Fri, Jun 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taipei mulling expanding green light trial project

AMBULATORY SPEEDS:The duration of green lights at some intersections near hospitals, parks and temples have been extended, due to older people walking slower

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Taipei Department of Transportation yesterday said it is considering expanding a trial program to extend the duration of green lights, as some older people find green lights too short for them to safely cross the street.

Road traffic deaths and injuries in the city were significantly reduced last year, but pedestrians and motorbike riders still accounted for the majority of such cases, the department said.

People aged 65 and older last year accounted for about 30 percent of pedestrian deaths, with 20 fatalities and 721 injuries, compared with 21 deaths and 745 injuries in 2016, it said.

An analysis of the cause of accidents involving older people found that they failed to walk on designated walkways, or failed to follow signs, markings, traffic lights or traffic police’s hand signals when crossing the street, it added.

To address the problem, the department and police have, as of Wednesday, held 154 road safety promotion sessions this year at the city’s 325 meal-sharing locations for older people.

The department last year began re-evaluating the duration of green lights and has extended the time at 26 intersections near hospitals, parks and temples, which attract more older people, department Director-General Chen Hsueh-tai (陳學台) said.

The duration of a green light is set based on the assumption that the average pedestrian crosses the street at 1 meter per second, but the time at the 26 intersections has been changed based on an average of 0.5 meters per second, as older people often walk slower, he said.

A total of 210 pedestrian scrambles, where all vehicular traffic is stopped for pedestrians to cross, have been established in areas where there are more older people, he added.

A trial that extends a green light by 15 seconds when pedestrians press a button at the crossing is being tested at an intersection, Chen said, adding that the department is considering expanding the project to other intersections to test its effectiveness.

The department urged people to wear bright clothing or clothes with reflective surfaces when going out in the early morning or at night, to stand at least three large steps away from the edge of the sidewalk when waiting for a green light and to walk faster and avoid looking at digital devices when crossing the street.

Separately, the department said that of people who sustained falling injuries on public buses last year, 56.72 percent were older than 60 and 59.7 percent had not been holding handrails or hanging straps at the time of the accident.

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