and is more commonly deployed on high flow or wider roads. These provide the benefit that pedestrians need only consider traffic from one direction at a time. In some cases these are extended along the median so that crossings are not in line, and pedestrians are discouraged from crossing both carriageways in one movement.
  • Tactile paving – paving with small ridges that can be felt underfoot can be installed to help partially sighted and blind people to locate the road crossing point (see also Barrier Free Mobility).
  • Audible and tactile signals – signalised crossings should incorporate audible signals so that partially sighted and blind people are clear when it is safe to cross. These can be supplemented with tactile vibration or movement signals, such as the small rotating cones fitted to the underside of pelican crossing push button units in the UK (see also Barrier Free Mobility).

Selecting the most appropriate type of pedestrian crossing will only form part of the decision-making process for public authorities. Further related considerations include traffic speed restrictions, the location of crossings and limiting delays for pedestrians (Living Streets, 2011):

  • Using vehicle speed management more – low vehicle speeds (such as 30km/h) create conditions in which pedestrians can cross safely when and and where it suits them.
  • Make pedestrian convenience and efficiency a design objective – seek to ensure that pedestrians can cross junctions directly, without significant diversions, on the pedestrian ‘desire line’.  Highway junctions with reduced corner radii help to reduce both vehicle speed at the crossing and the width or distance of the pedestrian crossing.
  • Eliminating unnecessary delays to pedestrians - eliminate signal controls that create frustration by causing unreasonable delays, leading pedestrians to make hasty judgements and take unnecessary risks, endangering themselves and others, and having the effect of discouraging walking.
  • Pedestrian capacity - ensure sufficient space is made available for pedestrians to wait and cross safely in uncrowded conditions.

1 The UK Department for Transport has announced that it expects Pelican crossings to be phased out in the UK by 2030 and replaced by Puffin crossings.

2 The Shared Space concept is also relevant to the creation of Cycle Streets as part of a Cycle Network.

Why introduce pedestrian crossing facilities?

The benefits of walking - Walking is a fundamental component of all trips, whether as a means for accessing public transport, cycle parking or car parking. Improvements to facilities for pedestrians are therefore likely to be popular amongst all user groups. Where new pedestrian crossings are implemented as a part of a neighbourhood ot city-wide package of improvements, they can also help to encourage greater levels of walking as an environmentally friendly, healthy, cheap and flexible transport mode.

A London Assembly report “Walk this way” sets out an objective that the number of journeys made by foot in the city should increase from 5.7million daily to 6.7million by 2031 (London Assembly, 2010). The following benefits of walking are identified within the TfL report:

  • A Sustainable City: London has some of the worst air quality in Europe. Walking is a carbon-free mode of transport and encouraging it would be particularly useful in areas of London where air quality is poorest.
  • Reducing congestion: Encouraging walking can reduce trips on congested road networks and public transport systems.
  • Improving public health: The UK Department of Health recommends that adults engage in 30 minutes of physical activity a day to help prevent heart attacks, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. This objective can be achieved by walking up to 2km per day.
  • Improving social cohesion: Improvements to the street environment and crossings can help people feel safer and more secure in their neighbourhoods. In addition, involving people in how their environment is improved also has the potential to help build a better sense of community.
  • A more liveable city: investing in improvements to the public realm for walking make the city a more attractive and welcoming place, as well as improving accessibility for people and reduced mobility.

“Walk this way” also advises that evidence demonstrating the wider economic case for prioritising improvements in walking infrastructure is growing, particularly with regard to town centres. The chart below shows that people arriving on foot tend to spend more time and money in town centres, contributing to the growth of the local economy.

Fig 01

Walking as a transport mode across Europe – On average, “Walking” was identified by 13% of EU citizens as their main mode of transport in a 2010 survey, although there are large variations between countries. Women more frequently said they usually walked – 16% compared to 9% of men. Survey results also indicate that the modal split of walking is particularly high in some eastern European countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania) and lowest in countries with a high modal share of cycling (e.g. Denmark and the Netherlands).

