I have been writing about Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) and spoke on CBC Radio this month about why this innovation should be adopted everywhere.
For a nominal cost of $1,200 per intersection, crossing lights are reprogrammed to give pedestrians anywhere from a three to ten second start to cross the street before vehicular traffic is allowed to proceed through a crosswalk. There are over 2,238 of these leading pedestrian crossing intervals installed in New York City where their transportation policies prioritize the safety of walkers over vehicular movement. New York City had a 56 percent decrease in pedestrian and cyclist collisions at locations where LPIs were installed. NACTO, the National Organization of City and Transportation Officials estimates that LPIs can reduce pedestrian crashes by 60 percent.
Since 75 percent of Vancouver’s pedestrian crashes happen in intersections, and since most of the fatal pedestrian crashes involve seniors, it just makes sense to implement this simple change to stop injuries and to save lives.
There has not been much political will in the City of Vancouver to adopt Leading Pedestrian Intervals, and there are only a handful in the city. Kudos to the City of Surrey’s Road Safety Manager Shabnem Afzal who has tirelessly led a Vision Zero Plan (no deaths on the roads) and has been behind the installation of Leading Pedestrian Intervals at over seventy Surrey intersections.
As reported by CBC’s Jesse Johnston, Leading Pedestrian Intervals “allows pedestrians to establish their right of way in the crosswalk.”
Quoting Ms. Afzal, “”It puts pedestrians into the crosswalk far enough to make them more visible to drivers. We normally implement them around T-intersections where there may be a potential for conflict between a vehicle and a pedestrian…It is a no-brainer really that we have to try and protect those most vulnerable road users. Especially given that it’s low cost and we can implement LPIs anywhere where there’s actually a signal.”
Kudos to Surrey and to Road Safety Manager Ms. Afzal for getting this done.
When can we expect the same kind of response from the City of Vancouver?
Here’s a YouTube explanation from New York City’s Department of Transportation of how the Leading Pedestrian Interval works.
Image: City of Toronto