Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

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Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:09 am

It’s not rocket science and if you already know that pedestrians and bike riders are disadvantaged and it is a disincentive, there are no awards.

This article from The Guardian reports on this with a few details and is interesting reading... like many bike and walker incentives, this also has benefits for motorists (and not only the broader community, business, health and environment).


https://www.theguardian.com/cities/comm ... ge-walking

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Jmuzz » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:14 am

It's a tough balancing act.
And remember busses/trams are involved too, if you slow them down for pedestrian priority then it hurts public transport.

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby human909 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:25 am

Jmuzz wrote:It's a tough balancing act.
And remember busses/trams are involved too, if you slow them down for pedestrian priority then it hurts public transport.

Trams are already prioritized at many intersections. Buses are sometimes done too.

But really half the gain for pedestrians could be made with minimal or ZERO loss to on road movements. If an intersection doesn't have left or right turn arrows then there is absolutely no need for a pedestrian light to be red when the parallel road is green. You could readily remove demand pedestrian light crossing at many intersections without impact traffic. There is no good reason that our inner cities shouldn't be doing this.

But of course the problem goes deep. The majority of our suburbs in the last 50 years have been built around cars. So pretty much all other forms of transport are not prioritised. Thus everybody uses cars and there is little justification to prioritise other forms of transport.

Any decent form of public transport should mostly or completely separated from private transport congestion. But we haven't seemed to have done much of that for 100 years....

Build it and they will come. All we seem to build is roads...

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby antigee » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:49 am

Jmuzz wrote:It's a tough balancing act.
And remember busses/trams are involved too, if you slow them down for pedestrian priority then it hurts public transport.


....improved pedestrian priority could improve overall uptake of public transport? I'd argue that making it easier/quicker for people to access bus stops / tram stops / stations makes the on foot part of journey less stressful and more convenient - no evidence to support this but should be factored in

"...."Every hour during the morning peak, 15,000 pedestrians cross the Spencer and Collins Street intersection outside Southern Cross Station which is five times the number of people in cars, yet cars are given twice the amount of time as pedestrians to pass through," councillor Nicolas Frances Gilley, who holds the transport portfolio, said........"

quote taken from article April 2018: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-05/c ... ts/9620862

anecdote: stood along with many other peds waiting to cross road at controlled crossing outside Nunawading station on Springvale rd (Melbourne east for those elsewhere) and the 3 lanes of vehicle congestion backed up from the 200m away Maroondah highway junction lights cycled fully 3x (!) through red/green while we waited to cross - prompting many peds to risk moving thru the (semi) stationary traffic

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:11 pm

antigee wrote:
Jmuzz wrote:It's a tough balancing act.
And remember busses/trams are involved too, if you slow them down for pedestrian priority then it hurts public transport.


....improved pedestrian priority could improve overall uptake of public transport? I'd argue that making it easier/quicker for people to access bus stops / tram stops / stations makes the on foot part of journey less stressful and more convenient - no evidence to support this but should be factored in

"...."Every hour during the morning peak, 15,000 pedestrians cross the Spencer and Collins Street intersection outside Southern Cross Station which is five times the number of people in cars, yet cars are given twice the amount of time as pedestrians to pass through," councillor Nicolas Frances Gilley, who holds the transport portfolio, said........"

quote taken from article April 2018: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-05/c ... ts/9620862

anecdote: stood along with many other peds waiting to cross road at controlled crossing outside Nunawading station on Springvale rd (Melbourne east for those elsewhere) and the 3 lanes of vehicle congestion backed up from the 200m away Maroondah highway junction lights cycled fully 3x (!) through red/green while we waited to cross - prompting many peds to risk moving thru the (semi) stationary traffic

... and even if the police HAD been present, you can guarantee none of the motorists would have been fined for obstructing the intersection.

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby find_bruce » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:13 pm

It is one of my pet peeves - as far as I know there is only 1 set of lights in all of the Sydney CBD that defaults to green for pedestrians and that is where Martin Place crosses Phillip St.

The RMS commissioned a study on Sydney CBD Cycleways Traffic Signals Optimisation. The typical traffic light operates on a 120 s cycle. Typically bicycle lights are only green for 9s every 120s - 7.5%

One particular case was Union St Pyrmont. The majority of vehicles during peak hours are bicycles, where there was a 7.1% prospect of a green light on approach, compared to the road lights were there was a 71.2% chance of a green light.

Funnily enough this leads to the observed behaviour that, with a 71.2% chance of a green light, "motor vehicle drivers are largely very compliant with red signals" while with a 9.1% chance of a green light cyclists largely ignored the red bicycle. Consequently there was no need to fix the system as it was working "fairly".