Eurobarometer Survey – Main mode of transport used for daily activities

Fig 02
Source: Flash Eurobarometer 312 (2011)

Pedestrian safety

As part of any strategy to promote walking as a transport mode, the provision of safe and attractive pedestrian crossings will be a key component. The primary objective of pedestrian crossing facilities is to make it less dangerous to walk and to reduce pedestrian traffic accidents. Pedestrian risk of being killed or injured per kilometre in traffic is about 4-6 times as high as that of car drivers (Elvik & Vaa 1997). The latter figure is corrected for incomplete reporting in official accident statistics. In accidents where pedestrians are struck by vehicles, it is most often the pedestrian who is injured, not the vehicle occupant. A study undertaken in Norway (Sakshaug 1997) showed that little more than 50% of drivers give way to pedestrians on pedestrian crossings. By reserving parts of the road or street area for pedestrian traffic and giving pedestrians priority when crossing the road, their mobility will be improved as well. The efficiency of such measures is however depending on the attitudes prevailing among car drivers and pedestrians.

Demand impacts

The provision of new pedestrian crossing facilities alone will not result in large modal shifts towards walking. Nevertheless, when implemented together with other measures intended to improve pedestrian mobility, the improvement of a pedestrian crossing may encourage walking on shorter trips in the neighbourhood. Public authorities are likely to invest in improvements to crossing facilities in those locations where there is greatest potential to improve pedestrian safety and the quality of the public realm.

As a standalone measure, it is expected that provision of new pedestrian crossings or improvements to existing will result in the following main impacts:

  • a small increase in levels of walking in the neighbourhood, particularly if the road was previously very difficult to cross;
  • improved pedestrian safety; and therefore
  • potential for increased walking trips by more vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.

The implementation of a more comprehensive package of measures to promote walking will contribute to transport policy objectives seeking to reduce motorized transport.

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
Walking is only likely to replace relatively short trips, so departure times are not likely to change significantly.
The provision of a new pedestrian crossing on a road that was particularly dangerous to cross may influence route choices, but pedestrians will not typically vary their route significantly to utilise a pedestrian crossing.
Improvements to walking infrastructure may result in greater use of local facilities.
There may be a small reduction in shorter car trips.
Pedestrian crossings may result in a low level increase in walking activity, but a more comprehensive package of measures would be required to influence significant modal shifts.
As walking does not substitute longer car journeys selling the car is unlikely.
The provision of pedestrian crossings will not induce relocation.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Short and long run demand responses

The responses, both from motorists and pedestrians, will probably take place rapidly following implementation of the new pedestrian crossing. If the crossing forms part of a more comprehensive package of measures then greater impacts could occur over the longer timeframes.

Assuming in this instance only one pedestrian crossing is implemented, the impact on kilometres travelled by car will be minor.

Demand responses
Response -

1st year

2-4 years

5 years

10+ years

-
  -
  Use of local facilities
  Use of local facilities
  Walking
  -
  -
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Supply impacts

Pedestrian crossings do not normally reduce the number of  highway lanes available, but may reduce traffic speeds which could in some cases reduce the overall capacity of the road. Measures such as introducing refuges (pedestrian islands) and reducing the corner radii at junctions can all serve as traffic calming measures that influence the speed of vehicles.

Where ‘Shared Space’ solutions are implemented this more fundamentally alters the relationship between motorised vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. In these cases the speed of vehicles is significantly reduced and therefore the capacity of the road is impacted.

Financing requirements

The costs of pedestrian crossings will vary depending on a range of factors including:

  • the country and region;
  • the width and type of road to be crossed;
  • whether a signalised crossing is required;
  • the extent of road markings and public realm improvements undertaken in association with the pedestrian crossing.

Cost information compiled by Wiltshire Council in the UK indicates the cost level that may be expected for a number of different crossing types:

Illustration

Description

Approximate cost range3

http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-speed-control-table-3.jpg

Speed control table with crossing point and associated works such as coloured surfacing, street lighting, signing and lining.

