The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is scheduled to propose an amendment to the Regulations on Establishing Traffic Signs and Indicating Lines (道路交通標誌標線號誌設置規則) to unify the colors of road lanes designated for different uses, which differ from region to region.
Under the proposed amendment, which has been forwarded to all local governments to solicit their opinions, the colors of pavements for lanes dedicated to bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians must be brick-red, blue and light-green respectively.
The proposal could be promulgated in March next year at the earliest, the ministry said.
Current regulations leave the choice of pavement colors to the discretion of city and county governments, with Taipei choosing green pavements for its bike lanes, while New Taipei City (新北市) has opted for red.
However, the color green is also used to represent pedestrian lanes in Taipei, resulting in frequent confusion.
Department of Railways and Highways section chief Wu Wen-yi (吳文益) said the ministry’s decision to adopt uniform pavement colors was made in late September.
“The amendment, if passed by the legislature, does not mandate [city and county governments] to use colored pavements to designate different kinds of lanes. However, they are required to refer to the regulations if they are to use colored pavements,” Wu said, adding that the new amendment also included regulations governing line markings for pedestrian lanes that were based on the design of Taipei’s sidewalks.
Lauding the unification of pavement colors, National Chiao Tung University Institute of Traffic and Transportation associate professor Huang Tai-sheng (黃台生) said that from the perspective of road traffic management, different pavement colors were like varied traffic signs that had their own idiosyncratic meanings.
Colored pavements could lose their function of helping people differentiate between various road sections and cause confusion if different administrative regions were inconsistent as to which colors they used to paint their bicycle lanes, Huang said.
Turning to the effects on safety of line-marked pedestrian lanes, which are often called into question by the public, Huang said that while line-marked sidewalks may offer less protection to pedestrians compared with cement ones, they can at least help determine who is at fault in a car accident.
Echoing Huang’s opinions, Taipei City Government Traffic Engineering Office director Chen Hsueh-tai (陳學台) said that although most of the city’s 110 line-marked pedestrian lanes were set up in narrow alleys, they could undoubtedly provide a certain level of protection for road users.
Chen said the office supported the ministry’s proposed plan and would change the city’s pavement colors in accordance with the new amendment after it was stipulated.
New Taipei City Traffic Control and Engineering Division director Su Hsien-chih (蘇先知) said the city would make any changes necessary under the proposed amendment.