Pedestrian crossings

Formal Crossings

Several factors are taken into account when assessing whether a formal signal controlled or zebra crossing is appropriate.

We apply Department for Transport criteria to ensure that pedestrian crossings are placed where they will be most beneficial. The criteria considers factors such as:

  • numbers of pedestrians crossing
  • traffic flow
  • traffic composition
  • road use, site characteristics
  • surrounding environment, accident history, traffic speeds, accessibility and visibility

Whether a crossing is needed at a location depends upon the overall pedestrian and traffic flow over the busiest four hours of the day. There should be at least 50 pedestrians and 1000 vehicles passing through the location every hour.

The underlying principle is that crossings will only operate correctly if they are used on a regular basis throughout the day. If there are too few pedestrians for most of the day drivers may tend to ignore the crossing and put pedestrians at risk on the occasions when they are using the facility. Conversely, if traffic flows are low then pedestrians can comfortably cross in the gaps without needing a crossing.

Zebra Crossings

A Zebra crossing has a black and white striped carriageway and amber roadside beacons. A Zebra crossing gives the pedestrian priority over vehicles but requires the pedestrian to step safely onto the crossing to initiate this. The absence of signal controls makes the crossing unsuitable for locations with fast moving or heavy traffic, or where a constant flow of pedestrians is likely to cause excessive congestion. Zebra crossings are most suited to sites with low traffic speed and volume are low then pedestrians can comfortably cross in the gaps without needing a crossing.

Signal Controlled Crossings - Pelican, Puffin, Toucan, Pegasus

These crossings provide a safe crossing period through the use of signals showing that the pedestrian, cyclist or horse rider  has the right of way. The signal control makes these crossings appropriate for sites with higher traffic speed and volume. 

Pelican And Puffin crossings are for pedestrian use only. The Pelican crossing provides a set period for crossing, whereas the Puffin is fitted with a detector that automatically varies the crossing period to ensure that the crossing is clear before allowing vehicles to proceed.

The Toucan crossing allows both pedestrians and cyclists to cross at the same time where there is a cycle route, and does not require the cyclists to dismount to cross.

The Pegasus crossing allows pedestrians and horse riders to use the same facility. Riders are separated from pedestrians by a corral and a higher level push button is provided.

Informal Crossing facilities

Pedestrian Refuges (Islands)

The pedestrian refuge is the most common pedestrian facility. They allow a pedestrian to cross the road in stages by creating safe waiting points on the carriageway. A refuge can be appropriate where pedestrian movements are concentrated but overall numbers are lower. Careful positioning is required to assure adequate refuge widths for all pedestrians, and sufficient carriageway width must be available.

Courtesy Crossings

A courtesy crossing consists of dropped kerbing on both sides of the road to ease the crossing movement and identify a point at which pedestrians will be crossing. This type of aid can easily be incorporated into traffic calming features such as pinch pints and build outs, and can be highlighted to motorists by the use of coloured surface treatments and reflective bollards.