Costs from £10,000 (€12,600) depending on length and carriageway width.

http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-zebra-crossing.jpg

Marked (Zebra) crossing, including high friction servicing.

Typically costs between £20,000 - £25,000 (€25,200 - €31,500)

http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-divided-zebra.jpg

Marked (Zebra) crossing with central refuge, including high friction servicing.

Typically costs between £25,000 - £30,000 (€31,500 - €37,800)

http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/cost-pelican-crossing.jpg

Signalised (Pelican / Puffin) crossing, including high friction servicing.

Typically costs between £35,000 - £45,000 (€44,000 - €56,600)
A signalised crossing that also provides for bikes (Toucan crossing) typically costs £40,000 - £50,000 (€50,400 - €62,900)

Source: Wiltshire Council (2011)
3 Costs converted from Pounds to Euros during August 2014, based on 1 Pound equals 1.26 Euros.

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Provision of pedestrian crossings will achieve positive benefits in relation to the creation of liveable streets, equity and social inclusion and safety.

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  The provision of a pedestrian crossing is likely to result in only a small modal shift to walking. There is also only likely to be a small / negligible impact on the efficiency of the road network.
  Pedestrian crossings can have a traffic calming effect, reducing overall traffic speeds, as well as connecting communities by providing a safe way to cross dangerous roads.
  By causing motorised vehicles to stop and start, pedestrian crossings can result in increased air and noise pollution. It is not clear whether this impact may be offset be the number of people that are encouraged to walk rather than use a car.
  Pedestrian crossings are helpful for all, but particularly valuable for more vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
  A principal reason for introducing pedestrian crossings is to improve safety.
  The provision of pedestrian crossings on dangerous roads may encourage greater use of local facilities.
  Public funding is typically necessary to implement pedestrian crossings, although the costs are relatively low compared to other measures.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

The key problems listed are often the result of excessive car use. Pedestrian crossings can help to provide an alternative to frequent car use, particularly if implemented as part of a package of measures to promote walking.

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

The provision of pedestrian crossings is not expected to significantly impact upon congestion.
Community impacts Pedestrian crossings can have a number of benefits for local communities including, increased social interaction with more people encouraged to walk, traffic calming, and reduced community severance by busy / dangerous roads.
Environmental damage Pedestrian crossings can cause increased stopping and starting by vehicles which is inefficient, but this may be offset by increased numbers of people being encouraged to walk.
Poor accessibility For people without cars, improvements to pedestrian facilities will assist them in accessing local services and public transport.
Social and geographical disadvantage Provision of pedestrian crossings will benefit all social groups, but only those within a relatively limited geographic area close to the new cycle infrastructure. Vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and disable will benefit in particular from implementation of crossings.
Accidents A well-designed facility can help to increase safety.
Economic growth People may be encouraged to use local facilities that were previously considered dangerous to access due to a busy road.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

The provision of pedestrian crossings does not force anybody to change their travel habits, thus there is more potential for winners than losers. As all trips typically involve some walking, provision is of benefit for all social and transport user groups.

Winners and losers

Group

Winners / losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

Any minor delay that could be caused by a new crossing facility is unlikely to be significant in the context of an overall journey.

Small businesses

For businesses located next to a dangerous road, the improved accessibility will be beneficial.

High income car-users

This user group will utilise pedestrian crossings at the beginning or end of trips and any delays caused are unlikely to be significant in the context of an overall journey.
Low income car-users with poor access to public transport This user group will utilise pedestrian crossings at the beginning or end of trips and any delays caused are unlikely to be significant in the context of an overall journey. Provision of a pedestrian crossing is unlikely to significantly alter the accessibility of public transport.
All existing public transport users If pedestrian crossings are located to provide safer, more convenient access to public transport stations and stops, there will be a benefit.
People living adjacent to the area targeted People living closest to the pedestrian crossing will have the greatest benefits as the people most likely to be walking in the area.
Cyclists including children Pedestrian crossings can have a traffic calming effect that is also beneficial for cyclists. Cycle infrastructure improvements can also be introduced alongside pedestrian crossings, such as Toucan crossings.
People at higher risk of health problems exacerbated by poor air quality Air quality may slightly worse if large numbers of motorised vehicles are forced to stop and then reaccelerate at pedestrian crossings.
People making high value, important journeys This user group will utilise pedestrian crossings at the beginning or end of trips and any delays caused are unlikely to be significant in the context of an overall journey.
The average car user This user group will utilise pedestrian crossings at the beginning or end of trips and any delays caused are unlikely to be significant in the context of an overall journey.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

There are differences between countries in terms of highway codes, criteria for installation and in legal requirements for pedestrian facilities. These may influence the scale of the barriers in different contexts.