Similarly the phase sequence for King St was phased so that bicycles had to wait 110 s (out of a 120s cycle) before getting a green. I recall there being a brief period when there was a green wave up King St, however this did not last long.

The worst I have seen is the Epping Rd cycleway where crossing at Pittwater Rd from the NW will take 3 light cycles & 5 minutes to cross just one road. I have seen a video somewhere but my google skills are not up to finding it yet.

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby BJL » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:19 pm

human909 wrote: If an intersection doesn't have left or right turn arrows then there is absolutely no need for a pedestrian light to be red when the parallel road is green. You could readily remove demand pedestrian light crossing at many intersections without impact traffic. There is no good reason that our inner cities shouldn't be doing this.


Try telling VicMotorists that. At a particular intersection near me, you cannot trigger the pedestrian lights when the parallel lights are green. Despite the crossing being on a short, narrow dead end residential road no more than 5 metres wide with little traffic. Why? Because they say that because there are no automated right turn lights on the parallel road for that side street, it's dangerous to allow pedestrians to cross. And the parallel road is a very busy road so gets a long cycle so you end up standing there for ages. Waiting to cross all of FIVE metres.

Most locals just walk across against the red person.

On the other side of this parallel road, there are automated right hand turn lights and so you can trigger the pedestrian lights mid cycle, despite the road on the side being a 2 lane, divided road probably 3 times as wide.

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Cycleops70 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:32 pm

This is what annoys me the most about this subject "State and city governments say they want to encourage walking and biking " but their actions are almost exclusively the opposite.

They all "say" the right things, but then carry on as they were, as if nothing happened.

It's as if we cannot see what some other major global cities realised, and we have to go through the same decades long process of furthering car culture until it occurs to us that we are creating the problem we are trying to fix.

In the words of Douglas Adams "Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby human909 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:25 pm

Cycleops70 wrote:This is what annoys me the most about this subject "State and city governments say they want to encourage walking and biking " but their actions are almost exclusively the opposite.

Totally agree. Lip service all the way.

In other news from the thread next door:
"On the radio this morning they said there was a rumor that obikes was pulling out of Victoria and were trying to get conformation but obike was not returning there calls."

No doubt there have been teething issues here. But the hostility from the State, Councils, EPA doesn't really align well.

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Thoglette » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:17 pm

Jmuzz wrote:It's a tough balancing act.

Cobblers.

There's not even the slightest attempt at "balancing" (speaking only for NT, VIC, NSW and WA)

A (non-scientific) survey over the past few months in the states above have shown me that, in general)
1. Pedestrian green lights don't stay green long enough for the average person to get across. Good luck if you are "mobility impaired"
2. Often a vehicle green light will be paired with a red light for peds/cycists travelling in the same direction.
3. Even in the CBD, where peds often outnumber vehicles by 10:1, they normally get only get one crossing per lights cycle.

There is also something fundamentally flawed in the current attempt to regulate peds "for their safety". As usual, they are actually an attempt to get peds the hell out the way of MVs. And blame peds when MVs hit them.

The whole lot could be pared down to the following three: two existing, one modified.
1. don't obstruct traffic (or step in front of moving MVs while texting)
2. if you are travelling along the roadway and there's a foot path, use it. (quid pro quo as part of "stay off freeways")
3. give way to cars if the little man is red.

Of course I don't expect Harold Screwloose to be promoting that.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Thoglette » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:23 pm

Cycleops70 wrote:This is what annoys me the most about this subject "State and city governments say they want to encourage walking and biking " but their actions are almost exclusively the opposite.


My favourite
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(from Copehagenise your city, quoted in the Guardian)
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Mugglechops » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:14 pm

Pedestrians should get a “leading interval” so they can step into the street on a “walk” signal before cars start to move on a green light, increasing their visibility to drivers

A few lights in Nowra now work this way. You can mostly be almost across the road on the walk signal before the cars get a green.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby fat and old » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:30 pm

Mugglechops wrote:Pedestrians should get a “leading interval” so they can step into the street on a “walk” signal before cars start to move on a green light, increasing their visibility to drivers

A few lights in Nowra now work this way. You can mostly be almost across the road on the walk signal before the cars get a green.


