Pedestrian crossings

Pedestrian crossings are located at sites where there are high volumes of traffic and are provided to give people a safe place to cross.

As part of our Capital Programme we generally install or upgrade several pedestrian crossings, (ie. zebra or signalled crossings) each year. Requests are often made by residents and each is examined on its individual merits. Many requests are not justified because of low levels of pedestrian movement.

Before the start of each financial year, all sites which have been requested by residents are surveyed to assess the volume of traffic and number of pedestrians crossing the road. This is used to prioritise sites to ensure that the sites with the highest traffic and pedestrian volumes are dealt with first.

What factors are taken into consideration?
The following factors are taken into consideration in assessing the need for a crossing:

  • recorded personal injury accidents involving pedestrians
  • volumes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the potential for conflict between pedestrians and vehicles
  • percentage of child, infirm or elderly pedestrians crossing the road
  • difficulty that pedestrians face from traffic speed and volumes
  • length of time pedestrians have to wait before they can cross
  • proximity of locations which attract pedestrian activity through the day such as proximity to stations.


What are the different types of pedestrian crossing?
Within Sefton we have a number of different pedestrian crossings. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Each type is listed below:

Zebra crossing
This is the oldest type of crossing, and has the black and white stripes on the carriageway and flashing orange belisha beacons. It is normally used where traffic and pedestrian volumes are low. Pedestrians must establish their presence by waiting at the edge of the crossing and waiting for the traffic to stop for them. The disadvantage of this type of crossing is the fact that some drivers are reluctant to stop for pedestrians, and it is harder for pedestrians with visual impairments to use it.

Pelican crossing
These signalled crossings are used on roads which have high traffic volumes, high traffic approach speeds or very high pedestrian flows. Pedestrians are required to push a button to bring the traffic to a halt. The time allocated for pedestrian crossing movement is dictated by Department for Transport guidelines and is based upon the width of the road. This time is fixed, regardless of the number of pedestrians crossing. The advantage to this type of crossing is that drivers have a clear instruction, via the red signal, to stop. The disadvantage is that pedestrians will often push the button and then either cross in a gap in traffic, or continue walking down the road. The sequence of lights will continue, bringing traffic to a halt, without anybody crossing.

Puffin crossings
These are a variation on a Pelican crossing and have a series of infra-red detectors. Firstly, these detect whether there is a pedestrian waiting, once they have pressed the button. If they have moved off, the sequence is cancelled, and the traffic continues unhindered. Secondly, they detect pedestrian movement in the centre of the road so that if there are slow moving pedestrians still crossing, the pedestrian time is increased and the traffic signal remains on red to allow them to cross safely.

Toucan crossing
These are basically the same as a Puffin crossing, but are wider to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross together. They are used on designated cycle routes which cross main roads.

Are they accessible for people with disabilities?
All new crossings are fully accessible for people with disabilities. This includes tactile paving, flush kerbs, rotating cones underneath push buttons, and where applicable, audible bleepers.

How many new crossings are provided each year?
Each year, from the dedicated Pedestrian Crossing financial allocation, we will install an average of two new Puffin crossings and provide new pedestrian phases at one existing traffic signal controlled junction.

In addition to this, other parts of the Capital Programme, such as cycling or public transport, may fund additional crossings if they can be identified as being beneficial to those programmes. Examples of this could be: providing Toucans on cycle routes, or Puffins to assist bus passengers at interchanges.

How much does a crossing cost?
During 2003, the average cost of providing a Puffin crossing on a single carriageway road was approximately £40,000


Last Updated on 05 March 2017

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