Do you think it is possible to eliminate pedestrian accidents? Many people would say “no” so long as self-driving cars aren’t the norm. With human error involved in driving, there will always be pedestrian accidents that occur. Or at least, that’s how conventional thinking would have it. One town has bucked the trend though and it made it seem possible to eliminate pedestrian accidents.
The town is in New Jersey, and they were having problems with one of their intersections. Pedestrians were getting hit far too often, and it was widely-recognized that the intersection in question was a problem. So the town’s leadership did something about it: they changed the way the traffic lights work at the intersection.
They inserted a 26-second all-red moment into the traffic light pattern that occurs every other cycle. What this means is that every once and a while, there will be a 26-second period where cars in all directions are stopped at the intersection. Pedestrians during this time are free to cross the street without fear of being struck by a motor vehicle.
What the town found is that in the two years prior to the change, seven pedestrians were struck at the intersection. In the year following the change, there have been no pedestrian accidents at the intersection.
To be fair, this is a small sample size. But the experiment certainly offers hope. Perhaps more cities and municipalities will employ this traffic strategy in the future.
Source: USA Today, “Town reduces pedestrian-vehicle accidents at dangerous crosswalk to zero using this one simple move,” Michael W. Curley Jr., July 14, 2017