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Flashing zebras a first for Auckland



23 November 2006

Flashing zebras a first for Auckland

Pedestrians using a zebra crossing on Mt Albert Road near the Royal Oak roundabout are likely to be a lot safer following the introduction of a new flashing light system.

The light studs, which are designed to reduce pedestrian fatalities, start flashing when pedestrians walk over detector pads at the crossing entry. They were installed this week on the road surface along each end of the pedestrian crossing and down the centre line.

The innovative technology is part of a national 12-month trial involving Auckland City, Christchurch City Council and Land Transport New Zealand.

Councillor Richard Simpson, Transport and Urban Linkages Committee chairperson, says the project is of national significance, potentially improving pedestrian safety at zebra crossings across the country.

“In Auckland city alone, there have been 38 injury crashes involving pedestrians on zebra crossings in the last five years. We are determined to improve safety and accessibility for vulnerable road users.

“If this project proves successful in changing both driver and pedestrian behaviour, New Zealand could vastly improve statistics relating to pedestrian crossings,” says Mr Simpson.

Pedestrian and driver behaviour will be monitored during the course of the trial.

“We’re using video surveillance and will undertake further surveys to check the reactions from walkers and drivers to this important road safety initiative.”

An Auckland City survey showed that more than 60 per cent of Auckland drivers find it difficult to see pedestrians at night, during rain or when visibility is poor and about 50 per cent of pedestrians felt unsafe using a zebra crossing in these conditions.

More than 80 per cent of drivers and pedestrians were in favour of new technology being used to improve safety.

Mr Simpson says Auckland City is committed to using innovation to improve safety for pedestrians on the city’s busy roads.

“We are particularly concerned with zebra crossings on multi-lane roads like this one on Mt Albert Road.

“What tends to happen is one driver will stop, while the motorist in the other lane continues driving. We’re hoping this technology will give more emphasis to the pedestrian crossing, encouraging both drivers to stop.

“Responsibility for pedestrian safety doesn’t just lie with motorists though. Pedestrians must always remember to check before they step.”


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