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal There are no obvious legal barriers to the implementation of pedestrian crossing facilities.
Finance This measure is relatively low cost to implement.
Governance It is not expected that very complex arrangements would be necessary to implement a Segregated Cycle Facility. Community consultation regarding location and design is recommended.
Political acceptability Measures relating to pedestrians may have a lower political priority than other forms of transport.
Public and stakeholder acceptability Pedestrian crossings benefit the full range of stakeholders, although there is potential for motorist groups to object if significant delays could arise.
Technical feasibility Although pedestrian crossings can involve ‘smart’ technologies (e.g. Puffin crossings with sensors), they are still relatively simple to implement compared with other measures.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

Case Study 1: Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing, London, UK

London’s Oxford Circus provides an example of a crossing enhancement scheme that simultaneously improved safety and convenience for pedestrians, improved the public realm, and boosted business in the city’s premier shopping district.

Oxford Circus has the highest density of use in the UK, with around 43,000 pedestrians per hour, over 2,000 buses per hour and a London Underground station serving around 230,000 people per day (Landscape Institute, not dated). The highway intersection is a relatively confined area and the combination of very high numbers of people, railings, narrow pavements, traffic and traditional signalised pedestrian crossings made it an unpleasant environment for pedestrians.

Modelled on the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, a new scheme that introduces diagonal crossing points was implemented in 2009. The design involved removing metal railings and other unnecessary street furniture, with the result that pavement space was increased by 312m2, an improvement of around 70%.

Traffic light signals for pedestrians and traffic at Oxford Circus are based on the ‘Scramble Crossing’ concept. Scramble crossings for pedestrians involve stopping all traffic movements at signalised junctions and allowing pedestrians to cross in every direction at the same time. This design has the following advantages in locations with high vehicle and pedestrian concentrations (Atkins, not dated):

  • Promotion of pedestrian priority and the relief of pedestrian congestion on more traditional orthogonal crossings and footways particularly where pedestrian volumes are very high.
  • Reduction of walk distances and times particularly where pedestrians would otherwise use two orthogonal crossings to reach their intended destination and can now complete their journey through the junction by making a single diagonal crossing movement.
  • Potential improvements in safety by reducing conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. Bechtel et al (2003) demonstrated in their analysis of the Oakland, USA scramble crossing that safety benefits were realised by the introduction of a scrambled crossing.

In addition to creating additional waiting and circulation space for pedestrians, it now takes approximately only half the time to cross the junction in comparison to the old configuration.

The junction improvement works were costly at around £5m to implement, but in this high profile location the intervention has been reported to have helped boost annual sale figures, which initially increased by some 7% (e-architect, 2010).

Impacts on demand

Oxford Circus was already a very busy pedestrian area prior to crossing enhancements being undertaken. No information has been found on whether pedestrian activity has increased as a result of the changes, but there is confidence amongst the business community that the changes will help to retain customers. The Chief Executive of the New West End Company was reported as saying: “It is just this sort of investment in world renowned design and public spaces that will help keep our global ranking as the world’s top shopping destination” (e-architect, 2010).

