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Green lights for pedestrians or cyclists in 7 seconds

19 September 2018

I suggest that all traffic lights in Brussels other than those at complex intersections respond to calls from pedestrians within 7 seconds (or less!), an idea suggested by Bruno (Molenbeek)

One simple way for citizens to interact easily with a smart city is by pressing a button. Luckily, a great many traffic lights are fitted with them and everyone “knows” how to use them. The problem is that they are slow to respond, far too slow.
I therefore suggest that all traffic lights in Brussels other than at intersections be adjusted to give pedestrians and cyclists a green light within 7 seconds. To me, seven seconds appear to be a good compromise between drivers and pedestrians – especially on main roads – but it should be a maximum. Of course, the ideal would be 2 seconds :-)
The idea came to me further to a presentation by Jan Adriansens during the HackBelgium 2018 trade fair (Tour & Taxis).
The advantages of pedestrian crossing buttons are:
  • they are technically very simple and you don’t need a smartphone or an instruction manual to be able to use them;
  • they have a real impact on soft mobility (pedestrians, cyclists);
  • they undoubtedly have an impact on safety (not to mention civility).
I believe many people are frustrated by having to wait so long (15 to 30 seconds and sometimes longer) for pedestrian and or cyclist traffic lights to turn green, especially when they are not at a complex intersection. And this frustration is what ultimately leads people to cross when the light is red. I’m thinking here of Chaussée de Ninove at both ends of Place de la Duchesse, or Boulevard de l’Abattoir opposite the Institut des Arts et Métiers, especially as these locations are served by public transport; but I’m sure there are hundreds of others.
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