Way, way more than a few in inner Melbourne and the CBD operate this way....there are heaps, and it's only getting bigger. For both peds and cyclists. I'm surprised Human hasn't mentioned this? Add in the raised pavements across street entrances along major roads and it's moving foward nicely :)

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby find_bruce » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:00 pm

In NSW it was the result of a recommendation from the coroner after yet another driver failing to give way when turning & killing yet another pedestrian crossing with the green person. RTA put "leading interval" forward as cheaper alternative to putting red left turn arrows on all of the "black spot" intersections.

Still the same bias against pedestrians though - still 6 s every 2 minutes & the beg button must be pushed or no green light for you - It ok for pedestrians to wait up to 1:54s at lights but it would be an outrageous imposition for drivers to wait 3 or 4 s

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby human909 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:11 pm

fat and old wrote:
Mugglechops wrote:Pedestrians should get a “leading interval” so they can step into the street on a “walk” signal before cars start to move on a green light, increasing their visibility to drivers

A few lights in Nowra now work this way. You can mostly be almost across the road on the walk signal before the cars get a green.


Way, way more than a few in inner Melbourne and the CBD operate this way....there are heaps, and it's only getting bigger. For both peds and cyclists. I'm surprised Human hasn't mentioned this?

Add in the raised pavements across street entrances along major roads and it's moving foward nicely :)


What is to mention? I'm not really complaining about the inner city improvements in Melbourne from pedestrian and cyclist perspective. I do think we should get rid of the need to beg to cross in many places where it is totally unnecessary.

As far as leading intervals go. I'm I see them as a poor solution to the problem of turning cars not knowing the laws. But a solution nevertheless.

Yep raised pavements and cycle paths aplenty near me! No complaints there. I frequent the Amess crossing in North Carlton, motorists seem to deal with cyclists and pedestrians fairly well there from what I've seen. Though I'd like to know the frequency of collisions here.

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby bychosis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:37 pm

Thoglette wrote:1. Pedestrian green lights don't stay green long enough for the average person to get across. Good luck if you are "mobility impaired"


They are designed that way. Notice the red ped light flashes for a while? That is your time to continue crossing the street, but not to start crossing. The green+ flashing phase would be timed to allow the average person to cross safely. when the red light goes solid is 'time's up' and the other lights will go green after a second or two.

Do agree though that cars still get all the priority. It was obviously built that way to maximise vehicle efficiency. Wonder if that might change with e-vehicles that aren't polluting while they are sitting still and are less polluting to get moving again.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Thoglette » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:51 pm

bychosis wrote:
Thoglette wrote:1. Pedestrian green lights don't stay green long enough for the average person to get across. Good luck if you are "mobility impaired"


They are designed that way. Notice the red ped light flashes for a while?

Understand and should have been clearer: we have a number of multilane roads where there's barely time for a "normal" person to cross before the cars get a green. I watched "gran" get caught on the island and have to wait for a second cycle to get across.

bychosis wrote:Do agree though that cars still get all the priority. It was obviously built that way to maximise vehicle efficiency. Wonder if that might change with e-vehicles that aren't polluting while they are sitting still and are less polluting to get moving again.

The problem is mind set: the various roads departments continue to measure success in terms of vehicles per hour and how high the speed limit can be set, based on the road design.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby bychosis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:12 pm

Thoglette wrote:
bychosis wrote:Do agree though that cars still get all the priority. It was obviously built that way to maximise vehicle efficiency. Wonder if that might change with e-vehicles that aren't polluting while they are sitting still and are less polluting to get moving again.

The problem is mind set: the various roads departments continue to measure success in terms of vehicles per hour and how high the speed limit can be set, based on the road design.

and when someone with a vision decides that bicycle lanes in the inner city actually decrease vehicle traffic and therefore increase efficiency all we hear is how much longer it is going to take to get anywhere.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Thoglette » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:54 pm

bychosis wrote:..and when someone with a vision decides that bicycle lanes in the inner city actually decrease vehicle traffic and therefore increase efficiency all we hear is how much longer it is going to take to get anywhere.


For those who really like discussions on transport statistics there's a rather good paper Integrated Transport Planning Ltd for Transport for London titled "Understanding and Managing Congestion" (Nov 2017) Not sure where I got it from but well worth reading if you want be forearmed for the debate bychosis highlighted.

[edit - found it http://content.tfl.gov.uk/understanding ... london.pdf ]
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby fat and old » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:51 pm

Thoglette wrote:
bychosis wrote:
Thoglette wrote:1. Pedestrian green lights don't stay green long enough for the average person to get across. Good luck if you are "mobility impaired"


They are designed that way. Notice the red ped light flashes for a while?

