When a light turns green, it sends a signal to both drivers and pedestrians to start moving as quickly as possible. However, this can create a dangerous situation when a car is trying to turn right at an intersection while a pedestrian is trying to cross the street. This can result in a fatal incident.
But now, Caltrans traffic engineer Rob Singer has stepped in with a new solution that might put an end to this problem. His idea is the yellow pedestrian border. The new signal is triggered by pedestrians when they push the “walk” button while they wait to cross the street.
The symbol frames the standard “walk” signal with a yellow border, which should attract the attention of the driver. This would serve as an important reminder that there might be someone trying to cross the street.
Currently, the signal is being tested in Northern California. Early tests that have been conducted in Redding, CA have shown some considerable promise. A series of before and after analyses have shown that the yellow pedestrian border decreases the likelihood of car and pedestrian collisions by about 17%.
However, the symbol doesn’t work very well at large intersections where drivers favor speed, and signals across the street are difficult to see. It also hasn’t worked well in areas where there are a large number of drivers who aren’t familiar with the symbol.
Still, the reports are optimistic. Not only has the yellow pedestrian border reduced the rate of collisions at intersections, it has also reduced the rate of walkers crossing against the walk signal. Furthermore, there are no known downsides to the symbol. It always makes intersections safer, even if only by a little bit. Additionally, the symbol became more helpful over time, as more Redding drivers became accustomed to the new practice.
The only important thing is that pedestrians must remember to press the walk button. If they don’t the yellow border will not appear. That being said, it might not be long before Americans start seeing the symbol used across the country.