Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => On The Road => Topic started by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 02, 2016, 12:57:13 pm

Title: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 02, 2016, 12:57:13 pm
EDIT someone merged my threads.

I have discovered some TfL pdfs documenting the development of the amber pedestrian crossing countdown units  (used on 'dumb' fixed time crossings)  in London:

it seems the Dft rejected the suggestion of a graphical indication of time remaining in favour of literal  digital seconds:

this seems slightly weird to me (in a UI sense):

surely showing seconds left suggests arriving Pedestrians doing maths to decide between the 3 or 4 notional ideas I expect them to hold when deciding if there is still time for them to cross in time:
1) near start of blackout countdown = plenty of time to cross at a reasonable walking speed
2)  enough time for slightly faster speed walkers to start crossing(I suppose this state could be subdivided into two)
3) Best not to start crossing unless you are flash the superhero :) but time to finish crossing

(I expect very slow persons would only start on the green man)
So that could be a discrete / quantised 3 bar display eg  = =_
or some sort of more analogue indication  etc etc

Does anyone know their reasoning?

NB discussion of whether countdown as implemented is a good or bad idea belongs in another thread :) (although I do think some sort of positive indication of longer 'blackout period's is a good thing as it avoids signals looking broken (NB they rejected a (flashing) amber figure))
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Basil on November 02, 2016, 01:10:35 pm
Yes, saw one of those near Paddington station the other day.  I only realised what it was after crossing.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 02, 2016, 01:11:27 pm
I expect the actual reasoning was something like "The numeric displays were cheaper".

Though thinking about it, I'm not sure it's bad UI.  Seconds mean something.  You know (or can work out for future reference) how many seconds it takes you to cross a road.  It's the opposite of those TFL cycling distance signs which use minutes, rather than a measure of distance:  Good propaganda, poor UI.

An 'is less than' comparison is barely arithmetic.  I suspect the typical human, when comparing, say, '6' to '11' will use a "does it come later in counting order" algorithm, perhaps applying a "how many digits" heuristic, rather than doing true arithmetic.

A proportional indication (count the bars sort of thing) would look pretty, but just be harder to compare with your time it takes to cross safely threshold.  What does a bar represent?  Are they ticking down at the same rate?  Can you tell how many bars there actually are without squinting?  The possible exception would be studio clock style ring of dots, with 6° representing a second, which some people might prefer over digits, although it ostensibly does the same thing.

If I were designing it, I'd put a studio clock ring around a digital countdown.  Best of both worlds.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 02, 2016, 01:20:32 pm
That said, I was interested to see the Dutch approach to this, which I hadn't come across before:  An electromechanical clicker in the push-to-cross button unit, which varies its click frequency according to the state of the lights (about 1Hz when red, 2Hz when green, speeding up in the few seconds before it changes back to red).  This fulfils the same purpose as both the beeper and tactile rotating knob on British crossings, as you can feel the vibration by touching the unit, while being both easier to locate by hearing (as it's not a pure tone sound) and less irritatingly loud than a typical pelican crossing.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 02, 2016, 01:22:51 pm
What is pedestrian amber?
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 02, 2016, 01:24:58 pm
That said, I was interested to see the Dutch approach to this, which I hadn't come across before:  An electromechanical clicker in the push-to-cross button unit, which varies its click frequency according to the state of the lights (about 1Hz when red, 2Hz when green, speeding up in the few seconds before it changes back to red).  This fulfils the same purpose as both the beeper and tactile rotating knob on British crossings, as you can feel the vibration by touching the unit, while being both easier to locate by hearing (as it's not a pure tone sound) and less irritatingly loud than a typical pelican crossing.
I remember something similar in Stockholm about 1989, except those ones were irritatingly loud. They were also potentially confusing as several close together would all click, so you'd need some other way of knowing which one was clicking at which rate.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: matthew on November 02, 2016, 01:37:33 pm
I see these regularly at the north end of Waterloo bridge. The count down starts at 15s and is followed by a short all red, but is really useful to the north bound cyclist who can see the ped countdown from the ASL and then prepare to race the busses through the Aldwich. Mind I am normally there on a Sunday morning when the traffic levels are substantially lower.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 02, 2016, 01:42:20 pm
That said, I was interested to see the Dutch approach to this, which I hadn't come across before:  An electromechanical clicker in the push-to-cross button unit, which varies its click frequency according to the state of the lights (about 1Hz when red, 2Hz when green, speeding up in the few seconds before it changes back to red).  This fulfils the same purpose as both the beeper and tactile rotating knob on British crossings, as you can feel the vibration by touching the unit, while being both easier to locate by hearing (as it's not a pure tone sound) and less irritatingly loud than a typical pelican crossing.

I remember something similar in Stockholm about 1989, except those ones were irritatingly loud. They were also potentially confusing as several close together would all click, so you'd need some other way of knowing which one was clicking at which rate.

Well, it can be quite irritating if there isn't much traffic noise, but the sound doesn't seem to carry very far (certainly compared to the BEEPBEEPBEEP of a British pelican).  I like the way that it provides continuous auditory indication that there's a crossing there for the visually impaired.  With multiple clickers in close proximity it can become a bit of a cacophony, but you can discriminate which is which by stereo hearing (if you have it) or touch.

We solve that problem by not using any beepers where there are multiple crossings close together, so solo visually impaired users have to find and use the knob.

I wonder what the service life of the clickers is like?  Of course, the Dutch attitude to road maintenance probably extends to traffic lights, rather than the British system of only replacing them when somebody drives into them, unless the whole thing needs digging up for some reason.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: caerau on November 02, 2016, 02:06:14 pm
These have been going in the USA since forever as far as I know.


I saw one in Philadelphia once and I did vaguely wonder what I'd think if I was 80 years old with a stick and the THREE  - TWO - ONE... started when I was halfway across.  It didn't appear that the traffic would do anything but mow them down...
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 02, 2016, 02:11:52 pm

Though thinking about it, I'm not sure it's bad UI.  Seconds mean something.  You know (or can work out for future reference) how many seconds it takes you to cross a road. 
A proportional indication (count the bars sort of thing) would look pretty, but just be harder to compare with your time it takes to cross safely threshold.  What does a bar represent?  Are they ticking down at the same rate?  Can you tell how many bars there actually are without squinting? 

My OP listed what I thought the bars could mean (and the example I gave had just 3...) ?
I am not sure it matters if they are not exactly equidistant in time but I expect they would be pretty much so (and of course would vary in length between crossings because they don't indicate time itself: more whether its safe to start crossing for various speeds* of walking (those speeds would have to be consistent of course). *Slow/fast/medium.

When crossing I would never think in terms of seconds it takes me to cross: but pelicans are diivided into two periods and, as flashing green figure phase starts, if someone still on crossing (to make cars wait) a brisk (but slightly naughty :) ) walker  could start and complete the crossing within that phase: extending that sort of logic to a 3 or 4 element bar graph etc  seems more intuitive to me that thinking in seconds.
I had thought if I came across a countdown display I would subdivide it into 3 and treat it like my
bar graph ...

The possible exception would be studio clock style ring of dots, with 6° representing a second, which some people might prefer over digits, although it ostensibly does the same thing.

If I were designing it, I'd put a studio clock ring around a digital countdown.  Best of both worlds.
The circle is nice idea but I'd still use the  fully lit circle to indicate max countdown time left(so the dots per second would vary) as the digital seconds provide the exact time info for those pedestrians that want to do seconds based thinking.   Thus catering for quantised numeric thinking pedestrians and fractional thinking pedestrians :).
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Dibdib on November 02, 2016, 02:52:07 pm
I'd say that, for me, a seconds-based countdown would be the most intuitive.