Understand and should have been clearer: we have a number of multilane roads where there's barely time for a "normal" person to cross before the cars get a green. I watched "gran" get caught on the island and have to wait for a second cycle to get across


I’m thinking that’s how the cyclist got off killing a ped on Beach Rd last year?

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Thoglette » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:33 pm

fat and old wrote:I’m thinking that’s how the cyclist got off killing a ped on Beach Rd last year?

References? I've missed that fatality.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby tcdev » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:39 am

You might be pleased to learn that "they" have completely stuffed up one intersection in recent years to the benefit of pedestrians and detriment to motorists.

The old "five ways" intersection in Rockdale, Sydney only recently gained a pedestrian crossing across the southern side of the Princes Highway. So now when commuters from Rockdale train station descend en masse every few minutes they prevent any more than one or two vehicles turning left from Bay St. Not only does this now cause traffic to bank up down Bay St every afternoon, but also tends to prevent vehicles altogether from even getting onto Bay St from the T-intersection a few hundred metres down from the aforementioned intersection.

Now I'm all for giving everyone a fair go, but this piece of traffic engineering (and I use the term loosely) is an absolute disaster. It created a traffic bottleneck - which sometimes took 3 or 4 light changes to get through - that simply did not exist before. And for what purpose? It makes no difference to pedestrians coming from the train station; at worst they cross two roads in any case. The only pedestrians that would benefit are those crossing (only) the highway on the southern side of the intersection, and I can assure you they are very few and far between. Absolute madness!
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Scintilla » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:08 pm

Thoglette wrote:
fat and old wrote:I’m thinking that’s how the cyclist got off killing a ped on Beach Rd last year?

References? I've missed that fatality.


It happened in April 2017. The family quickly launched into 'bike-hate-mode':

"Mr MacKenzie’s son Alastair told the Herald Sun while it was too early to know what caused the accident he hoped it would result in bikes becoming registered to make riders more accountable."

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-o ... 474f5618e4

Note: the rider stopped, he was held accountable, he co-operated with police.

But when police investigated they found there was footage that showed the cyclist was riding with a green light. We can only presume that Norman McKenzie stepped out too soon, or was somehow distracted.

https://www.theage.com.au/news/national ... 53330.html

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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby Thoglette » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:43 pm

Scintilla wrote:It happened in April 2017. The family quickly launched into 'bike-hate-mode':
<snip?
But when police investigated they found there was footage that showed the cyclist was riding with a green light. We can only presume that Norman McKenzie stepped out too soon, or was somehow distracted.

Thanks. Your second cite links to a 2006 incident not the 2017 incident. But a quick search confirms what you've said. As best as I can tell there was one other fatal Ped/cyclist event in Vic (North Mel) in 2013. Vs many hundreds killed by drivers each year.
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Re: Traffic lights favour cars, disadvantages walkers and bike riders

Postby antigee » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:51 am

Scintilla wrote:
Thoglette wrote:
fat and old wrote:I’m thinking that’s how the cyclist got off killing a ped on Beach Rd last year?

References? I've missed that fatality.


It happened in April 2017. The family quickly launched into 'bike-hate-mode':

"Mr MacKenzie’s son Alastair told the Herald Sun while it was too early to know what caused the accident he hoped it would result in bikes becoming registered to make riders more accountable."

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-o ... 474f5618e4

Note: the rider stopped, he was held accountable, he co-operated with police.

But when police investigated they found there was footage that showed the cyclist was riding with a green light. We can only presume that Norman McKenzie stepped out too soon, or was somehow distracted.

https://www.theage.com.au/news/national ... 53330.html


indeed the rider stopped - from coverage in theage:

" The 30-year-old cyclist, a Port Melbourne man, was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries."

definitely needed registration so could be traced to his hospital bed? (not putting aside that it was a very unfortunate death)

as we all know registration leads to responsible actions when driving:

"POLICE APPEAL FOR WITNESSES FOLLOWING DONCASTER HIT RUN
Saturday, 16 June 2018 14:45
Two teenage girls have been conveyed to hospital following a hit run collision at Doncaster this afternoon.

The incident happened when the two girls, who were arriving at a local shopping centre, attempted to cross Doncaster Road near Williamson Road just before 1pm.

As the girls ran across the road a car, believed to be a silver four wheel drive, struck both the girls knocking them to the ground in the left lane.

The driver of the car failed to stop and continued driving east on Doncaster Road.

The victims, a 13-year-old Donvale girl and a 14-year- old Doncaster East girl, were conveyed to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Anyone who witnessed the collision is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au"


https://www.vicpolicenews.com.au/news/p ... er-hit-run link will disappear in a couple of weeks

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