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Research considering changes to pedestrian crossing laws

University of Canterbury research considering changes to pedestrian crossing laws

August 27, 2014

A University of Canterbury research project has been considering the costs and benefits of a range of potential changes to pedestrian crossing laws that would bring New Zealand in line with the rest of the world.

New Zealand is rather unusual in having road rules that do not generally give priority to pedestrians when crossing side roads and intersections, particularly at intersections without traffic signals.

In European and North American countries pedestrians have laws giving them the priority over turning traffic or traffic approaching an intersection.

The University of Canterbury is carrying out a survey to gauge peoples understanding of the New Zealand road rules and what their thoughts and feelings are on possible rule changes that could be made. View the survey here: http://canterbury.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_dhaeQXAUKcEps0d.

Engineering honours student Courtney McCrostie is investigating the issue and her study is being supervised by Dr Glen Koorey, who specialises in walking and cycling research.

``I am looking at how the New Zealand Transport Agency crash analysis system to analyse the past five years’ worth of data for pedestrian crashes at urban intersections,’’ McCrostie says.

``This involves 1750 crashes since 2009. Of those crashes 39 percent occurred at intersections with traffic signals, 31 percent at give way signs, nine percent at stop signs and 21 percent at intersections with no priority ruling.

``Over half of all crashes occurred at T intersections. Some of the key factors contributing to all of these crashes are drivers failing to give way or stop (16 percent), pedestrians walking or running heedless of traffic (24 percent), other pedestrian movements (20 percent) and poor observation by the driver (20 percent). The work will also use computer modelling of traffic and pedestrians to assess the effects of any new rules.

``We are researching to determine if changing the New Zealand road rules will have any significant effect on the delays felt by pedestrians and motorists at intersections.’’

McCrostie says they hope to have some initial findings by the end of the year.


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