And I only think that one would have to do "maths" to work out whether they can cross in time in the same way one has to do "geometry" to catch a ball - a lot more of it is instinctive rather than conscious thought, IME.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 02, 2016, 02:52:19 pm
The circle is nice idea but I'd still use the  full circle to indicate max countdown time left(so the dots per second would vary) as the digital seconds provide the exact time info for those pedestrians that want to do seconds based thinking.

I'd deliberately use a 60-second circle, even if it only used a fraction of the range, as that would work intuitively for people used to thinking about time in terms of analogue clock faces.  I never really developed an intuition for analogue clocks, and would prefer a digital display, but I know someone who's very dyscalculic, who always visualises counting around a clock face in order to make sense of quantities of time.  Change the rate, and it's just a misleading version of your bar graph, where they have to start guestimating fractions.


Units aside, I think the main point of these displays is to give a much higher resolution than the usual two phases, in order to precisely match a given pedestrian's crossing speed, so they know when not to cross.  3 or 4 is states is only a slight improvement over two.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 02, 2016, 03:35:16 pm
I'd deliberately use a 60-second circle, even if it only used a fraction of the range, as that would work intuitively for people used to thinking about time in terms of analogue clock faces.]

Hmm, upon further thought I think the proposed intelligent variants that count waiting pedestrians(at red figure)   then  extend the green figure's  'invitation to cross' appropriately then measure walking speed and adjust the following countdown period  appropriately wouldn't work with my full circle = max idea because that would then vary at the same crossing. Bah, you win :)

EDIT I suppose that answers my OP a bit.

EDIT musings on the intelligent variant moved to its  own thread.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: nextSibling on November 02, 2016, 04:07:22 pm
Numeric countdown has been common at controlled pedestrian crossings all over the US for a long time and seems to work reasonably well. Traffic engineers tend to be cautious about new, untested implementations, so I wouldn't be surprised if they went with the solution that's known to work.

Just like in the UK, US law (generalizing) says you mustn't proceed if there's someone still on the crosswalk, regardless of what the lights say. Doesn't always happen that way in reality, of course.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Jaded on November 02, 2016, 05:28:21 pm
What is pedestrian amber?

There'll be a film based around something in it in 160m years time. "Plastic Park".
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 02, 2016, 05:31:02 pm
'Plastic' as a geological period?  I suppose that makes sense...
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Jaded on November 02, 2016, 05:47:29 pm
I think it has been informally mooted on the basis of the amount of plastic that has already been deposited.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 02, 2016, 06:06:12 pm
What is pedestrian amber?

There'll be a film based around something in it in 160m years time. "Plastic Park".
Walkers trapped in the solidified resin of traffic.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 03, 2016, 07:49:05 am
On a related note, this suggests that some pedestrian crossings change to green on a set cycle even if the button has not pressed. I find this – as opposed to the arrival of the green, once the button has been pressed, being dependent on a gap in the traffic – rather surprising. Can it really be so?
Quote
In 2013 it emerged that many buttons on pedestrian crossings in Britain are fakes, with traffic controlled by an automated system rather than the request of walkers.

Thousands of junctions across the country operate on a Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique.

It works by “vehicle detectors” adjusting the lengths of time between the traffic being stopped depending on how heavily the roads are being used at that time.
Nothing new or surprising there. But it goes on to say:
Quote
In Edinburgh between 50 and 60 of 300 junctions have crossings where the green man comes on automatically, while in Manchester 40 per cent of the buttons are placebos and don’t need to be pressed to stop the traffic at busy times.
So the green man phase will come on even if no one's pressed the button. They seem to be referring to junctions rather than specific pedestrian crossings, but even so, in the UK that means all-directions red for vehicles.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/11/02/close-door-buttons-do-work-in-british-liftsbut-not-in-us-elevato/
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: DaveReading on November 03, 2016, 09:07:06 am
So the green man phase will come on even if no one's pressed the button. They seem to be referring to junctions rather than specific pedestrian crossings, but even so, in the UK that means all-directions red for vehicles.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/11/02/close-door-buttons-do-work-in-british-liftsbut-not-in-us-elevato/

I must confess that when I got to the bit in the article about Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique, I had to check the headline to see if it was written on April 1st.   ;)
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: cygnet on November 03, 2016, 10:19:52 am
I must confess that when I got to the bit in the article about Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique, I had to check the headline to see if it was written on April 1st.   ;)

I'd heard of SCOOT, but never seen/read the un-abbreviated version before.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 03, 2016, 10:59:32 am
It should really have been something along the lines of Split Cycle Offset Technique to Eliminate Red, in order to fit in with PELICAN, PUFFIN and so on.
https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/c/commonscoter/
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: jsabine on November 03, 2016, 11:48:31 am
I dislike the TfL implementation (of seconds left until green for motor traffic), as I seem incapable of interpreting it as anything other than "3 seconds  - sure, that's plenty of time to get across the road."

I much prefer what I've seen elsewhere (eg between Terminal 1 and the car park at Dublin airport), where it's seconds left until the pedestrian green - I'm much happier with "OK, only 45 seconds to wait, there's no point in trying to dash across."
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 03, 2016, 12:03:25 pm
I have a feeling that the crossings in Rzeszów, SE Poland, had both; countdown to pedestrian green and then once that starts, countdown to its end – in different colours. But perhaps my mind is conflating different systems seen in odd places into one seen where I was surprised to see any.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 03, 2016, 01:03:50 pm
I dislike the TfL implementation (of seconds left until 'red figure reappears(which will be followed by a brief all red period))'# , as I seem incapable of interpreting it as anything other than "3 seconds  - sure, that's plenty of time to get across the road." #very slightly corrected by SA_SA_SA_SA

I much prefer what I've seen elsewhere (eg between Terminal 1 and the car park at Dublin airport), where it's seconds left until the pedestrian green -
If the countdown to green is on the nearside wait/request panel presumably both  types could be provided* and those such as yourself who don't wish to do maths (whilst crossing the road) can simply view the farside amber countdown (previously blackout) period as a simple amber lamp: giving positive indication/reassurance(that crossing is still working: a blackedout signal might be confused as broken...)  to  those on the crossing but telling maths hating (whilst crossing the road) persons , like yourself, at the kerb to wait till next green figures 'invitation to cross' or an empty road...

EDIT I wish to clarify that above I only, jokingly, meant maths-hating in relation to calculating whether the displayed amber countdown seconds leaves you enough time to start and finish crossing. Sorry. I have added the bits in italic. :)

*just use white/pink-ish red digits for the nearside countdown to green (red figures on black hard to read for colour blind)? 
Title: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 03, 2016, 01:16:10 pm
it seems the proposed intelligent variants of amber countdown (PCats) are already being tested
(they count kerbside waiting pedestrians(at red figure)  then  extend the green figure's  'invitation to cross' appropriately, then measure their walking speeds and adjust the following countdown period  length appropriately):-----
https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2014/03/07/tfl-tests-intelligent-pedestrian-crossing-technology/ (https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2014/03/07/tfl-tests-intelligent-pedestrian-crossing-technology/)

Such smarter crossings would have no way of ending the countdown early if the crossing clears earlier than predicted: I wonder if that effect would be significant?

if so, perhaps an empty crossing could give a brief warning that it is going to end countdown early but if more pedestrians enter crossing area during said period the countdown would continue (was running in background). Actually maybe it would OK most of the time?