Impacts on supply

The scheme did not result in a major decrease in road capacity and by paying careful attention to signal phasing design it was possible to provide a net gain of 2 seconds per cycle for vehicular movements (Atkins, not dated). Independently of the pedestrian crossing scheme, the number of buses travelling through Oxford Circus and along Oxford Street is being reduced to help achieve other objectives such as improved air quality.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objectives Scale of contribution Comment
  Careful scheme design means that time for vehicular movements has been maintained, while at the same time significant improvements are achieved for pedestrians.
  Significant improvements in the environment for pedestrians have been realised, including provision of more space for circulation and waiting, and enhancement of the public realm / landscape.
  Air quality remains a significant challenge in the Oxford Street area, but the works to the Oxford Circus junctions are not considered to have resulted in and worsening of pollution levels.
  By reducing pedestrian congestion the junction enhancements are of benefit for all social groups and will have significantly improved conditions for wheelchair users or parents pushing prams etc.
  It is estimated that 64% of pedestrians crossed during the ‘red man’ phase prior to implementation of the scheme, resulting in a dangerous situation. Pedestrian congestion also caused pedestrians to venture into the street and walk on the wrong side of the guardrails prior to the enhancement works.
  The scheme is thought to have contributed to the 7% increase in sales in shops in the area.
  The scheme was more expensive than typical operations, but achieved a positive cost-benefit ratio.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Case Study 2: Luxembourg’s high ranking pedestrian crossings

During 2010 EuroTest completed a European Pedestrian Crossings Assessment Programme involving a study of crossings in 18 medium-sized cities. Within this test Luxembourg proved itself to be the best city, having the highest number of positively rated crossings (13 out of 15 rated positively), followed by Innsbruck, Austria in second place and Turin, Italy in third place (EcoTest, 2010b)

Within each city 15 crossings were assessed, with a sample of sites in city centre, semi-peripheral and peripheral areas inspected. 27 safety factors were considered, clustered within four safety categories, based on the results of a literature review (EcoTest, 2010a):

  • Crossing system – e.g. distance, conflict points, refuge provision, pedestrian green phase duration, maintenance of crossing markings.
  • Daylight visibility – approach sight distance, visibility of signs, specific traffic direction markings.
  • Nighttime visibility – approach sight distance at night, lighting conditions, visibility of signs and road markings at night.
  • Accessibility – presence of dropped or ground level kerbs, adequate tactile paving, presence of obstacles, presence of acoustic/vibrating for blind/partially sighted people and or visual pictograms for deaf people.

Impacts on demand

Unfortunately the study did not include a comparison of the quality of pedestrian crossings with information on the modal share of walking or accident rates. There are a number of other external factors, such as quality of the public transport network, that would influence the result of this exercise and therefore a direct correlation may not be present. It is reasonable to conclude that higher quality pedestrian crossings at a city level will help encourage more people to walk and reduce accident rates.

Impacts on supply

The study provides insufficient information to conclude on whether supply is effected in those cities with the best ranking pedestrian crossings.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objectives Scale of contribution Comment
  There is insufficient information available to conclude whether high quality pedestrian crossings increase levels of walking sufficiently to reduce traffic congestion and improve efficiency.
  High quality pedestrian crossings are considered to contribute to liveable streets through increased perceptions of street safety.
  Pedestrian crossings may force vehicles to stop more regularly, with acceleration resulting in increased air and noise pollution.
  It is anticipated that the consistently high standards of crossings at a city level will encourage vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and disabled to utilise infrastructure for walking.
  The safety of pedestrians is expected to be improved through the provision of well-designed, visible pedestrian crossing facilities.
  It is assumed that walking within local neighbourhoods will be encouraged by the good infrastructure, with benefits for local shops and services.
  Although Luxembourg has clearly invested in the provision and maintenance of pedestrian facilities, the level of finance required is relatively little compared to other measures.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Case study 3: Pedestrian and cyclist priority in Frankfurter Straße, Hennef, Germany

Rather than providing defined pedestrian crossing points, some public authorities have taken the step of giving pedestrians and cyclists much greater priority and flexibility in where they cross a highway. One example of where the ‘shared space’ concept has been implemented is the Frankfurter Straße, the main street running through the centre of Hennef, Germany.

