Back in 2016, the city conducted a pilot project at two crosswalks, which added side-mounted lights to existing overhead flashing lights. At the end of this study it was “found that driver compliance rates increased 100 percent when [vehicles were] sixty metres away from the crosswalk when the lower level lights were used with the overhead lights.” However, instead of presenting this report to upgrade the additional 170 pedestrian crosswalks with no side lights, it was never made public.
In 2018, two separate incidents of young children killed while using crosswalks with only overhead lights occurred. In repose to these tragedies, Winnipeg’s city council fought to increase safety measures at all pedestrian crosswalks. What the council was unaware of was an existing study that instructed how to increase safety measures with the addition of side lights at crosswalks that was conducted two years prior to these incidents.
According to Dr. Tarek Sayed, who heads the transportation research group in the Department of Civil Engineering at UBC, “each pedestrian corridor has unique needs. Ultimately, viability is one of the key components and lights play an important role.” Dr. Sayed made it clear to CBC that vehicles need to be aware of a pedestrian crossing and using more lights at a crosswalk helps drivers stop in time.
The city of Winnipeg plans to conduct an additional study into pedestrian safety at crosswalks as well as install side lights to crosswalks with existing overhead light.
To read the full article CBC article, click here.