Has anyone used these under-test intelligent variants?
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 03, 2016, 01:34:25 pm
Waiting time displayed in seconds (or possibly some other method) during pedestrian red is at least clearly showing the time until pedestrian green. It's not clear to me whether what's being discussed here is the time remaining until the end of green man or until green light for vehicles.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 03, 2016, 01:48:12 pm
Waiting time displayed in seconds (or possibly some other method) during pedestrian red is at least clearly showing the time until pedestrian green. It's not clear to me whether what's being discussed here is the time remaining until the end of green man or until green light for vehicles.
Sorry, although this thread was about the amber countdown to red figure (replaces blackout) and which indicates time left to cross,  you  said you liked the 'countdown to next green figure' idea  so I suggested they were not mutually exclusive if the 'countdown to next green figure' is mounted on the nearside panel with the button, (please) wait display etc.

Even if you ignore the actual numeric values  displayed I think a positive amber pedestrian signal is still much better than the alternative of a long blackout  period where neither red or green figure is lit.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: matthew on November 03, 2016, 03:17:41 pm
Waiting time displayed in seconds (or possibly some other method) during pedestrian red is at least clearly showing the time until pedestrian green. It's not clear to me whether what's being discussed here is the time remaining until the end of green man or until green light for vehicles.

Cudzo

The one of these I see regularly the countdown is to the Red Man, there is a subsequent all red delay until the traffic gets the red and amber.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Jurek on November 03, 2016, 04:23:12 pm
On a not entirely unrelated note, why do some sets of traffic lights have varying amounts of dwell between their phases.
There's one set in Sydenham where between a red stationery man being displayed for pedestrians, and the next traffic phase changing to green, around 15 seconds passes while nobody is allowed to move.

What's that all about?
I've seen it at other sets of lights, but seldom for as long as this set.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 03, 2016, 04:28:27 pm
To fit more RLJers in?  :)

Maybe some clever traffic flow reason further down the road?
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Phil W on November 03, 2016, 04:43:45 pm
These countdown displays were in use in China in 2001. Glad to see we are slowly catching up.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 03, 2016, 05:02:50 pm
There's one set in Sydenham where between a red stationery man being displayed for pedestrians, and the next traffic phase changing to green, around 15 seconds passes while nobody is allowed to move
Is it a Puffin (nearside figures only), where the green figure quickly goes directly to red figure even when people still on crossing (cause they can't see it and the invitation to cross has ended but lights held till crossing empties (or timeout)).
NB I hate Puffins and hope these newer crossings (and older farside Toucans) will kill them off......

Or maybe its setup wrong/broken (eg person detectors broken): perhaps report/query it with roads service:
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/traffic-lights-and-reporting-fault (https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/traffic-lights-and-reporting-fault)
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 03, 2016, 06:54:56 pm
Waiting time displayed in seconds (or possibly some other method) during pedestrian red is at least clearly showing the time until pedestrian green. It's not clear to me whether what's being discussed here is the time remaining until the end of green man or until green light for vehicles.

Cudzo

The one of these I see regularly the countdown is to the Red Man, there is a subsequent all red delay until the traffic gets the red and amber.
:thumbsup:
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: jsabine on November 04, 2016, 12:36:23 am
I dislike the TfL implementation (of seconds left until 'red figure reappears(which will be followed by a brief all red period))'# , as I seem incapable of interpreting it as anything other than "3 seconds  - sure, that's plenty of time to get across the road." #very slightly corrected by SA_SA_SA_SA

I much prefer what I've seen elsewhere (eg between Terminal 1 and the car park at Dublin airport), where it's seconds left until the pedestrian green -
If the countdown to green is on the nearside wait/request panel presumably both  types could be provided* and those such as yourself who don't wish to do maths can simply view the farside amber countdown (previously blackout) period as a simple amber lamp: giving positive indication/reassurance(that crossing is still working: a blackedout signal might be confused as broken...)  to  those on the crossing but telling maths hating persons, ike yourself, at the kerb to wait till next green figures 'invitation to cross' or an empty road...

*just use white/pink-ish red digits for the nearside countdown to green (red figures on black hard to read for colour blind)?

I'm happy to accept your correction in my first para (albeit IME the time between "1" disappearing from the countdown and engines revving is so small as to suggest the all-red period is practically non-existent), but I am more than puzzled as to why on earth you feel the need to characterise me as "those such as yourself who don't wish to do maths" and "maths hating persons, [l]ike yourself."
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Pickled Onion on November 04, 2016, 08:02:36 am
Waiting time displayed in seconds (or possibly some other method) during pedestrian red is at least clearly showing the time until pedestrian green. It's not clear to me whether what's being discussed here is the time remaining until the end of green man or until green light for vehicles.

Cudzo

The one of these I see regularly the countdown is to the Red Man, there is a subsequent all red delay until the traffic gets the red and amber.

There are loads of these on my commute.
They go green man... countdown of various lengths... red man... three seconds later red + amber for traffic.

To answer the OP, there already was a graphic: green man = fine to start crossing; green man goes off = fine to continue if you've already started; red man comes on = a few seconds before the traffic gets red + amber. The problem with this is you have no idea how long the period where both green and red man are off is, it's adjusted depending on the width of the crossing. Sometimes there is no bit with no pedestrian light, the red man is just on for longer before the red+amber, but it's still meant to show that you've got enough time to continue crossing at a normal pace.

With the numbers you know exactly how long you've been given and know there's no need to break into a jog. You also know whether the crossing designers were expecting you to get all the way across or stop at the island in the middle. Any graphic would be open to being different at different crossings, and even if it wasn't different how would you know?
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 04, 2016, 08:31:36 am
The graphic already is different at different crossings. Some have a no-man's time, some have flashing green, some go straight from green to red. And some I've seen, in Germany, have two red men. I don't know why.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 04, 2016, 10:44:52 am
I'm happy to accept your correction in my first para (albeit IME the time between "1" disappearing from the countdown and engines revving is so small as to suggest the all-red period is practically non-existent), but I am more than puzzled as to why on earth you feel the need to characterise me as "those such as yourself who don't wish to do maths" and "maths hating persons, [l]ike yourself."

Sorry, I was just jokingly referring to your line

'I dislike the TfL implementation (of seconds left until green for motor traffic), as I seem incapable of interpreting it as anything other than '3 seconds  - sure, that's plenty of time to get across the road.' '

as meaning you didn't like doing maths to work out if you had time left to start crossing.
I wasn't referring to maths in any other context :)  :-[  So  apologies.
I have edited the original post to clarify it.
NB I started this thread because I thought there might be a more intuitive (graphical) and friendly way of giving pedestrians amber info from which they can deduce if time remains for them to start crossing so I sort of include myself in 'people who don't wish to do maths' when crossing...
I thought people would know roughly what speed (fast, medium, slow, very slow) they walked at, so simple graphics based on that might be better but.... 

NB IMO Engines revving is just impatient bad drivers for whom the highway code instruction that they should not intimidate pedestrians still crossing passes over them: I have seen someone drive straight through the red road signal while pedestrians were still crossing during blackout just because they must have decided their own traffic light had stayed red too long (they had been stopped for less time that they would have been at a pelican (because it was a smart crossing) so a pity no police were passing ....). The pedestrians would have been perfectly visible to them.

NB you can find documents with UK timings on the web(of course I have now forgotten how I found them ):
but red with amber period is 2 seconds
    so road traffic is forbidden to cross the stop line for at minimum 2 seconds
but I think at farside crossings there will always be at least another second of all-red.
So your revving drivers are simply bad drivers.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on November 04, 2016, 11:27:36 am
Some crossings have a sensor that detects if there are pedestrians still crossing. IF there are, the green man will go red, and a delay will be added to the lights changing to green for cars. Not a very long delay, but a delay.

