Pedestrian crossings

Pedestrian crossings encourage people to walk and improve safety. 

Requesting a new pedestrian crossing 

We receive many requests each year for new pedestrian crossings.  

To identify priority sites, we: 

  • survey each site 
  • compare results with national criteria 

The main factors measured are the: 

  • number of people crossing 
  • amount of traffic 

Other factors include the: 

  • number of injuries on the road near the site 
  • local features such as hospitals, schools and shops 

To request a new pedestrian crossing, please contact frontline services business support team: 

  • telephone 020 8489 1000 

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Different types of pedestrian crossing 

Pedex Crossing with Pedestrian Countdown facility

A Pedex is an alternative name for a stand‑alone ‘signal‑controlled pedestrian facility. 

  • The red and green man signal is positioned on the far side of the road, with dedicated push button facilities. They do not have flashing green man / flashing vehicle amber. 
  • The countdown facility indicates the length of the blackout period and therefore the amount of time remaining in which pedestrians can finish crossing the road.  

Puffin crossing (pedestrian user-friendly intelligent crossing) 

Puffin crossings look very similar to pelican crossings.  

Puffin crossings: 

  • have red and green man signals just above the ‘wait’ box and not on the other side of the road 
  • have special sensors to detect a pedestrian waiting and make sure traffic is stopped until all pedestrians have crossed  
  • do not have a flashing green man for pedestrians or a flashing amber light for drivers 

Pelican crossing (pedestrian light-controlled crossing) 

Pelican crossings: 

  • are controlled by the pedestrian pressing the button on the 'wait' box 
  • sometimes have a bleeper to help blind or partially sighted people know when it’s safe to cross 

Pedestrians should: 

  • cross when the green man lights up and all the traffic has stopped 
  • not cross when the green man is flashing 

Zebra crossing 

A zebra crossing has: 

  • black and white stripes  
  • orange flashing beacons at each end 

A zebra crossing gives the pedestrian right of way once their foot is on the crossing.  

Pedestrians must: 

  • make sure all traffic has stopped before crossing  
  • keep looking and listening as they cross 

Many people ask for zebra crossings to be changed to puffin crossings believing them to be safer. Research shows the safety record of both types is very similar and that, in some cases, zebra crossings are safer. 

Toucan crossings (two-can cross) 

Toucan crossings are provided for pedestrians and cyclists usually at sites where cycle routes cross busy roads.  

They have: 

  • a push button on the ‘wait’ box 
  • a green and red cycle signal  
  • a red and green man signal (no flashing signal) 
  • sensors to detect pedestrians using the crossing 

Cyclists do not have to dismount to cross.  

Pedestrian refuges 

In some locations where a pedestrian crossing cannot be justified, a pedestrian refuge (traffic island) may be placed.  

Pedestrian refuges: 

  • narrow the road 
  • allow pedestrians to cross the road in two halves with a safe place in the middle to wait   

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Page last updated:

January 19, 2023

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