Hong Kong to test countdown timers on pedestrian crossing lights next year

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The Department for Transport said on Wednesday it plans to test countdown timers on pedestrian crossing lights from 2023.

The answer came after lawmaker Lau Chi-pang asked if authorities were considering reviving the countdown testing program to collect more data for a full nationwide installation.

The government had previously, in 2018, installed timers on pedestrian crossing lights at several locations in the city for trial purposes. However, it was understood authorities later decided not to install such timers in Hong Kong.

Transport and Housing Secretary Frank Chan Fan explained that previous trials and studies had concluded that the devices provided no material improvements or benefits for pedestrian safety.

“In 2006 and 2018, the Department of Transportation commissioned the City University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong, respectively, to conduct on-site observation and research on the trial of the” traffic light countdown device pedestrian traffic signal” in Hong Kong to explore the effectiveness of the countdown device.

“The results of the studies revealed that after the installation of the ‘pedestrian traffic light countdown device’, more pedestrians still cross the road when the ‘Green Man’ flashing light goes out,” said Chan said, adding that authorities had decided against further enforcement. the “pedestrian traffic light countdown device” more widely at this time.

However, he noted that the department paid attention to the use of the “pedestrian traffic light countdown device” and the development of related technologies, thus optimizing the operation of the device for testing.

“For example, the countdown will start displaying when the ‘Green man’ light is on, rather than when the ‘Green man’ light is flashing,” he said.

The department noted that it will also integrate the operation with pedestrian sensors as well as the application of artificial intelligence to carry out trials on suitable pedestrian crossings.

System design and component procurement are currently underway, with detailed testing expected to begin in 2023, Chan said.

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