I found this out when querying the changes to pedestrian crossing near where I used to live. My impression was that the crossing time had considerably reduced; this was confirmed, but I was told that "It conforms to nationals standards for that width of road.". That is, it conforms to the *minimum* time to be allowed for pedestrians to cross, with no allowance for how large a crowd (at times, large groups of schoolchildren) or how slow (elderly people crossing to get to a pharmacy).
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: inappropriate_bike on November 04, 2016, 01:35:15 pm
In London, light phases at pedestrian crossings mean:
There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as:
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 04, 2016, 02:12:45 pm
Some crossings have a sensor that detects if there are pedestrians still crossing. IF there are, the green man will go red, and a delay will be added to the lights changing to green for cars. Not a very long delay, but a delay.

I found this out when querying the changes to pedestrian crossing near where I used to live. My impression was that the crossing time had considerably reduced; this was confirmed, but I was told that "It conforms to nationals standards for that width of road.". That is, it conforms to the *minimum* time to be allowed for pedestrians to cross, with no allowance for how large a crowd (at times, large groups of schoolchildren) or how slow (elderly people crossing to get to a pharmacy).
The timings for smart (Puffin/Toucan) crossings are given in this:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf)
A smart Puffin can have an extra 25 plus 3 == 28 seconds  added it seems (see page 18).
A smart Toucan can have an extra (22-3) + 3 == 22 seconds added it seems (see page 19).
(where smart means on crossing detectors used to adjust timing for slower humans etc)

I presume the crossing you complained of is a fixed time 'dumb' crossing?
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: rafletcher on November 04, 2016, 02:21:41 pm
"It conforms to nationals standards for that blah blah blah.".

Ah, the last resort of the jobsworth. We have a roundabout nearby that is regularly collided with, and had had several articulated vehicles tip over whilst negotiating it.  It is of course compliant with the requisite design standards and needs no altering. This was built specifically at the terminus of a new bypass in open land.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 04, 2016, 02:28:13 pm
Some crossings have a sensor that detects if there are pedestrians still crossing. IF there are, the green man will go red, and a delay will be added to the lights changing to green for cars. Not a very long delay, but a delay.

There's a crossing on the Silly Oak bypass with such an arrangement, where it stays on pedestrian green as long as people are on the crossing.  As this serves one of the main pedestrian entrances to the University campus, you can imagine how the timings tend to work out.

I quite like it.  A rare example of pedestrian prioritisation in Motor City.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on November 04, 2016, 02:43:57 pm
Some crossings have a sensor that detects if there are pedestrians still crossing. IF there are, the green man will go red, and a delay will be added to the lights changing to green for cars. Not a very long delay, but a delay.

I found this out when querying the changes to pedestrian crossing near where I used to live. My impression was that the crossing time had considerably reduced; this was confirmed, but I was told that "It conforms to nationals standards for that width of road.". That is, it conforms to the *minimum* time to be allowed for pedestrians to cross, with no allowance for how large a crowd (at times, large groups of schoolchildren) or how slow (elderly people crossing to get to a pharmacy).
The timings for smart (Puffin/Toucan) crossings are given in this:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf)
A smart Puffin can have an extra 25 plus 3 == 28 seconds  added it seems (see page 18).
A smart Toucan can have an extra (22-3) + 3 == 22 seconds added it seems (see page 19).
(where smart means on crossing detectors used to adjust timing for slower humans etc)

I presume the crossing you complained of is a fixed time 'dumb' crossing?
No, it is a 'smart' crossing. Just that the extra time they add is the absolute minimum they *have* to add to meet the national standards.
"maximum time for the pedestrian phase is 20s. This consists of 6s of green man, plus up to a maximum of a further 14s of red man before the traffic starts."
The 'green man' is only visible on the actual post/button box. There is no audible alarm. This usually means that pedestrians don't notice it has changed for 2-3s. Then they start crossing. I timed myself walking across the junction; as an able-bodied person, it took me 15s to cross.

I'm just amazed nobody has been hit by a car yet.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 04, 2016, 03:05:22 pm
Some crossings have a sensor that detects if there are pedestrians still crossing. IF there are, the green man will go red, and a delay will be added to the lights changing to green for cars. Not a very long delay, but a delay.

There's a crossing on the Silly Oak bypass with such an arrangement, where it stays on pedestrian green as long as people are on the crossing.  As this serves one of the main pedestrian entrances to the University campus, you can imagine how the timings tend to work out.

I quite like it.  A rare example of pedestrian prioritisation in Motor City.
Or anywhere in the world.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 04, 2016, 03:44:01 pm
.....No, it is a 'smart' crossing. Just that the extra time they add is the absolute minimum they *have* to add to meet the national standards.
"maximum time for the pedestrian phase is 20s.....
Thats strange: surely they should always set the maximum clearance for a wide smart crossing: as the full time  will only be used when the smart crossing detects the need (eg pedestrians still on crossing). They seem to have misunderstood the point of a smart crossing. Have you tried requesting that they allow the crossing
to use the maximum clearance times (given in the docs) when it detects, eg  slower, pedestrians still crossing, otherwise what is the point of fitting an expensive smart crossing?

All the Puffins I have observed seem to be able to adjust the 'road traffic held for pedestrians' time pretty finely ie last person crosses, brief delay, then green to road traffic, so there is no advantage to a shorter max clearance (Unlike others, I have never seen them at a time when  there are enough pedestrians that large crowds of latecomers cause them to exceed that max and let traffic loose....).

I hate the lack of farside signals at Puffins: I am hoping they will be replaced by smart farside crossings.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on November 04, 2016, 04:01:27 pm
I queried it because I'd seen cars start across the junction (driving through green light for them) multiple times.
The reply

Quote
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the pedestrian crossings at Blossom Street / Queen Street.

I have checked the timings of the pedestrian crossing and can confirm the maximum time for the pedestrian phase is 20s. This consists of 6s of green man, plus up to a maximum of a further 14s of red man before the traffic starts.

The sensors you refer to will not hold off the traffic indefinitely, there is a limit to how long they will keep the traffic on red for.

I have been monitoring the crossings and there does appear to be sufficient time for pedestrians to cross the road.

As you say, they don't seem to understand how to use these smart crossings. During term time there are crowds of schoolkids crossing and the cars drive through them like tourists parting pigeons on trafalger square.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 04, 2016, 04:14:23 pm
Some crossings have a sensor that detects if there are pedestrians still crossing. IF there are, the green man will go red, and a delay will be added to the lights changing to green for cars. Not a very long delay, but a delay.

There's a crossing on the Silly Oak bypass with such an arrangement, where it stays on pedestrian green as long as people are on the crossing.  As this serves one of the main pedestrian entrances to the University campus, you can imagine how the timings tend to work out.

I quite like it.  A rare example of pedestrian prioritisation in Motor City.
Or anywhere in the world.

It's okay though.  The motorists don't really use the bypass, unless they're heading off towards Harborne or doing the funky Gibbin.  No, they seem to prefer the traffic jam on the high street that the bypass was supposed to, well, bypass.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Martin on November 04, 2016, 04:26:35 pm
That said, I was interested to see the Dutch approach to this, which I hadn't come across before:  An electromechanical clicker in the push-to-cross button unit, which varies its click frequency according to the state of the lights (about 1Hz when red, 2Hz when green, speeding up in the few seconds before it changes back to red).  This fulfils the same purpose as both the beeper and tactile rotating knob on British crossings, as you can feel the vibration by touching the unit, while being both easier to locate by hearing (as it's not a pure tone sound) and less irritatingly loud than a typical pelican crossing.

I first saw the numerical displays in NL 6 years ago, there they count down to when the green pedestrian / bike light is due (which are not at the same time, they let bikes go first)

as well as numerical they also had thermometer versions with a line of dots counting down vertically until there were none left
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: fuaran on November 04, 2016, 04:32:36 pm
What about a game of Pong while you are waiting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Ozz6_pdMI
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: Kim on November 04, 2016, 04:54:05 pm
What about a game of Pong while you are waiting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Ozz6_pdMI

Or Frogger...
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber countdown displays: why was numeric chosen over graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 04, 2016, 05:57:54 pm
There's one set in Sydenham where between a red stationery man being displayed for pedestrians, and the next traffic phase changing to green, around 15 seconds passes while nobody is allowed to move.

