East London pedestrian crossing signals to stay green unless cars approach

The pedestrian crossing on the A61 Penistone Road in Sheffield, where Leslie Bingham, 73, died when

Signals will stay green unless traffic approaches at certain pedestrian crossings in Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets. - Credit: PA

Pedestrian crossings in east London are being reprogrammed to stay on the “green man” signal until approaching traffic is detected.

In a move to prioritise people walking over driving, 18 crossings in the capital will have the pioneering “green person authority” technology.

Two crossings by Devons Road DLR station in Bow, Tower Hamlets and one in Prince Regent Lane by Alnwick Road in Custom House, Newham are among seven locations that have already been upgraded.

Crossings in London Road by James Street in Barking and Gale Street by Becontree Station in Dagenham will follow by the end of June, along with nine other locations across London.

Signal locations were chosen based factors including high pedestrian flow, proximity to pedestrian destinations like shopping centres, stations and schools, and the suitability of existing technology.

London's walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said: "Walking has so many benefits - it doesn't just enable us to get from A to B, but also improves our mental and physical health. 

“We know that safety is a key concern for people walking around London, and giving pedestrians priority is a powerful way of putting them first and making it easier to cross London's roads.” 

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Transport for London (TfL) says the technology will support “a green recovery” from the pandemic.

TfL data shows almost a third of Londoners say they're now walking to places where they used to travel another way and 57 per cent go on more walks or walk for longer than they did before.

At one point last year, almost half of journeys were made on foot - rising from 35 per cent. 

TfL head of network performance Nick Owen said: “We're determined to make it easier for people to cross the road and to give people the space they need to walk safely.

"These initiatives will make a difference in enabling more people to access local high streets, shops and other businesses in a sustainable way.”

New locations are still being identified by TfL, with the aim of introducing more in the future.

Chief executive of walking charity Living Streets, Mary Creagh, said: "Everybody should be able to cross the road safely, directly and without delay.

"Putting pedestrians first at crossings will make streets safer for everyone."