In 1989 the street was remodelled to give priority back to pedestrians and cyclists. Steps undertaken included:

  • narrowing the carriageway from four down to two lanes to provide a wider footway;
  • provision of a paved strip of granite cobbles along the centre of the road to help crossing pedestrians; and
  • installation of lighting columns within substantial bollards to prevent vehicle intrusion.

The combination of these measures has encouraged drivers to slow down without the need for speed humps or other physical obstructions (TRL, 2006).

Implementation of the scheme cost around €6.6million (SDR, 2012).4

Impacts on demand

This project was undertaken to redefine the street for residents and shoppers and took advantage of the opportunity offered by the completion of a bypass that meant the Frankfurter Straße was no longer needed as a main general traffic route. The street is now a much busier pedestrian environment with more active building fronts, including cafes and seating areas.

Impacts on supply

Implementation of this scheme reduced the available space for motorised traffic and is also considered to have had the effect of reducing speeds. This has not been reported as problematic since, in this case, the number of vehicles driving through the centre of Hennef has been reduced, while traffic levels on the new ring road increased.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objectives Scale of contribution Comment
  Reductions in road capacity on the Frankfurter Straße have been matched by increases in ring road capacity, so no significant impacts on efficiency have been reported.
  In this case the adoption of the more radical ‘shared space’ approach has altered the street environment substantially, improving the function of the public realm as a place for leisure and social interaction.
  It is not expected that this scheme has reduced traffic significantly; rather motorised vehicles have been diverted to the ring road. A neutral effect is therefore anticipated with respect to air and noise pollution levels.
  The implementation of shared space schemes is of benefit to all social groups, giving greater priority to pedestrian movements. Concerns have been raised regarding whether shared space schemes are more dangerous for blind/partially sighted and deaf people.
  The safety of pedestrians is expected to be improved through the reduction of traffic speeds, although unfortunately no collision statistics to support this claim are available. Concerns have been raised regarding whether shared space schemes are more dangerous for blind/partially sighted and deaf people.
  It is reported that the implementation of the shared space scheme has reinvigorated the high street in Hennef, with local economic benefits.
  At a cost of around €6.6million, the measure was expensive to implement, but it is anticipated that the economic benefits outweigh the initial costs.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution
4 Cost converted from Pounds to Euros during August 2014, based on 1 Pound equals 1.26 Euros.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective

Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing, London

Luxembourg’s high ranking crossings

Shared space in Hennef, Germany

Comment
  It is expected that the small modal shift to walking resulting from pedestrian crossing implementation may be balanced by delays to motorised vehicles.
  The examples of Oxford Circus and Frankfurter Straße, Hennef demonstrate that improved pedestrian crossings can have a transformative effect on streets in city centre locations.
  In cases where pedestrian crossings cause motorised vehicles to stop and accelerate, there may be a minor environmental disbenefit. It is not clear from the evidence whether this would be outweighed by modal shift to walking.
  It is expected that pedestrian improvements will benefit all social groups, and particularly groups of people that do not typically have access to or use cars.
  A key aim for introducing pedestrian crossings is to improve safety. In the case of Oxford Circus the diagonal crossing made significant improvements in a very busy location. Shared Space schemes such as that in Hennef raise concerns regarding the safety of blind and deaf people.
  Where pedestrian crossings improvements are undertaken in city centre locations, they can reinvigorate local businesses by providing a safer and enhanced environment for potential customers.
  Pedestrian crossings are relatively inexpensive, compared to other transport measures, although the case studies demonstrate that major schemes in city centre locations can cost in excess of €5million.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems
Problem