What's that all about?
I've seen it at other sets of lights, but seldom for as long as this set.
It seems Puffins continuously use passing traffic and pedestrian use to test their detectors, so if one has not been passed/used for a while it will default to some fixed 'emergency' clearance period rather than use the detectors (while presumably then testing the detectors on crossing pedestrians).
details in http://www.ukroads.org/webfiles/tal01-02.pdf (http://www.ukroads.org/webfiles/tal01-02.pdf)

So maybe it is lightly use, or the detectors are actually plain broken: so report to Roads Service?
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/traffic-lights-and-reporting-fault (https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/traffic-lights-and-reporting-fault)

EDIT They must really hate the flashing amber traffic signal.
Title: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 08, 2016, 07:31:05 pm
While I dislike Puffin(crossings) the nearside panel was partially sold as being useful to partially sighted persons who can't see the farside signal as easily:

how much use is this (presuming that tactile cones are fitted anyway, and audible indication where allowed)?

If  useful, I can see no reason why nearside panels can't be added as a 'helper' at farside crossings(they would be blacked out during any farside amber countdown/blackout period).

Is that worth doing or are the cones and audible sounder enough?

To avoid confusion  I suppose they might have to wait till the last Puffin-style nearside-only crossing has been decomissioned?
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 09, 2016, 11:21:54 am
Hmmm, perhaps not very, judging by the response :).
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 09, 2016, 11:32:24 am
Hopefully some partially sighted persons will be along soon to answer your question, but why would you have to wait for all nearside-only signals to be decommissioned? As long as the nearside and farside signals give the same message, there should be no confusion. As far as |I can see. 
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 09, 2016, 11:47:48 am
.... why would you have to wait for all nearside-only signals to be decommissioned? As long as the nearside and farside signals give the same message, there should be no confusion. As far as |I can see. 
Because I think nearsides are currently only used by Puffins which are always 'smart' ie will extend the crossing time automatically so  wondered if using them on dumb crossings would make the Dft persons  nervous....
 but I suppose having farsides could counter that. The message would be the same on nearside as farside other than, with current nearside units, any farside amber  indication(eg countdown) etc etc would result in a blanked nearside.
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 09, 2016, 11:56:07 am
A crossing with both nearside and farside signals would be a new type of crossing and so would not need to be tied into any current system, be that countdown, blank-out, flashing signals or whatever. Of course this means DfT would probably invent yet another variant for it; perhaps flashing red or simultaneous red and green, or maybe a countup rather than countdown. There seems to be no limit to the variety they bring to the (supposedly) simple act of crossing the road!
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 09, 2016, 12:24:17 pm
....Of course this means DfT would probably invent yet another variant for it; perhaps flashing red or simultaneous red and green, or maybe a countup rather than countdown.....
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :) , I want them to make crossings simpler and more consistent (i.e. always have  farside signals). A repeater nearside panel (even if skipping mid-state) seems OK. Adding a 'countdown to next green figure' to nearside panels would seem OK.

NB  Pelicans are being faded out (only old 'stock' can be used). Puffins are too different, flawed, disliked, and should go IMO....
That leaves smart farside toucans (remove the cycle symbol and you have a smart  pedestrian crossing that could replace Puffins in the interim), dumb crossings with blackout or amber countdown and the proposed/experimental smart countdown crossings: all consistently farsides. To which 'repeater' nearsides could be added if desired.  So TfLs move away from Puffins means consistency is more possible in the future..... Long blackouts (>2s) could be consistently replaced by amber countdown, I have an idea for a simple bolt-on amber indication of the extendable blackout at a smart farside Toucan. (In future perhaps smart and dumb Toucans will gain amber Countdown ....)
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 09, 2016, 12:31:23 pm
Oh yes, I'm all in favour of simplicity, or at least removing complication. I just don't think DfT are.
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 09, 2016, 12:43:35 pm
Btw I don't think Puffins are being phased out. On the contrary, there's a rolling programme here that all new crossings will be Puffins (including Toucan-style Puffins) and Puffins are replacing old Pelicans as the opportunity arises.
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 09, 2016, 12:44:41 pm
Ah, you actually said TfL are moving away from Puffins; I thought you'd said DfT was moving away from them.
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: Pete Owens on November 12, 2016, 10:55:51 pm
Moving away from zebra crossings to signalled crossings was bad news for pedestrians (in terms of both safety and priority) - but off the signalled crossings the puffin is undoubtedly superior.

With traditional signalled crossings pedestrians were given an amount of time to cross - and this requires a brisk walk so is insufficient for elderly pedestrians of parents with toddlers and the like. The only function of the far side signal (whether it is a flashing man or one of those horrible countdown to doom signals from the US) is to prompt slower pedestrians to get a move on.

Puffins are more civilised, pedestrians on the crossing are detected so the signals will not change until they have completed the crossing - drivers are made to wait rather than pedestrians hassled across so a far side signal would serve no purpose. All pedestrians need is a green signal at the near side to tell them that the can start crossing - once they have started to cross there is no need for any further signal - indeed, a far side signal could cause unnecessary alarm - a pedestrian who has just started to cross might see the green signal go out and return back to the side they started from
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 13, 2016, 03:39:54 pm
.... - but off the signalled crossings the puffin is undoubtedly superior.
I disagree, Smart crossings are possible with farsides, they just need an additional colour aspect/countdown(very long/extendable blackouts are a really poor form of communication IMO).

With traditional signalled crossings pedestrians wecre given an amount of time to cross - and this requires a brisk walk so is insufficient for elderly pedestrians of parents with toddlers and the like. The only function of the far side signal (whether it is a flashing man or one of those horrible countdown to doom signals from the US) is to prompt slower pedestrians to get a move on.
I disagree: I want the the reassurance of farside signals and I think most pedestrians do, LivingStreets (was the Pedestrian Association) certainly think so.

I thought the flashing green figure/amber traffic  signal (invented in the days of 'dumb' crossings) was a rather good compromise:  While brisk walkers like me can cross within the green man time,  the flashing figure (official meaning: don't start crossing but still time to finish)  allows slower persons still on crossing to retain priority like a zebra while allowing on road traffic to go as soon as crossing clear: so to me a pelican is like a zebra-light-hybrid: with the addition of a red lamp to legally require traffic to stop instead at a zebra where  the  pedestrian has no priority until they set foot on crossing (which may  result in a long wait in solid badly behaved traffic streams).  You seem to complaining that the flashing green figure  time is too short but that is a installation choice. 
But I do like zebras were suitable (<=30mph limits).


Dumb Countdown signals allow late-arriving people to make their own choices about when to start crossing: as long as the overall time to cross is enough for a slow person who starts on green figures 'invitation to cross' to complete, I don't see whats wrong with that.
And smart crossings still have a relatively low max clearance time: they could be viewed as a way to allow traffic priority sooner than dumb non-pelican crossings but without the woollyness of the flashing amber at a pelican (which is rather similar to the zebras amber beacon....). However, the pelican phase can't be used at signalised junction crossings whereas smart crossings could: But smart crossings can use farsides.


Puffins are more civilised, pedestrians on the crossing are detected so the signals will not change until they have completed the crossing - drivers are made to wait rather than pedestrians hassled across so a far side signal would serve no purpose. All pedestrians need is a green signal at the near side to tell them that the can start crossing - once they have started to cross there is no need for any further signal - indeed, a far side signal could cause unnecessary alarm - a pedestrian who has just started to cross might see the green signal go out and return back to the side they started
I disagree (I hate Puffins):
1) I want to see a farside green figure (and then amber something) as reassurance the crossing has detected me. I think I am in the majority.
 2) Smart farside crossings are equally possible (although I think they  currently only exist in farside Toucan form). It is a pity smart pedestrian crossings were developed as nearside Puffins...
3) I have seen a driver at a smart crossing decide they had been waiting too long and go straight through their red signal while pedestrians still crossed: so replacing flashing amber due to lack of respect for that may not increase respect for remaining traffic signal aspects.

