International research has shown that the crossing behaviour of pedestrians at intersections can significantly affect the likelihood of crashes. Within the South African context, pedestrian traffic fatalities are a major concern, and city authorities are anxious to find effective means of managing pedestrian crossings as safely and efficiently as possible. This study compares crossing behaviour of pedestrians at two different types of signals in the city of Cape Town; first the conventional ‘concurrent’ signals where pedestrians cross at the same time as vehicles, i.e. where the green pedestrian signal and the green vehicle’s signal are aligned with each other; and the second ‘exclusive’ phasing, where pedestrians have a dedicated green light phase where all other vehicular traffic is stationary (also known as a scramble phase). The study found that whilst the exclusive pedestrian phases had the most promise of safety on paper, in reality there was no discernible difference in safety overall, as the longer waiting periods meant that pedestrians were inclined to cross illegally, when the pedestrian signal was red. The study also found a high level of ignorance and confusion among members of the public about the signals – only 17% of pedestrians surveyed understood what the green, red flashing and red phases permitted them to do.
Papers Presented at the 2018 37th Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2018 Pretoria, South Africa. Theme "Towards a desired transport future: safe, sufficient and affordable".