Oxford Circus Diagonal Crossing, London

Luxembourg’s high ranking crossings

Shared space in Hennef, Germany

Comment
Congestion In the case of Oxford Circus traffic light phasing has been balanced to ensure the improved crossing does not increase congestion, while in Hennef the reduction in road capacity was offset by construction of a ring road.
Community impacts The case studies demonstrate that, particularly in areas with high pedestrian flows such as high streets, the improvement of crossings can have a major transformative effect, reducing barriers and providing environments that help foster social interaction.
Environmental damage In cases where pedestrian crossings cause motorised vehicles to stop and accelerate, there may be a minor environmental disbenefit. It is not clear from the evidence whether this would be outweighed by modal shift to walking.
Poor accessibility Rather introducing new mobility and access options, pedestrian crossings typically improve the safety and attractiveness of walking as a transport mode.
Social and geographical disadvantage The Oxford Circus and Hennef schemes help to improve mobility for all social groups in one specific location, while the Luxembourg example demonstrates that consistently high standards of pedestrian facilities are important to encourage walking in all districts of a city.
Accidents Where there are high levels of pedestrians and traffic, such as Oxford Circus, then substantial safety improvements can be achieved.
Economic growth Where pedestrian crossings improvements are undertaken in city centre locations, they can reinvigorate local businesses by providing a safer and enhanced environment for potential customers.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

The provision of well designed pedestrian crossings is of importance for improving safety and encouraging walking for commuting and use of local services and facilities in all locations.

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

Adverse side-effects

Two potential adverse side effects have been identified:

  • Congestion and pollution – there is potential that pedestrian crossings can cause increased stopping and starting of vehicles, which in turn could contribute to congestion and increased air and noise pollution. On the other hand, improved pedestrian facilities can encourage walking with the result that the potential environmental impact is mitigated. Where only a single pedestrian crossing is implemented, the two effects may balance each other out. Where a more significant package of pedestrian works is undertaken, then vehicle movements may become more restricted, but the modal shift achieved may also become greater, again balancing the overall environmental effect.
  • Public sector funding – in many cases the costs of implementing pedestrian crossings will fall to the public authority, although where new development is taking place, it may be expected that the developer contributes towards provision. For city centre pedestrian crossing schemes, businesses may be encouraged to contribute towards costs on the basis that customer numbers may be improved.

Atkins (not dated) ‘Scrambled’ pedestrian crossings at signal controlled junctions – a case study: http://www.atkinsglobal.com/~/media/Files/A/Atkins-Global/Attachments/sectors/roads/library-docs/technical-journal-4/scrambled-pedestrian-crossings-at-signal-controlled-junctions-a-case-study.pdf

DfT (2011) Local Transport Note 1/11: Shared Space. UK Department for Transport

e-architect (2010) Oxford Street Diagonals: http://www.e-architect.co.uk/london/oxford-street-diagonals

Elvik, R., Mysen, B.A. & Vaa, T (1997) Trafikksikkerhetshåndbok (Traffic safety handbook). Oslo, Institute of Transport Economics. Complete Norwegian version accessible at www.toi.no

EuroTest (2010a) EuroTest 2010, pedestrian crossings: Methodology, how we tested: http://www.eurotestmobility.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Pedestrian-crossings-2010_Methodology.pdf

EuroTest (2010b) EuroTest 2010, pedestrian crossings: Results, 18 European cities put to the test: http://www.eurotestmobility.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Test_Outcomes_2010.pdf

Flash Eurobarometer (2011) Future of transport – analytical report. EC

IDGO (not dated) The Design of Streets with Older People in Mind. Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors

Landscape Institute (not dated) Oxford Circus case study: http://www.landscapeinstitute.org/casestudies/casestudy.php?id=100

Living Streets (2011) Policy Briefing 06/11: Crossing the street

London Assembly (2010) Walk this way: making walking easier and safer in London. London Assembly Transport Committee

Sakshaug, K. (1997) Vikeplikt i gangfelt. Resultater fra intervjuundersøkelse og atferdsregistreringer. (The duty to give way at pedestrian crossings. Results from interviews and observation of behaviour.) Notat 3/97. Trondheim, SINTEF Bygg- og miljøteknikk, Samferdsel. www.sintef.no (In Norwegian)

STG (2012) Roads, international case studies. Steer Davies Gleave for Transport for London 

TRL (2006) A review of simplified streetscape schemes, Published Project Report PPR292. TRL Limited for Transport for London

Wiltshire Council (2011) A guide to the cost of highway works in Wiltshire: http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/parkingtransportandstreets/roadshighwaysstreetcare/costwiltshighwaysworks.htm