I concede that camera enforcement of red could use standard red light cameras whereas flashing amber would require continuously running video and some sort of way to log an incident. But I have never seen a camera at a crossing.

Also, a lightly traffic-ed Puffin may decide it hasn't been able to test its person detectors enough and present on road traffic with a long fixed red time due to emergency fixed crossing clearance time rather than rely on its on-crossing detectors: I wonder if emergency flashing amber might have been better.

4) Puffins will still eventually give up on crossing pedestrians (clearance timeout expires) and set on-road signals back to green (and have no way of telling such still- crossing pedestrians). If you think some  drivers intimidate crossing persons during flashing amber why do you not worry about crossing pedestrians being exposed to such drivers during a change to green?
Title: Pedestrian amber Countdown: split into nearside digits/ farside graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 13, 2016, 03:53:03 pm
As the amber countdown that follows the green figure's  'invitation to cross' at some London 'dumb'/fixed time crossings is intended partly to allow newly arriving pedestrians to decide if time remains for them to start and complete crossing I wondered if placing the countdown value on the nearside with just an amber graphic (eg  inital amber figure followed by last X seconds countdown etc etc) on farside where it could perhaps  indicate countdown/blackout period in a more relaxed manner (given that, whether true or not, some  view the countdown as a way of hurrying up pedestrians who are naturally slow). 

However, I think it is simply providing accurate information which is treating pedestrians like intelligent adults, but perhaps it could be finetuned as above?

However, I suppose one can simply ignore the digits actual value once on crossing.
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber Countdown: split into nearside digits/ farside graphic
Post by: Pete Owens on November 15, 2016, 09:54:52 am
As the amber countdown that follows the green figure's  'invitation to cross' at some London 'dumb'/fixed time crossings is intended partly to allow newly arriving pedestrians to decide if time remains for them to start and complete crossing
You mean in the same way as some drivers treat the amber at traffic lights!!?
Title: Re: Pedestrian amber Countdown: split into nearside digits/ farside graphic
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 15, 2016, 11:12:46 am
They are not road traffic lights, they are pedestrian crossings so that seems an irrelevant jibe.

UK Pedestrian signals are not exact analogues of on-road traffic signals and the countdown is not equivalent to an amber traffic signal.

The amber countdown looks different and behaves differently from an amber on road signal so its intended use seems OK to me.   There aren't many meaningful useful colours left   so amber in combination with a different shape/symbols seems an OK way to say something related  but different to a different kind of road user.

The UK's steady red pedestrian figure  already has a different legal meaning from a (mandoratory) red road traffic signal.

It seems the threads actual topic has drawn no responses, so farside countdowns it is then :).


NB TRL have pdfs about their trials.

Title: Re: Intelligent PCats (amber Countdown) pedestrian crossings being tested it seems
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 15, 2016, 11:50:44 am
Re changing the countdown period according to walking speeds measured in green period:
this seems a bad idea to me (surely any countdown period needs to be fixed for pedestrians to learn their 'speed' at a particular junction) , perhaps better to have an amber* symbolic representation of (2nd) extendable  period, with perhaps a fixed countdown only appearing if the max clearance-time  approaches expiry.The max could be set quite high IMO, so that  the countdown would be seen infrequently.
Or perhaps just leave countdown for dumb crossings and just use the  symbolic indication for (2nd)  extendable part.

*I can't think of a better colour  (NB Dft views flashing green figure as deprecated I think)
so, an yellow/amber plus sign? yellow/amber figure leaning on cane? amber figure approaching kerb? other symbol?
Title: Re: Intelligent PCats (amber Countdown) pedestrian crossings being tested it seems
Post by: arabella on November 15, 2016, 12:30:25 pm
Am I cynical or realistic if I see this as a way to increase pedestrian 'red' and reduce motorist 'red' times?
How will changes to the pedestrian green period impact the wait until the next pedestrian green period?

('Cos I am fed up with out local ped X which (i) doesn't go green at all even when you've pushed the button, if you don't stand in the correct place and (ii) generally only goes green once the road is clear already and (iii)makes you wait at least <some period of time> for cars that arrived after you pushed the button to go through, as if pedestrians were 2nd class road users.  Yes I have written to the council and no, I haven't had any response and nothing has changed)
Title: Re: Intelligent PCats (amber Countdown) pedestrian crossings being tested it seems
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 15, 2016, 11:41:20 pm
Am I cynical or realistic if I see this as a way to increase pedestrian 'red' and reduce motorist 'red' times?
I don't think you could say that about a properly setup smart crossing: the point of those is to allow slower pedestrians to cross without having to use the pelican's flashing amber traffic signal which the Dft have taken against.

How will changes to the pedestrian green period impact the wait until the next pedestrian green period? ('Cos I am fed up with out local pedestrian crossing  which (i) doesn't go green at all even when you've pushed the button, if you don't stand in the correct place...
I haven't has a problem standing not being detected at the kerb at a smart crossing, this sounds like the crossing is setup wrong. (A disadvantage of smart crossings perhaps: more maintenance...).

It would also seem possible to setup good crossings up badly.

... and (ii) generally only goes green onc fe the road is clear already and (iii)makes you wait at least <some period of time> for cars that arrived after you pushed the button to go through, as if pedestrians were 2nd class road users.  Yes I have written to the council and no, I haven't had any response and nothing has changed)
That kind of unnecessary wait setup is independant of the crossing type as far as I know (I think evil /careless councils could set pelicans up to be like that.....).  On faster roads there seems to be some requirement for vehicle sensing (vehicle activation VA) but I can't follow it: the lamps have an 3 second amber so surely that is enough, it can't be right that fast closely packed traffic would prevent a change to red: better to reduce the  speed limit than that (and   actual speeds should be irrelevant: speeding should be dealt with directly....). I suggest you find a tame traffic light technician and question them :).  or see if you can decipher the following better than me
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf)

 Such long delays from request to green figure annoy me (and are stupid from a pedestrian safety point of view): If a standalone crossing has been idle a while, a random few seconds before activation should be the norm IMO and living streets recommend a maximum wait of 30 seconds because after that people get annoyed and less risk averse....

As for only going to green figure when the road is clear, I sometimes come across the opposite:  an idle crossing on an empty road, and press the button thinking it will change in a few seconds and instead the stupid thing waits till some cars appear then stops them :(

For standalone smart crossings I sometimes wonder if they should be left at green figure for pedestrians by default and only change to road priority when vehicles approach and no pedestrians are crossing.....


(NB I think ped X was official shorthand for the specific Countdown (PCats) crossings rather than crossings in general so its use as a general  abbreviation of pedestrian crossing might cause confusion)
Title: Re: Intelligent PCats (amber Countdown) pedestrian crossings being tested it seems
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 16, 2016, 10:16:07 am
(NB I think ped X was official shorthand for the specific Countdown (PCats) crossings rather than crossings in general so its use as a general  abbreviation of pedestrian crossing might cause confusion)
As might the use of "figure" in situations where it could refer to either a number or a "green/red man".
Title: Re: Nearside pedestrian figures(at farsides): how useful?
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 16, 2016, 11:01:38 am
Red figure / green figure seems to be the new official term for the green/red man.
I think I have used Digit or or numbers or Countdown for, er,  Numeric Countdown units :)
Title: Re: Intelligent PCats (amber Countdown) pedestrian crossings being tested it seems
Post by: arabella on November 17, 2016, 12:07:22 pm
That kind of unnecessary wait setup is independant of the crossing type as far as I know (I think evil /careless councils could set pelicans up to be like that.....).  On faster roads there seems to be some requirement for vehicle sensing (vehicle activation VA) but I can't follow it: the lamps have an 3 second amber so surely that is enough, it can't be right that fast closely packed traffic would prevent a change to red: better to reduce the  speed limit than that (and   actual speeds should be irrelevant: speeding should be dealt with directly....). I suggest you find a tame traffic light technician and question them :).  or see if you can decipher the following better than me
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf)
haven't quite made it thought, I also found this (http://content.tfl.gov.uk/literature-review-of-road-safety-at-traffic-signals-and-signalised-crossings.pdf) one (tfl one though I don't think it's london specific).  Looking selectively at section 4.6 it confirms that the set up is indeed that the pedestrian will wait for <max time> unless a gap occurs sooner.  >:(  :-X  ::-)
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 17, 2016, 12:55:09 pm
None of these threads has answered the crucial question: what is the name of the pedestrian crossings with far-side lights and countdown? It has to be named after an animal, preferably a bird, otherwise we can't use it! I propose Pochard. Not only would this stand for Pedestrian Overhead Countdown Hand-button Amber Red Device, but the pochard is a British bird on the countdown (http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/birdsofconservationconcern4_tcm9-410743.pdf) (to extinction, but we needn't take that bit literally).
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 17, 2016, 06:17:21 pm
None of these threads has answered the crucial question: what is the name of the pedestrian crossings with far-side lights and countdown? It has to be named after an animal, preferably a bird,.....
The official TfL name is, drum roll, 'Pedestrian Countdown at Traffic Signal(Junction)s (PCaTS)'* ....
Perhaps they have  given up on silly avian names.....

* I think I used the abbreviation somewhere in this thread.....
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: cygnet on November 17, 2016, 10:58:37 pm
Putting the pcat among the ppelicans ey  :facepalm:
Title: Re: Intelligent PCats (amber Countdown) pedestrian crossings being tested it seems
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 17, 2016, 11:04:56 pm
.... though, I also found this (http://content.tfl.gov.uk/literature-review-of-road-safety-at-traffic-signals-d-g nignalised-crossings.pdf) one (tfl one though I don't think it's london specific).  Looking selectively at section 4.6 it confirms that the set up is indeed that the pedestrian will wait for <max time> unless a gap occurs sooner.  >:(  :-X  ::-)
Thats is an interesting document: I have read section 4.6:
It seems on faster roads they legally have to delay the change to red  when the lead car is too close to the stop line (to avoid panic braking that still results in vehicle crossing stop line at red because amber is a fixed 3 seconds*), but surely it would only  cost a few seconds to let that lead car start to cross the stop line then go amber for following car:  waiting up to a minute for a gap seems nothing to do with  avoiding panic braking and everything to do with reducing delay to traffic at pedestrian expense, but that approx minute is a max so it could be set (much IMO) lower:

Again living streets suggest 30seconds as the absolute maximum...

however, it is not the crossing type's fault IMO:  they just need to set-up crossing controllers better....

*the US uses longer amber times on faster road junctions rather than a fixed amber time in combination with vehicle detection and delaying the change slightly. I think the UK view is that longer amber times encourage amber gambling so it is better to have  a predictable 3 seconds of amber and some fancy processing to delay change by a small amount....
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 28, 2016, 07:19:52 pm
From TSRGD 2016 (don't ask!) pt17.1-17.9, p66:
Quote
17.7 When Puffin crossings were first developed in the 1990s, the Department’s
position was that in time, they would come to be seen as the default signal
controlled crossing type. Guidance written at the time included the view that
Puffin crossings were expected to become the most common form of crossing
and that in time crossings with pedestrian signals on the far side of the road
would be withdrawn.
17.8 However, in recent years this view has shifted. Whilst near-side crossings have
become the main form of crossing in most authorities, with the number of
Pelican crossings steadily declining, it is recognised that there will remain some
sites where near-side facilities are unsuitable. Accordingly a far-side option is
still available in TSRGD.
17.9 Sometimes known as Pedex, POTS or ‘one-can’ crossings, this uses the same
sequence as at a junction. The sequence includes a steady amber period for
traffic and a blackout period for pedestrians, and it can be provided with oncrossing
detection or with countdown. However, the two cannot be used
64
together as countdown requires a fixed blackout period. As at all other
crossings, zig-zag markings must be provided.

I don't like the names Pedex or POTS but one-can is amusing.

Quote
17.12 Pedestrian countdown signals are prescribed. The pedestrian countdown
system counts down the blackout period that forms part of the pedestrian phase
at traffic signal junctions. The blackout period is the period immediately after the
steady green figure (known as the 'invitation to cross') when neither the red nor
green figure shows. They may not be illuminated during any other part of the
signal sequence, and the Department will not consider authorising such uses. It
is not a requirement to provide countdown signals at crossings, but is an option
available for local authorities to consider
It does seem odd to me to countdown blackness. It would make more sense to my mind to start the countdown as soon as the green man appears.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/523916/DfT-circular-01-2016.pdf
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on November 29, 2016, 09:02:21 pm
...It does seem odd to me to countdown blackness. It would make more sense to my mind to start the countdown as soon as the green man appears.
I think the idea is that the Green man is the 'invitation to cross' so there should be enough time for anyone starting during the green man to finish before on-road traffic gets a green, the countdown then indicates that crossing is working to those already crossing(is a blackout a blackout or a blown lamp/display?)  and shows time remaining (allowing faster arriving walkers to make their own decisions on whether to start crossing).
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on January 24, 2017, 12:59:29 pm
 I came across a 'one-can' * a few days ago. So they actually do exist.

*Smart farside pedestrian crossing with on crossing detection to extend crossing time as needed up to a maximum.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on June 04, 2017, 04:41:37 pm
When standalone(not at a signal controlled junction) Puffin crossings enter fixed time mode due to suspect sensor status: wouldn't it have been better to use flashing amber as the road signal during clearance (blank or red human figure)  rather than present a red signal to traffic on an empty crossing? If the flashing amber  at Pelicans was disrespected (with crossing pedestrians) due to lack of enforcement what will happen at  long reds at  crossings where pedestrians have already crossed?
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: asterix on June 05, 2017, 07:09:21 am
Really what is needed is a mobile phone app.  Obviously, as you carry your mobile with you, it has a very good idea of your walking speed.  This could be linked by bluetooth to the crossing you are at and between them they could easily compute whether the time remaining is sufficient and your phone would issue a warning if not.  Then it's up to you if you chance it, of course, and the coroner would know too.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on June 05, 2017, 11:31:02 am
For a reason buried deep in the human brain, people are more willing to stop for a specific but needless signal than to prevent injury to another person (or even themselves).
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on June 06, 2017, 12:45:28 pm
For a reason buried deep in the human brain, people are more willing to stop for a specific but needless signal than to prevent injury to another person (or even themselves).
I hope you're right and what I saw one day at a smart crossing will remain uncommon, but I dunno...

Also, flashing amber would allow the 'emergency' clearance period to equal the normal maximum time allowed for clearance. 

I there  was  a will I presume  flashing amber offences could be dealt with builtinvideo cameras to encourage compliance.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on July 12, 2018, 09:44:37 pm
Going through Doncaster center (north bridge) I came across a (farside) Toucan with the amber countdown above the green cycle symbol (in its usual place beside green walking figure):

obviously Doncaster doesn't share TfLs / (the DfTs ?) idea that both the green cycle symbol and countdown display can only be fitted in the one mutually exclusive position beside the green figure (and so forbade the combination) ....

I have a photo somewhere..,
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on August 06, 2018, 02:29:07 pm
Due to overwhelming demand....

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=123997 (https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=123997)
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: grams on August 06, 2018, 02:49:54 pm
obviously Doncaster doesn't share TfLs / (the DfTs ?) idea that both the green cycle symbol and countdown display can only be fitted in the one mutually exclusive position beside the green figure (and so forbade the combination) ....

TfL's Archway scheme (put in in 2016) has countdown timers throughout and most also have cycle symbols. They're mounted either side of the green man.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5665896,-0.1349961,3a,75y,245.45h,83.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sUBxpr3gI2XhdDiD77owkWw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 06, 2018, 03:24:56 pm
Having all four lights in one block, Doncaster style, looks far neater than having them spread out London-style. But why not put the green man and bike in the same circle together, as is done with nearsides?
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: SA_SA_SA_SA on August 06, 2018, 04:57:20 pm
...TfL's Archway scheme (put in in 2016) has countdown timers throughout and most also have cycle symbols. They're mounted either side of the green man....
Tfl/DfT must have changed their mind about the cycle symbol and amber countdown unit being mutually exclusive :)

Having all four lights in one block, Doncaster style, looks far neater than having them spread out London-style. But why not put the green man and bike in the same circle together....?
It would make both a bit smaller (would that be acceptable to Dft?) unless an oval/fatter aspect is used but I suspect because it is because a new arrangement would need a new approval whereas the separate ones are already approved so simply rearranging them is easier.
(If rearranging is allowed mounting the green cycle symbol underneath the green figure would also seem reasonable).

I wonder why they don't hood the countdown: Tfls experiments led to the recommendation that they should....

Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cunobelin on August 12, 2018, 09:38:43 am


I love the 3D crossings in Iceland, which I believe are also being trialled in India,  China andNew Zealand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2GCC9LSjYo
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 17, 2018, 10:47:45 am
I learnt yesterday, from the horse's mouth, that farsides with countdown are to be trialled in Bristol near Temple Meads. The whole area is being currently redeveloped. We also heard from elderlies that they find a countdown comforting, as it tells them they do or don't have time to get across, but council man said this has to be balanced against a shorter overall greenman time with countdown. So far, Bristol has been replacing pelicans with puffins since 2002. I'm not quite sure why things need to be trialled in Bristol when they're already in daily use in London and various other places.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 17, 2018, 10:59:35 am
On the timing: not sure how it works for farsides with countdown, but for puffins the greenman is set at the time it takes a pedestrian to walk 2/3 of the crossing distance, at a speed of 1.2m/s. Beyond this there is greenman extension through person detection. However, average walking speed of over-65s is only 0.8m/s.

As an aside, apparently walking speed is a reliable predictor of life expectancy. This would indicate that the current crop of university students will all be dead by the time they're 30. (Yeah sure it must refer to some sort of unimpeded maximum walking speed, not an amble-stroll for coffee with mates between lectures, but that wouldn't allow me to complain about the pavement blockers!)
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Kim on October 17, 2018, 12:14:52 pm
As an aside, apparently walking speed is a reliable predictor of life expectancy. This would indicate that the current crop of university students will all be dead by the time they're 30.

They're probably going to a maths lecture.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 26, 2018, 05:18:33 pm
https://www.citymetric.com/horizons/here-are-four-futuristic-new-designs-pedestrian-crossings-4309
What it says in the URL. "Stigmergic" is a new word to me.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 26, 2018, 05:20:22 pm
Meanwhile back in the present, it was pointed out by the abovementioned horse's mouth that the bleeps which some crossings give don't just function as an indicator that it's safe to cross, they're also a beacon which helps blind people cross the road in a straight line.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Butterfly on October 26, 2018, 06:53:49 pm
https://www.citymetric.com/horizons/here-are-four-futuristic-new-designs-pedestrian-crossings-4309
What it says in the URL. "Stigmergic" is a new word to me.

I've seen similar to the "Line of sight" design in California. They were very effective for making the crossing visible and they lit a raised crossing which is a better design than the dropped curb, especially if you are pushing a heavy wheelchair or pushchair. A wheelchair with a large man on board is quite hard work to hold on a slopped curb.

The problem with the sensor design is that we have the equivalent design in a push button system, and the councils choose to make the pedestrians wait anyway, often even when there has been a while since the last person.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 26, 2018, 09:18:08 pm
Agree that a raised crossing is easier (and probably safer) for pedestrians. And definitely about the waiting!
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 28, 2018, 05:33:53 pm
Here's a view of crossing the road before the invention of the zebra. It's something I came across on Youtube as a piece of music (play it with the sound off unless you like it) and I'm guessing from the cable cars it's San Francisco and from the clothes the year is maybe ~1910.

https://youtu.be/nvUeo5sagkA
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: psyclist on October 28, 2018, 06:11:58 pm
I'm guessing from the cable cars it's San Francisco and from the clothes the year is maybe ~1910.

In the comments below the video it suggests it is San Francisco from 1906, just before the earthquake. So I'd say that is a pretty good guess.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: hubner on October 28, 2018, 06:26:53 pm
I don't think there are any streets in the UK that wide, and the speed of the vehicles and trams seem to be about 5mph, and big gaps between vehicles.

Maybe this is more relevant:
London Traffic Jams (1946)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ewnGT41tuE

Apparently zebra crossing were only introduced in the UK in 1949. Looking at videos of that period, traffic seems much much slower than today.

Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 28, 2018, 06:58:42 pm
It seems to be filmed from a cable car, which probably doesn't do more than 5mph, but the cars and even horse carts are overtaking it. As are a couple of cyclists. Of course it's not directly applicable to anything in Britain other than a few roads in London and maybe one or two other big cities eg Park Lane or Knightsbridge – and even then not since the end of the first world war, but it's interesting to see the chaos and how people navigate it. The only rule of the road, as we would think of it, that anyone seems to obey is driving more or less on the right. Overtaking is done wherever you can, on either side. Most pedestrians stroll across, one or two run. Look at the man 2:25, strolls across, turns back to avoid the cable car, almost gets run over by one in the other direction he's just passed, then resumes his journey! Nobody gets across in one take.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 09, 2018, 02:24:54 pm
I don't think there are any streets in the UK that wide, and the speed of the vehicles and trams seem to be about 5mph, and big gaps between vehicles.

Maybe this is more relevant:
London Traffic Jams (1946)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ewnGT41tuE

Apparently zebra crossing were only introduced in the UK in 1949. Looking at videos of that period, traffic seems much much slower than today.
Finally got around to watching the 1946 film. Yes, traffic seems much slower than today. Not much of it either; not just in relation to London today but San Francisco 40 years earlier. Presumably in 1946 traffic in Britain was still recovering from war time levels, with rationing and so on. It's a bit more orderly, but the pedestrians still cross the road wherever they happen to be and stop in random places between vehicles – presumably partly because there were not official crossing points other than junctions with lights, and partly because the low speeds meant they still could do this relatively safely.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Butterfly on November 09, 2018, 06:10:22 pm
Petrol was still rationed until May 1950, which would affect volume of traffic, and possibly speed too.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Kim on November 09, 2018, 07:23:15 pm
Also, we're the product of a couple of generations of "Keep out of the way of the cars!" culture since then.
Title: Re: Merged thread: Countdown graphics, Nearside pedestrian figures, etc etc
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on November 10, 2018, 12:15:47 pm
Also, we're the product of a couple of generations of "Keep out of the way of the cars!" culture since then.
I think that's the biggest point. I read somewhere that the term "jay walking" and the attendant concept that you should only cross the road at certain places was invented in the 1920s by the USA motor industry, in order to normalize cars.